Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
7:00pm -- ESPN (Mike Patrick, Dick Vitale)
"I think our players will be excited. They've been excited to play every game, but this game's different. There is no question. It feels different to your players, fans, students on campus. So our players are very well aware of that. For us, it's just a great opportunity and I think our players view it like that." – N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried
"Up to this point, I think Lorenzo Brown has had quietly one of the best point guard seasons this year, definitely the best in the ACC. He does a lot of things very well and I'm looking forward to playing against him." – UNC point guard Kendall Marshall
Season to Date: N.C. State enters Thursday's contest with a 15-5 (4-1 ACC) record. First-year head coach Mark Gottfried guided his team through the nonconference schedule with relatively few surprises, beating the teams NCSU was expected to beat and losing the games NCSU was expected to lose, including games against Vanderbilt (86-79), Indiana (86-75) and Syracuse (88-76). The Wolfpack has defeated Maryland, Wake Forest, Boston College and Miami in conference play, while dropping its only game to Georgia Tech.
Balanced Effort: Gottfried may be playing with a short bench of seven, but he's been able to maximize that group's efficiency. All five starters are averaging double figures and rank in the ACC's top-25 scorers, led by Scott Wood's 13.3 points per game. Reserve forward DeShawn Painter (7.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg in 21.1 mpg) and reserve guard Alex Johnson (5.1 ppg in 20.1 mpg) have provided solid depth off the bench.
Directing the Pack: Sophomore Lorenzo Brown fully converted to the point guard position after Ryan Harrow left town during the offseason and has only thrived in his new role. The 6-foot-5, 189-pounder is averaging 12.4 points per game and trails only Marshall in the ACC with his 6.9 assists per game. Brown's assist total currently represents the highest mark for a NCSU player since Chris Corchiani averaged 9.6 assists per game in 1991.
Stat Breakdown: Offensively, the Wolfpack ranks second in the ACC in field goal percentage (47.7), third in 3-point field goal percentage (36.5) and eighth in turnover margin (minus-.30). On the defensive end, N.C. State ranks sixth in field goal percentage (41.6), 11th in 3-point field goal percentage (35.7) and third in rebounding margin (plus-6.8).
Random Fact of the Day: N.C. State has already won two ACC road games this season, marking the most by the program since the 2005-06 season.
Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the Wolfpack, 75-63, at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. on Feb. 23, 2011. Harrison Barnes paced UNC with 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while Kendall Marshall (14), Dexter Strickland (13) and Tyler Zeller (11) also scored in double figures.
Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with N.C. State, 144-75. UNC has won 10 straight, 16 of 17 and 33 of 41 against the Wolfpack.
2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, So.) - 12.7 ppg, 6.9 apg
15 Scott Wood (6-6, 175, Jr.) - 12.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg
21 C.J. Williams (6-5, 224, Sr.) - 12.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg
5 C.J. Leslie (6-8, 209, So.) - 12.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg
1 Richard Howell (6-8, 250, Jr.) - 12.2 ppg, 9.7 rpg
0 DeShawn Painter (6-9, 231, Jr.) - 7.8 ppg, 3.2 apg
3 Alex Johnson (5-10, 176, Sr.) - 5.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg
13 Thomas de Thaey (6-8, 239, Fr.) - 1.4 ppg, 1.2 rpg
(Photos by US Presswire)