Previewing N.C. State

N.C. State hosts North Carolina on Tuesday in a rematch that is shaping up to be a must-win for the Wolfpack's NCAA Tournament hopes. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. and will be televised by the ACC Network.

North Carolina (23-4, 10-2) vs. N.C. State (18-9, 7-5)
Raleigh, N.C. -- RBC Center
8:00pm -- ACC Network (Steve Martin, Mike Gminski)


"It's difficult because not only do they have great length, they use it in a very effective way. In other words, offensively. They go the offensive rebounds and use their length there. They can score over you with the basketball defensively. They alter a lot of shots. We've got to be creative, and our guys have to attack their size, especially inside, much smarter than we did. In other words, I don't think you can just back a guy down and shoot a normal, back to the basket, post move. And we've made too many of those attempts. So we've got to be a lot better than that." – N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried on UNC's length


Since the Last Meeting: N.C. State enters Tuesday's contest with an 18-9 (7-5 ACC record). The Wolfpack have lost three of their six games since losing to North Carolina in the first meeting, including a pair of home games against Virginia (61-60) and Florida State (76-62). First-year head coach Mark Gottfried's squad lost at Duke last Thursday despite holding a 20-point second-half lead.

Pack Relying on Balance: Gottfried's starting unit has been equal opportunity teammates throughout the duration of the season, as all five players average between 11.0 and 13.3 points per game. Sophomore forward C.J. Leslie and junior guard Scott Wood have upped their averages to 13.7 points per outing during league games, while sophomore guard Lorenzo Brown continues to facilitate the offense with 11.5 points, 6.3 assists and a 1.8:1 assist-turnover ratio.

Strong at the Arc: The Wolfpack have done a solid job on both ends of the court at the 3-point line. In conference play, N.C. State ranks second in 3-point field goal percentage (35.4) and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (31.3). Senior guard C.J. Williams leads the team with a 40.0 percent effort (14-of-35) in league play, followed by Wood (36.9, 31-of-84) and Brown (33.3, 9-of-27).

Just the Stats: In conference play, N.C. State ranks second in assist-turnover ratio (1.1), fifth in field goal percentage (43.4), free throw percentage (72.4) and turnover margin (plus-0.92), and sixth in field goal percentage defense (42.1) and rebounding margin (plus-1.1).

Foul Trouble Posing Problems: N.C. State's limited bench – the Wolfpack only go seven deep – has been unable to overcome foul trouble for the starters during critical games. In the first meeting with North Carolina, forward Richard Howell was limited to 16 minutes after several early fouls. Howell, Williams and Leslie all committed early fouls against Duke and eventually fouled out as the Blue Devils rallied for an improbable victory. Howell's and Leslie's effectiveness was also affected on Saturday as the duo totaled nine fouls from their forward spots.

Intriguing Timing: NCSU athletic director Debbie Yow announced on Sunday that the 1988-89 men's basketball squad will be honored as the recipient of the inaugural "Wolfpack Unlimited" Award prior to Tuesday's game. That announcement came less than 24 hours after two members of that team, Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta, were ejected from the stands during Saturday's loss to Florida State. The '88-89 N.C. State team won the ACC regular season title to earn the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament, but lost to No. 8 seed Maryland, 71-43, in the opening round.

Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated N.C. State, 74-55, on Jan. 26 in Chapel Hill, N.C. Tyler Zeller scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds as UNC built a 17-point first-half lead and coasted to the victory. Harrison Barnes added 15 points and Reggie Bullock added 11 points and five rebounds in his first career start.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with N.C. State, 145-75. UNC has won 11 straight, 17 of 18 and 34 of 42 against the Wolfpack.

Projected Starters:
2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, So.) - 12.1 ppg, 6.5 apg
15 Scott Wood (6-6, 175, Jr.) - 13.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg
21 C.J. Williams (6-5, 224, Sr.) - 11.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg
5 C.J. Leslie (6-8, 209, So.) - 13.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg
1 Richard Howell (6-8, 250, Jr.) - 11.0 ppg, 9.2 rpg

Top Reserves:
0 DeShawn Painter (6-9, 231, Jr.) - 6.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg
3 Alex Johnson (5-10, 176, Sr.) - 4.6 ppg, 3.1 apg

Roster & Bios

(Photos by US Presswire)

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