NC State Wolfpack vs. UNC Tar Heels
1PM | Chapel Hill, NC | ESPN2
The Wolfpack heads across town to face-off with their hated rivals today at 1pm. But today’s game is a little different. Over the past 20 years, very rarely has NC State has been looking down at Carolina in the standings. State will enter today’s game at 4-4 in the conference, with UNC a game behind at 3-4. Let’s take a look at our game notes:
Might Carolina be figuring it out?
NC State is on the rise after 3 straight ‘grind it out’ wins, but so is Carolina. The Heels have won 3 of their last 4 after losing their first 3 in league play. They beat BC, lost by 15 to UVA, crushed Clemson by 19 and then took out GT by 13. Now, it’s not surprising anyone that UNC beat BC or GT, but taking out Clemson by 19 is pretty impressive. The Tigers are currently sitting at 4-3 in the conference and already have a win against Duke. But does this really mean UNC has turned a corner or something? It’s hard to say, but it does show you that when they ‘re on they can be somewhat dangerous. On the other hand, I still think they are what they are, and that’s a team that State can beat handily if they play their game and stay focused.
McAdoo matchup will likely decide the game…
Probably the biggest challenge NC State faces in this game is James Michael McAdoo. He’s coming off two huge games where he’s scored 22 and 17 respectively. He’s starting to get more physical and he’s becoming effective both in the post and facing up. State will have to make a choice on him. I think Vandy is simply too slow to guard him and will be relegated to guarding Meeks on the block. That leaves a freshmen Kyle Washington or Lennard Freeman to try to stop him. I think Freeman would be more effective. He only give up and inch and is 15 pounds heavier than McAdoo. Freeman has done a good job on guys that like to face up, and is athletic enough to stop him off the face-up. Washington will also get his chance. He’s the same height as JMM but gives up 5 pounds. Either way these two guys will be very important to the outcome of this game.
Dez Lee will (or at least should ) guard Marcus Paige…
Marcus Paige can really be credited for keeping UNC in contention at all this season. The kid has become a true scoring threat this season. He’s averaging 17 PPG and is scoring from all over the court. He’s their motor and they only go as far as he’s going to take them, which is why I think putting Dez Lee on him makes the most sense. Lee has been a defensive monster so far this season. His shut down defense was directly responsible for a number of wins this season and I think it’s going to be huge in this one. Paige is quick and can score in a variety of ways, but he’s not all that strong. Lee on the other hand is strong and can get physical with Paige, throwing him off his game (or at least frustrating him). If State can slow down Paige and McAdoo, they’ll blow UNC out of the water. If not, then the Heels could walk away with the win. One other thing to think about it how this might effect Gottfried’s lineup. Going with Lee on Paige, means Barber or Lewis on Leslie McDonald. Barber would be able to handle that, but I’m not sure Lewis would have much success against him. If Lewis continues to have the hot hand, then State might need to go zone and really cheat towards whatever side Paige drifts to.
No answer for TJ Warren
Carolina is likely going to guard Warren with JP Tokoto, and while Tokoto is a decent defender, he’s not the type that can shut down Warren. Tokoto gives up 3 inches and 15 pounds to Warren, who will have a huge advantage inside. That’s really the only guy they can trust to try to stop TJ. If Tokoto were to get in foul trouble (which is an issue Warren should certainly press) then UNC would simply have to go zone, because at that point they would have no one capable of even slowing down TJ.
Lewis and Barber need to be ready….
Roy Williams is at least going to try to play this game man to man. If he realizes Warren is too much of a matchup problem for his team, he’ll go zone. This will likely dictate who sees more time in this game. Right now Lewis has the hot hand. He’s playing smarter and controlling most aspects of the game, but Barber plays much better defense and is more of a threat when State gets going in transition. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lewis start this game, but even if he doesn’t, I don’t think it will be long before we see him off the bench. I do think Barber will be vital if Marcus Paige gets going. I’d like to see Lee on Paige, making it hard for him to get comfortable. If Dez is there, then that means Barber would move over onto McDonald, who he can easily matchup with. The same doesn’t go with Lewis who likely wouldn’t have success against he taller, stronger McDonald. I just think it’s a mistake to put Lewis on Paige right now. Paige is scoring a great clip and would salivate at the chance to attack Lewis.
First time at Carolina for most…
This will be the first time playing UNC for most of these Wolfpack players. Barber, Washington, Freeman, Anya, Lee and Turner have never faced UNC. How will they react? Will they come out too hyped, or will they come out focused? They do need to be warned about the whistles, though. Don’t hang your head if calls start getting a little questionable…it’s UNC, it’s going to happen.
Anya a gametime decision…
I think Anya is going to suit up, but I’m not doctor. Gottfried said he’s not sure about his status and that it will be known around game time.
A win goes a long way…
For UNC a win would mean moving back into contention at 4-4, but a win for State would be even bigger. If they knock off Carolina today, all of the sudden State moves into sole possession of 5th place and is in the conversation for a NCAA tournament bid. A lot is on the line in this one. Add in the fact that these two teams hate each other, and you’re going to have yourself a really fun game to watch.
NC State’s Men’s Basketball Team is Having One of it’s Best Runs in the ACC Ever
Heading into tonight’s Top-25 matchup between #22 NC State and #8 UVA, the Wolfpack are in the midst of one of their best runs in ACC play since the conference was formed in 1953.
The Wolfpack are 9-4 in the ACC, but they have won 8 of their last 9 conference games.
The last time NC State went on a run like this in ACC Regular Season games was during the 1972-73 and 73-74 seasons, when the Wolfpack went 12-0 in ACC play.
12-0 (1972 & 73-74)
12 of 13 (1958-59)
8 of 9 (2022-23, 1961-61, 1954-55)
7 of 8 (1974-75, 1969-70, 1964-65, 1955-56)
6 of 7 (2005-06, 1979-80, 1960-61, 1957-58)
#22 NC State is a 7.5-Point Underdog at #8 UVA Tonight
#22 NC State is a 7.5-point underdog at #8 Virginia tonight at 9pm, and the Total is sitting at 137.
- NC State is 19-5 Straight Up.
- They are 11-11-2 Against the Spread.
- UVA is 17-4 Straight Up.
- They are 8-12-1 Against the Spread.
- The Total has gone Over in 13 of NC State’s 24 games.
- The Total has gone Over in 12 of UVA’s 22 games
- UVA is 15-2 as the Favorite.
- NC State is 4-4 as the Underdog.
- NC State is 4-1-1 in their last 6 games against UVA Against the Spread.
- The Total has gone Over in 5 of NC State’s last 7 games.
- The Total has gone Over in 4 of UVA’s last 5 games.
- The Total has gone Under in 5 of the last 6 games between these two in Charlottesville.
- NC State has won two in a row, and 3 of the last 4 against UVA.
- Kevin Keatts is 3-4 against UVA. He is 2-2 at UVA.
NC State vs. UVA
NC State is the ONLY Team in the Triangle Ranked for the 1st Time in 40 Years
NC State’s Men’s Basketball team is back in the AP Top 25 for the first time in 4 years, landing at #22 in the Week 14 AP Poll.
NC State is ranked. Duke and UNC are not. Last time that was the case? December 27th, 1982. Over 40 years ago. It’s only the 6th time in 67 years that this has happened.
Wolfpack was 17th that week. UNC was unranked in two polls all year, Dec. 20 and Dec. 27. Duke was not ranked that season (Dawkins, Alarie, Bilis, Henderson were freshmen).
Other *cough* ACC teams on Dec. 27: Virginia (4), Louisville (13), Syracuse (14).
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) February 6, 2023
Before that: The preseason poll in 1973, the final poll in 1970 and Dec. 5, 1955. So this is the sixth time in 67 years.
Happened pretty often between 1952-55. NC State was ranked during the entire 1950-51 season while neither Duke nor UNC was.
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) February 6, 2023
Anyone remember what happened that 1982-83 basketball season?
NC State won the National Championship.
NC State Breaks Into the AP Poll, Landing at #22
NC State is off to it’s best start in almost 2 decades, and they now finally have a number beside their name, landing at #22 in the Week 14 AP Poll.
— NC State Men's Bball (@PackMensBball) February 6, 2023
This is the first time that NC State has been ranked in the AP Poll since January 28th, 2019, when they were ranked 23rd.
ACC Teams in the Week 14 AP Poll
22. NC State