Lowe, Pack Preparing for Carolina

Raleigh, N.C. – At his press conference Thursday, Sidney Lowe recalled a conversation with Kay Yow in his office when he first began work as the head coach at N.C. State.

"She told me, you have the toughest job in the country, period," Lowe said.

The tough nature of the job revolves around high expectations from fans and the tall task of competing against the nation's most elite teams on Tobacco Road. With just a 1-4 record against the Tar Heels, Lowe will get a chance to earn a win against the Tar Heels Saturday, as his team looks to carry momentum from its overtime win against Miami Tuesday.

He said his lack of success against the Tar Heels has been frustrating in his seasons with State thus far.

"Having played here and been through some of those wars and knowing the feeling of winning those games and then turning around and losing them, it does frustrate me and bother me a little more."

Lowe said he understands frustration from fans, but he doesn't pay much attention to their criticism, unless it gets personal.

"[Fans] love N.C. State, they want N.C. State to do well. You can't blame the players, so you have to blame the coach. That's the job. That's the life I chose. I don't get mad at anyone. Only when they get personal. I don't like when they get personal, because I think that takes it to another level. I‘ve got more to worry about than for someone to think I do a bad job…I wouldn't have come here if I didn't expect that. I expect that from myself. No one, I don't care who it is, is more disappointed when we lose than I am... no no one."

Both State and Carolina are coming off games won by last-second three-point shots. Lowe said to compete with the Heels, the Pack will first have to look to slow down Carolina's fast break and point guard Ty Lawson.

"Transition is key with them," Lowe said. "They happen to have one of the best in the country at the point guard position who creates not only for himself but for his teammates. And he's always applying pressure on you. We have to get back and try to slow that down."

Though hesitant to give out his starting lineup, it is likely that Lowe will continue with the big lineup he started against Miami which featured Farnold Degand, Courtney Fells, Brandon Costner, Tracy Smith and Ben McCauley.

"We used the big lineup in the last couple of ballgames and it looked good. So there's a chance, yes, you're probably going to see it," Lowe said. "You have to look at the match up situation. We went to the big lineup to help us. I felt that that was the best lineup for us. We were banging in there trying to get a win and I wanted to put the best five guys, productivity-wise."

Towards the end of the Miami game, Fells seemed to walk with a limp, as he has been banged up all season long. Though Fells will receive treatment over the next few days, Lowe said he fully anticipates Fells will be ready to go for his last game against Carolina at home.

"He's had games and practices where he really wasn't 100 percent and he wanted to go anyway," Lowe said. "Courtney has taken on the challenge of guarding the top perimeter players from the other teams... I don't see this injury preventing him from playing on Saturday. How effective he'll be, we'll have to see."

Another key matchup for the Pack will be between Degand and Lawson, two speedsters at point guard. Lowe said Degand will have to remain under control, as he has in his past two games, where he has collected 14 assists and only turned the ball over four times.

"He's been much more under control and we anticipate him doing the same thing: being effective for us and doing what he has to do and not getting caught up in [playing against Lawson]."

Though the record may not be in Lowe's favor, he is ready to don his red jacket and lead his team to an upset of a talented UNC team.

"They're a very good ball club. They're deep in spots. They play hard. They come at you. They execute their stuff. I think they have guys that really step up... they've got at least four guys that are top-notch players and I think more than anything they play hard. It's going to be a nice challenge for us."


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