Previewing N.C. State

No. 15 North Carolina will make the short drive down I-40 to face a N.C State team fresh off an upset of then-No. 2 Duke. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday and will be televised on ESPN2.

North Carolina (12-4, 2-1 ACC) vs. N.C. State (12-5, 3-1 ACC)
Raleigh, N.C. -- PNC Arena
Wednesday, 7 p.m.
ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen, LaPhonso Ellis)


"Obviously, when you win, especially against a good opponent like Duke, you feel good. The tough thing in this conference, you better not celebrate very long. We've got to get ourselves refocused on North Carolina, which we will do." - N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried

“They're strong at all positions,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski following his team’s loss to NCSU on Sunday

“He’s a very competitive kid who has an ability to shed some defenders because he’s very strong as he’s driving to the basket. He has an ability to shoot from the outside… He gets to the free throw line and he makes his free throws. He has a positive assist-error ratio. He’s just a really good basketball player.” – UNC head coach Roy Williams on NCSU’s Trevor Lacey


Season to Date: N.C. State enters Wednesday’s contest with a 12-5 (3-1 ACC) record. State has, at times, struggled to fill the scoring void left by the departure of 2014 ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren. In State’s five losses, head coach Mark Gottfried’s team is averaging just 59 points a game. Even with an uneven start, the Wolfpack have come on strong in the last week. The Wolfpack gave No. 2 Virginia a tough time in Charlottesville (losing 61-51) and then handled No. 4 Duke, 87-75, at PNC Arena on Sunday.

The Upset Over Duke: N.C. State ranks fourth in the ACC in 3-point field goal percentage, which the Wolfpack showcased in shooting lights out against Duke on Sunday. State went 10-of-16 (63 percent) from behind the arc, and were led by Trevor Lacey, who was 5-of-7 (71 percent) from deep and 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) from the field overall. This group was equally impressive in defending the three point shot. As a team, Duke chucked up a mountain of threes (27 in total), and hit just seven in total (26 percent).

Lacey’s Emergence: There were legitimate questions regarding who would fill the offensive void left by Warren last spring. As the ACC season ramps up, it has become clear that Lacey, a redshirt junior guard, has become this team’s go-to scoring option. After transferring from Alabama and sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, Lacey has established himself as a leader on this team. For the season, the Huntsville, Alabama native is currently fourth in the ACC in scoring, averaging 17.2 points per game and ranks 10th in field goal percentage (.500).

Losing the Turnover Battle: The Wolfpack ranks 14th in the ACC in turnover margin (-1.47), yet ranks sixth in fewest turnovers committed per game (11.5). That discrepancy can be explained by N.C. State’s inability to force turnovers. The Wolfpack rank 346th nationally in defensive turnover percentage (15.2), according to

Tough Stretch: Wednesday’s game marks the third time in eight days that the Wolfpack will have matched up against a top-15 ACC team.

Inside Presence: Sophomore forwards Kyle Washington (6-foot-9, 225 lbs.) and BeeJay Anya (6-foot-9, 295 lbs.) have played well in the post in complimenting Lacey and Cat Barber on the perimeter. Neither are lethal scoring threats, although their defense on Saturday was critical in limiting Duke’s Jahlil Okafor. Freshman Abdul-Malik Abu has also come on strong in recent weeks to provide size and athleticism underneath.

Turner Turning Up: While Lacey may deserve the headlines, senior guard Ralston Turner has provided balanced scoring on the perimeter. Turner ranks fifth in the ACC – three spots behind his teammate – in 3-point field goal percentage (41.7).

Last Meeting: UNC defeated N.C. State, 85-84, in overtime at PNC Arena on Feb. 27, 2014. Marcus Paige scored 31 of his career-high 35 points after halftime, including the game-winner with 0.9 seconds to play, in an epic duel with Warren, who scored a game-high 36. The Tar Heels shot 50 percent from the floor after halftime.

Series History: The Tar Heels lead the all-time series with the Wolfpack, 150-76. UNC has won 16 of the last 17.

Projected Starters:
1 Trevor Lacey (6-3, 208, Jr.) - 16.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg
12 Cat Barber (6-2, 180, So.) - 11.4 ppg, 3.5 apg
22 Ralston Turner (6-5, 205, Sr.) - 13.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg
32 Kyle Washington (6-9, 225, So.) - 7.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg
21 BeeJay Anya (6-9, 295, So.) - 5.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg

Top Reserves:
14 Caleb Martin (6-6, 200, Fr.) - 5.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg
10 Lennard Freeman (6-8, 250, So.) - 3.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg
0 Abdul-Malik Abu (6-8, 240, Fr.) - 4.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg

Roster & Bios

(Photos by USA Today Sports)

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