NC State ACC Tournament Notebook

After finishing in a three-way tie for ninth place with Virginia and North Carolina, NC State will enter the 2010 ACC Tournament as the No. 11 seed. The Wolfpack faces No. 6 seed Clemson tonight in the opening round.

• NC State is 12-4 in both in-season and postseason tournaments under Sidney Lowe.

• NC State is 3-2 against ranked teams this season. The Pack has won its three games by a combined 35 points, and its two losses were by a combined five points.

• In the Pack's last four ACC games, the Pack has shot 51.6 percent (48-93) in the second half. During the seven ACC game losing streak, the Pack shot 30.7 percent in those second halves of play.

• NC State has hit 41.2 percent (105-255) of its three-pointers in the 16 wins, but just 26.1 percent (65-249) in its 13 losses.

• Tracy Smith is seventh in the ACC in scoring (17.0), seventh in rebounding (7.7), and leads the ACC in field goal percentage (.539).

• Smith was named an All-ACC second-team selection, the Pack's highest finisher since Julius Hodge in 2005.

• Dennis Horner has three double-doubles in the last seven games, the first of his career.

• NC State is 9-1 when Horner scores 15 or more points in a game, but the Pack is just 2-8 when he does not reach double figures.

• Javier Gonzalez has averaged 12.5 points over the last four games, including tying a career-high with 19 points at Miami.

• Sophomore C.J. Williams has come off the bench to average 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 28.3 minutes over the last four games.

• Freshman Richard Howell has averaged 5.8 points and 5.0 rebounds in 14.8 minutes over his last 14 games.

• Freshman Scott Wood is the only Wolfpack player to start all 31 games this season.

NC State has played 107 games all-time in the ACC Tournament, and enters the 57th annual ACC Tournament with a 61-46 (.570) all-time mark in the event, which dates back to 1954. The Pack is the third-winngest team in tournament history (behind North Carolina and Duke), and also ranks third in tournament titles with 10.

This year marks the first season that NC State will enter the ACC Tournament as the 11th seeded team.

NC State currently holds a record of 4-6 against the No. 6 seed in the ACC Tournament, and has lost four of the last five such games. This will be the first time that the Pack comes in as a lower seed, as the Pack as been either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in every other matchup against the sixth seed.

The Pack is also 0-3 all-time against the No. 6 seed in Greensboro (1978, 1980, 2004).

NC State has not faced a No. 6 seed since the 2004 tournament when the second-seeded Pack fell to Maryland in Greensboro. The Pack's last win against the No. 6 seed came back in 1985, downing Clemson in Atlanta.

NC State will be playing in the first round of the ACC Tournament for the 11th time. The Pack is currently 5-5 in first round action.

Sidney Lowe downed No. 21 Duke in 2007 as the Pack was the 10th seed playing seventh seeded Duke. In 2008, the Pack fell to Miami playing as the 12th seed in first round action, and last year NC State was the 10th seed and lost to Maryland in the first round.

The ACC Tournament will be played in Greensboro for the 22nd time, and the Pack curently holds a record of 19-19 in those games. The Pack won the ACC Championship in Greensboro in both 1973 and 1974.

The ACC Tournament will be played in Greensboro for the third time since 2003. The Pack has gone 3-3 in those last three trips to Greensboro, including an ACC Tournament finals appearance in 2003.

Head coach Sidney Lowe will be coaching in his first ACC Tournament in Greensboro, but as a player with the Pack he played two different tournaments at the Greensboro Coliseum. In his freshman season in 1980 the Pack lost in the quarterfinals to Duke, and in 1982 the Pack beat Maryland but then fell to North Carolina in the semifinals.

Clemson and NC State will be meeting for only the eighth time at the ACC Tournament, and the first time since 1994. NC State curently holds a 5-2 advantage against the Tigers in the ACC Tournment.

The last time the two teams met, No. 8 seeded Clemson beat the No. 9 seed Pack in Charlotte in 1994. The Pack had won the three previous meetings between the schools (1963, 1985, 1988). The only meeting between the two teams in Greensboro, was a NC State win in 1988 when the Pack was the No. 2 seed and Clemson was seventh.

Thursday's matchup will be the 142nd meeting between NC State and Clemson with the Wolfpack holding a 95-46 lead in the series. The Wolfpack holds the advantage in games at neutral sites 19-5, and the Pack also holds the series lead in games in Raleigh (45-13) and at Clemson (31-28).

Clemson has won the last five games in the series, but NC State has won eight of the last 14 games in the series. Prior to Clemson winning the last five, the Pack has won eight of the previous nine with the last Wolfpack win coming at Clemson in 2006. Coach Sidney Lowe is 0-5 all-time against the Tigers.

Down by as many as 18 points in the second half, NC State cut the lead down to one point in the final minutes but could not over take the lead, as No. 24 Clemson held on to defeat the Pack 73-70 at the RBC Center on January 16. NC State was down 45-28 at the half, and fell behind 49-31 with 18:06 left. But the Pack battled back the rest of the half, and cut Clemson's lead to 71-70 with 1:52 left. The Pack would not score the rest of the game, and missed a pair of three-pointers in the final 5.7 seconds that would of tied the game. Julius Mays came off the bench to lead the Pack with 17 points, while freshman Richard Howell recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

NC State concluded its regular season winning for the third time in the last four games, as the Pack downed Boston College 66-54 on Senior Day at the RBC Center last Sunday. The first half featured five ties and three lead changes, as NC State went into the half with a slight 24-23 lead. In the second half, NC State shot 59.1 percent (13-22) from the floor, and had zero turnovers. The Eagles held a 47-43 lead with 7:10 left, but the Pack would go on a 19-5 run and grab a 62-52 lead with 2:14 remaining. Tracy Smith led the Pack with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Dennis Horner and C.J. Williams both added 14 points.

Head coach Sidney Lowe enters his fourth ACC Tournament with a career record of 3-3. Lowe got his coaching career at the ACC Tournament off to a fast start in 2007, as the Pack won its first three games and advanced to the ACC Championship game in Tampa. NC State became only the second team in tournament history to start in the first round and advance to the finals (NC State also accomplished that feat in 1997).

That season was also the first time NC State won three straight all against higher seeded squads. Lowe also became the first person in ACC history to win an ACC Tournament as a player and then coach in an ACC title game as well. In 2008, the Pack was the 12th seed, and fell to Miami, 63-50 in Charlotte.

Last year in Atlanta, NC State as the 10th seed lost to seventh-seeded Maryland.

NC State has found success playing in tournaments under Sidney Lowe, as the Pack has captured team titles at both inseason tournaments the Pack has played in the last four years. The Pack started this season strong, as NC State was the only team to go 4-0 and win the Glenn Wilkes Classic.

In the 2007-08 season, the Pack won the Old Spice Classic with a 3-0 record.

In postseason play under Lowe, the Pack advanced to the ACC Tournament finals and the NIT quarterfinals in his first season in 2007.

In Lowe's four seasons at NC State, the Pack is 12-4 in both in-season and post season tournaments.

Junior Tracy Smith was named to the All-ACC second-team. Smith earns the Pack's highest such honor since Julius Hodge was also named to the second-team in 2005.

Smith finished the regular season leading the ACC in field goal percentage, as he has connected on 53.9 percent (195-of- 362) of his shots this season. Smith is also currently seventh in scoring (17.0 ppg) and seventh in rebounding (7.7 rpg) in the conference statistics.

Point guard Javier Gonzalez's play has been up and down this season, but now at the end of the season he is playing his best. Over the last four games, three of which were Pack wins, Gonzalez has averaged 12.5 points and led the Pack in scoring in a pair of games.

Gonzalez started this stretch with 11 points and six assists in the win over No. 23 Wake Forest. At Miami, he tied his career- high with 19 points, including hitting all six free throws in the final 42.7. At Virginia Tech, Gonzalez again led the Pack in scoring, going for 16 in the loss. He was held to just four points because of foul trouble in the win over Boston College.

Senior Dennis Horner is the most experienced Pack player, as he is the only player to be in his fourth season at NC State. Horner, who signed with Herb Sendek and kept his committment after the coaching change, came into his final season having seen action in 92 career games.

This season Horner is proving to be one of the Pack's leaders. He is second on the team averaging 11.8 points a contest.

He has recorded three double-doubles over the last seven games, the first of his career. His first career double-double came against Virginia Tech, as he had 13 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. In the home loss to Maryland, Horner had team highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Then in the upset of No. 23 Wake Forest, Horner had 10 points and 12 boards.

NC State is 9-1 this season when he scores 15 or more points in a game, but the Pack is just 2-8 when he fails to reach double figures.

One of Horner's most memorable games was in the Pack's win over Boston College on Senior Day. He left the game early in the second half to get stitches above his eye. He returned later in the half, and scored 11 points in the Pack's late 19-5 run to grab the lead.

He set a new career-high with 23 points against Elon, and set a new ACC best with 20 points in the win over No. 7 Duke.

While free throws were a problem earlier in the season, the trend at the line has changed. NC State has improved from the charity stripe, and has knocked down shots late in recent games to help preserve the lead.

In the Pack's five ACC wins, NC State has gone 75.8 percent (75-99) from the free throw line in the second halves of those games.

In the win at No. 25 Florida State, the Pack was hot down the stretch, hitting 17 of the final 20 attempts. In the final five minutes of the win over No. 7 Duke, NC State hit 9 of the 11 attempts. Against No. 23 Wake Forest, the Pack was 20-of-24 for the game from the charity stripe. At Miami, NC State made nine of its final 10 tries.

Over the last 15 games, the Pack has hit 72.3 percent (238-of-329) from the line, compared to hitting just 64.8 percent (201- 310) in the first 16 games.

The Pack has gotten a huge lift off the bench as of late from sophomore C.J. Williams. Over the last four games, Williams has averaged 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 28.3 minutes. The Pack has won three of those four games since Williams' role increased. <

Williams started the first 16 games of the season, then was replaced in the starting lineup. In his first 10 games off the bench before this recent stretch, Williams averaged just 1.3 points and went scoreless in six games.

Pack Pride Top Stories