N.C. State preview

The Tar Heels, likely minus two starters, host N.C. State tonight. The game tips at the Smith Center at 9:00 p.m. and will be regionally televised by Raycom/Jefferson Pilot.

N.C. State (14-4, 4-2) at North Carolina (5-10, 1-4)
Dean Smith Center
9:00 p.m.
Radio: (Listen Live)

Injury News:
UNC freshman Jackie Manuel will miss the game due to a stress fracture in his left foot. He has averaged 6.1 points and 3.7 boards in 22.5 minutes and is out indefinitely.

Tar Heel senior Jason Capel is doubtful for the game, having not yet fully recovered from a concussion suffered in practice a week ago. His status is officially termed as "uncertain" and a gametime decision, as he was cleared to shoot and ride the exercise bike in practice on Tuesday, but those in the basketball program aren't optimistic that he'll be able to play. Capel leads the Tar Heels in 14 statistical categories, including minutes played, field goals, field goal attempts, free throws, free throw attempts, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, total rebounds, assists, steals, points and scoring average.

Versatile Wolfpack freshman forward Levi Watkins is out for the year, after averaging 3.2 points and 2.0 boards in 13 games.

Pregame Quotes:

Matt Doherty -- "We're coming off a disappointing effort at UConn. I was disappointed with our team's toughness. We've hung tough in games like Virginia and Florida State, but in a few games this year -- UConn, Maryland, Wake Forest -- I was really disappointed in our toughness. I don't know if that's something you can change overnight, but we're sure trying."

Doherty on fan support -- "Our fans have been unbelievable -- it's been overwhelming. For example, the Virginia game: we play a very hard fought game, we lose, our fans were great throughout the course of the game and as we're walking off the court, they give us an ovation. I thought that was unbelievable -- they applauded our effort. And then I have a weekly radio show at Michael Jordan's restaurant here in town and the last two weeks I've had the best crowds I've ever had in two years. It's almost like the fans feel like we need them more now then we have in the past, so they've been stepping up and doing their part. I appreciate it and the players appreciate it."

Herb Sendek on State's road success -- "We've certainly been able to get a few wins (on the road) under our belt. I think our guys have shown a good measure of poise and composure away from home and we were fortunate to win two games that easily could have gone the other way. ... I think our team has really gone in with a good dose of composure and handled themselves really well for a young team away from home so far this season."

Sendek on his freshmen -- "Right now they've certainly met our expectations. Each of them in his own way has added unique and special value to our team. They've really been baptized with fire. They're still very much in the learning process and everyday is an important experience for us. The true freshman are an important part of our team. ... They've had the opportunity from Day One they came in here knowing that mathematically we had to count on them. ... In order for us to field a team, we would have to count on freshman. We've lived through some mistakes, obviously, and gone through some learning."

Sendek on State being favored vs. UNC -- "Our team has been very good all season long focusing on themselves. We respect every opponent. You'd have to be an utter fool in college basketball today to take any game lightly or for granted. North Carolina is exceptionally well coached and I can't impress that upon anyone who cares to listen enough. They have a talented group of young players who are getting better and are very capable of putting things together. Like going into any game, we have to focus on the things we can control the most, which certainly isn't our opponent on a given night, but ourselves and that's where our focus is."

Sendek on Capel's absence -- "Obviously he's an integral part of their team. He's one of the most experienced players in our league. Few teams would not be changed with the loss of a player like that. And we know from personal experience how that can influence a basketball team. But I think Jawad Williams and Will Johnson and some of their other players have collectively tried to step it up and I don't know whether he'll be ready for our game or not. Everybody is probably more concerned with his well being than his ability to play basketball when you have an injury to the head like that."

N.C. State Season to Date: The Wolfpack won some easy games early, but after losses to Ohio State and UMass, skeptics foretold another disappointing season for Herb Sendek's squad. They spoke to soon, however, as the Pack have won four of their first six ACC games, including an impressive upset of Virginia in Charlottesville. (2001-2002 Schedule w/Results)

Probable Starting Lineup:
Archie Miller (5-10, Sr., G) 8.1 pts, 3.5 ast
Anthony Grundy (6-3, Sr., G) 15.5 pts, 5.2 reb
Julius Hodge (6-6, Fr., G) 10.2 pts, 4.8 reb
Marcus Melvin (6-8, So., F) 10.0 pts, 5.7 reb
Josh Powell (6-9, Fr., F) 10.2 pts, 5.1 reb

Key Reserves:
Ilian Evtimov (6-7, Fr., F) 5.2 pts, 2.0 reb
Scooter Sherrill (6-3, So., G) 5.4 pts, 37% 3pt
Clifford Crawford (6-3, Jr., G) 5.5 pts, 3.7 ast

Team Roster
Season Stats

Photo Gallery:

Anthony Grundy

Julius Hodge

Josh Powell

Head coach Herb Sendek

(AP photos by Bob Jordan)

Game Facts from Sports Info:

  • This is UNC's first five-game losing streak since 1952. UNC has lost five or more games in a row on four occasions in school history. UNC has not lost six in a row since 1950-51.
  • Carolina leads the alltime series against NC State, 128-70.
  • The Tar Heels have beaten the Wolfpack seven consecutive times and 11 times in the last 12 games. The last time NC State beat UNC was February 21, 1998. The Wolfpack, unranked at the time, beat No. 1 ranked Carolina, 86-72 at the Smith Center.
  • The last time Carolina and NC State played a game in which neither team was ranked in the Associated Press poll was February 9, 2000. The Tar Heels beat the Wolfpack, 70-62, in Raleigh.
  • UNC and NC State have started more freshmen this year than any other schools in the ACC. NC State freshmen have accounted for 39 games started; the Tar Heels have had 26 starts by freshmen. Georgia Tech is third in the league with 23 starts by freshmen. The rest of the league combined has seven rookie starts.

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