NC State Wolfpack vs. #17 North Carolina Tarheels
Gametime: 7 PM
Location: Raleigh, NC
TV: ACC Network
NC State is back in action tonight vs. crosstown rival, #17 UNC. Not only is this a rivalry game, but it’s the Pack’s first matchup against a ranked opponent.
UNC is coming off a 12 point win over Kentucky while the Pack is fresh off a short-handed 19 point win over Campbell.
Let’s take a look at the keys to the game:
– Who will NC State have available? In the past two games, the Pack has been without two of their most important player, Cam Hayes and DJ Funderburk. Those absences were glaring in their loss vs. St. Louis and would make it tough for them to pull off a win vs. a team of UNC’s caliber. There has been radio silence from both programs on who is available and who will be out. If you’re looking for Twitter rumors, you’ll find some saying both are out again, and some saying their sources are saying Hayes is in and Funderburk is still out. We have checked with our sources and are being told they cant confirm. COVID and HIPPA rules have shut off the flow of information, so the best bet might be to just wait until players take the court to find out.
– Who will win the battle in the middle? Last year UNC crushed the Pack in the paint. In game 1, they were outrebounded 42-31, with Garrison Brooks dominating on the blocks on his way to a game-high 25 points. In game 2, State was again beaten on the boards, this time 38-30 and this time Garrison Brooks dropped 30 points on the Pack. If Funderburk is out, State is in trouble. Manny Bates is a true defensive force in the middle, but Brooks and Bacot will be doing all they can to get him in foul trouble. It will be interesting to see how the Pack gameplans if Funderburk is still out.
– Cam Hayes playing is a huge factor in this one as well. Without Hayes, NC State will have trouble keeping up with UNC’s pace. Hayes has the ability to get in the middle and distribute. Without him, they end up playing a much slower pace of basketball and that rarely ends well for this team that thrives on playing fast.
– NC State is a 1.5 point favorite. What does Vegas know that we don’t? They. may be assuming NC State will be at full strength, and in that case, I get it. But without Funderburk and Hayes, there is no way the Pack should be favored in this one.
Again, it’s hard to really preview this matchup when the gameplan truly hangs on which players will be suiting up. Stay. tuned as well be updating you with news as it breaks.