North Carolina (4-1) vs. Kansas State (4-0)
Kansas City, Mo. – Sprint Center
Tuesday, 10 p.m.
ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen, Dan Dakich)
“I’m not sure we are ready, but I hope our guys would appreciate the challenge. That is why we play in these tournaments and take these opportunities.” Head coach Bruce Weber on facing UNC
"Tomorrow we will have our hands full. I thought Kansas State was really super tonight." - UNC head coach Roy Williams
“(The coaches) have been on me pretty hard lately about rebounding, and I just wanted to go out, be aggressive, box out and crash the boards.” – forward Dean Wade after his 13-rebound effort vs. Missouri
Season to Date: Kansas State enters Tuesday’s contest with a 4-0 record. The Wildcats have won all four of their games by double digits, notching wins over UMES (80-53), Columbia (81-71), South Dakota (93-72) and Missouri (66-42). Weber’s team was picked to finish T-8th in the Big 12 preseason poll.
Edwards Pacing Offense: Justin Edwards, who transferred from Maine after his sophomore season, has elevated his play in his senior season and currently leads the Wildcats in scoring (16.0) on 55.3 percent shooting. He’s also used his 6-foot-4, 200-pound frame on the interior, averaging 5.3 rebounds (2.5 OR). Edwards is one of three Wildcats with at least 12 assists – he has 14 – and has only committed four turnovers.
Young & Inexperienced: The Wildcats’ roster boasts 10 newcomers, including seven true freshmen, which is tied for the most among Power 5 schools (Nebraska). The seven true freshmen are tied for the fifth-most nationally. Weber’s fourth squad in Manhattan returns just K-State returns just 25.1 percent of its scoring, 29.8 percent of its rebounding and 29.8 percent of its minutes from last season’s team that went 15-17 (8-10 Big 12).
Defensive Force: Kansas State has relied on its defense in posting a perfect record through four games. The Wildcats rank 30th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency (95.0) and 50th in effective field goal percentage (42.6), according to kenpom.com. They also currently rank third in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage defense (23.1), steals (7.8) and turnover margin (plus-5.3). K-State is averaging 19.0 points off turnovers per game.
Work on the Glass: The Wildcats have also been dominant on the glass, owning a plus-10.8 rebounding margin. That’s not a one-sided approach, either. K-State ranks 39th in offensive rebounding percentage (39.3) and 45th in opponents’ offensive rebounding percentage (23.8), according to kenpom.com. Five different Wildcats are averaging five or more rebounds per game, led by freshman forward Dean Wade.
Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the Wildcats, 79-63, in Charlotte on Dec. 23, 1989.
Series History: UNC leads the all-time series, 4-1.
14 Justin Edwards (6-4, 200, Sr.) – 16.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg
25 Wesley Iwundu (6-7, 210, Jr.) - 14.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg
32 Dean Wade (6-10, 225, Fr.) - 13.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg
03 Kamau Stokes (6-0, 170, Fr.) - 6.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg
41 Stephen Hurt (6-11, 265, Sr.) - 9.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg
05 Barry Brown (6-3, 195, Fr.) - 10.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg
04 D.J. Johnson (6-9, 250, Jr.) - 5.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg
(Photo by USA Today Sports)