Pack and Tar Heels meet for the 224th time in the series
NC State (19-7, 8-5 ACC) at North Carolina (18-8, 8-5 ACC)
4 p.m. | Chapel Hill, N.C.
Dean E. Smith Center (21,750)
SERIES RECORD: North Carolina leads 147-76
LAST MEETING: NC State, 91-83, 1/26/13
TELEVISION: ESPN Watch
Play by play: Dave O’Brien Color: Doris Burke
RADIO: NC State Radio Network Listen
Play-by-play: Gary Hahn Color: Tony Haynes
RALEIGH, NC Feb. 22, 2013 – NC State will ride a three-game winning streak into Chapel Hill on Saturday when the Wolfpack and North Carolina meet for the 224th time at 4 p.m. at the Dean E. Smith Center.
“We’re going against a team that is playing very well right now,” Pack coach Mark Gottfried said. “They’ve really improved a lot from the first time we’ve played.”
Both teams enter the contest in a three-way tie for third place with Virginia in the ACC standings at 8-5. A win would help the Wolfpack maintain its position to secure one of the four first-round byes in the 60th edition of the ACC Tournament (March 14-17) in Greensboro.
NC State and UNC are both looking to extend winning streaks – the Pack has won its last three contests, while the Tar Heels have won their last two games. A fourth win by State would be its second longest winning streak this season, behind a 10-game streak spanning from the Dec. 4 triumph over Connecticut at the Jimmy V Classic to its Jan. 12 home victory over Duke.
The Wolfpack is coming off conference wins at Clemson (58-57) and back-to-back home victories last week over Virginia Tech (90-86 OT) and Florida State (84-66).
This success comes after both teams have undergone lineup changes as of late.
Having point guard Lorenzo Brown back on the court after missing time with an ankle injury has been a catalyst for NC State’s current fortune. Brown is averaging 13.0 points and 6.6 assists over the Pack’s last three contests. NC State modified its starting rotation in the Wolfpack’s victory over Florida State, adding freshman T.J. Warren. The move paid dividends, as Warren posted career-highs with 31 points (12-for-15 shooting) and 13 rebounds for his first career double-double.
“We’re a team that’s getting better,” Gottfried said. “We’re a team that’s learning exactly how we need to play.”
The insertion of P.J. Hairston into the Tar Heels’ starting lineup has given Carolina a spark. UNC is 2-1 over its last three contests with wins over Virginia at home (93-81) and at Georgia Tech (70-58). North Carolina’s only loss came at Duke, 73-68, in which Hairston had 24 points in 34 minutes of action.
“I think having him in the lineup makes them more confident,” Gottfried said.
The contest is also a meeting of two of the ACC’s top three scoring offenses. The Wolfpack enters Saturday’s game averaging a league-best 78.7 points per game, while the Tar Heels are third in the conference, posting 78.2 points per contest.
Gottfried doesn’t expect either team to look to slow it down on Saturday.
“I don’t see North Carolina trying to slow the game down,” Gottfried said. “I don’t think we’re a team that wants to either.
“In the first game we played, there were a couple of stretches where there wasn’t a dead ball. It was just up-and-down and up-and-down. I looked out there a couple of times and there were 10 guys on the floor exhausted. They didn’t want to call a time out and we didn’t want to call one. It was just going to keep going back-and-forth.”
The Wolfpack coach expects the same type of fast-paced game on Saturday.
√ NC State checks in at No. 21 in the RPI, and No. 19 in strength of schedule. The Pack posts three wins against the RPI top-50 this season.
√ Freshman T.J. Warren had 31 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Florida State – the third-highest scoring mark ever by a Pack freshman.
√ Scott Wood has started more career games than any player in Wolfpack history – 127.
√ Wood now ranks 10th in ACC history in career three-pointers (302).
√ Richard Howell ranks fifth in NC State history with 958 career rebounds.
√ NC State leads the ACC with 29 double-doubles, Duke is second with 17.