Previewing N.C. State

With the status of their ACC Defensive Player of the Year in doubt, the Tar Heels will face N.C. State in Saturday's ACC Tournament semifinal. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Phillips Arena and will be televised by ESPN and the ACC Network.

North Carolina (28-4, 14-2) vs. N.C. State (22-11, 9-7)
Atlanta, Ga. -- Phillips Arena
Saturday, 1 p.m.
ACC Network (Tim Brant, Mike Gminski)
ESPN (Dan Shulman, Fran Fraschilla)


"I think we deserve to play in the NCAA Tournament. Obviously I'm not on the committee. We did what the committee asked us to do. We scheduled hard, tough. And quite frankly, I walked into a new job and we weren't in the greatest position at that time either. We did what we were supposed to do…. This team pretty much from start to finish has played pretty well and been in a position, even early, to win a lot of games." – N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried

"Coach has done an amazing job with me in keeping me in the game and telling me I can do it and sticking with me through all the tough times I had. He has done well to make sure my head is in the right place at game time. I can't say I've done it on my own." – N.C. State forward C.J. Leslie


Season to Date: N.C. State enters Saturday's contest with a 22-11 (9-7 ACC) record. The Wolfpack have won four straight games after losing six of nine contests over a four-week period. Gottfried's first squad in Raleigh had to win at least two games in Atlanta to stay in contention for the NCAA Tournament and moved back into the RPI Top-50 on Friday night at No. 47. NCSU is 2-8 against RPI Top-50 teams, so a win over North Carolina would help solidify its case.

ACC Tournament Results: The fifth-seeded Wolfpack defeated No. 12 seed Boston College, 78-57, on Thursday and upset No. 4 seed Virginia, 67-64, on Friday. Scott Wood scored 22 points against the Eagles and Leslie posted a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds against the Cavaliers. N.C. State is shooting 47.9 percent in its first two games, while holding its opponents to 40.9 percent.

Leslie Closing Strong: There's never been much debate about Leslie's talent level but there's been plenty of discussion pertaining to his psyche and work ethic. The sophomore forward, however, has cast aside those doubts in recent weeks with his strong play. Leslie is averaging 18.9 points on 61.9 percent shooting and 11.0 rebounds over his last seven games.

Working Out of a Slump: Junior guard Scott Wood's best quality has always been his 3-point shooting ability, but a late-season slump rendered him ineffective during most of February. The Marion, Ind. native shot 22.2 percent (6-of-27) from beyond the arc during a five-game stretch during which N.C. State lost four games. But since then, Wood has connected on 46.9 percent (15-of-32) of his treys.

Just the Stats: In ACC play, N.C. State ranks third in field goal percentage (44.5), fifth in field goal percentage defense (41.9), fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (34.2), fourth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (31.7), third in rebounding margin (plus-1.7), seventh in turnover margin (plus-0.19) and second in assist-turnover ratio (1.2).

Random Fact of the Day: A No. 5 seed has never won the ACC Tournament.

Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated N.C. State, 86-74, on Feb. 21 at the RBC Center. Kendall Marshall led UNC with 22 points, 13 assists and zero turnovers. Harrison Barnes added 20 points and John Henson posted a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. C.J. Leslie paced N.C. State with 24 points and 12 rebounds.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with N.C. State, 146-75, and has won 12 straight, 18 of 19 and 35 of 43 in the series. The Tar Heels own an 11-4 record over the Wolfpack in the ACC Tournament. The last time UNC and NCSU played in the ACC Tournament semifinals was in 1985, also in Atlanta (The Omni).

Projected Starters:
2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, So.) - 12.5 ppg, 6.3 apg
15 Scott Wood (6-6, 175, Jr.) - 12.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg
21 C.J. Williams (6-5, 224, Sr.) - 11.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg
5 C.J. Leslie (6-8, 209, So.) - 14.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg
1 Richard Howell (6-8, 250, Jr.) - 10.8 ppg, 9.3 rpg

Top Reserves:
0 DeShawn Painter (6-9, 231, Jr.) - 6.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg
3 Alex Johnson (5-10, 176, Sr.) - 4.7 ppg, 3.1 apg

Roster & Bios

(Photos by US Presswire)

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