For UNC that could mean a game
with Duke, Maryland or in the case of this week's game, against
North Carolina State,
For North Carolina State, without being too insulting, it usually
means a game against North Carolina.
UNC is targeted by many. North Carolina State targets one
team and usually one team only when the schedule comes out---the Tar
When you have a dynamic like that, where one team places so much
importance on one game---especially when that team is coming off an embarrassing loss--- it's important that the team being zoned in
on recognizes how hard the other team will be coming after them.
The game on Saturday will feature a North Carolina State team
that feels like it's on the verge of something special going up
against a team in North Carolina that features a lot of players
going through things for the first time.
For Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson, J.P. Tokoto and Joel James it's
important that veterans Reggie Bullock, James Michael McAdoo and
Dexter Strickland get in their ear and stress how important it is to
take North Carolina State out of their element early.Because make no
mistake about it. The Wolfpack players and all the fans packed
into PNC Arena will be ready to go. If they weren't amped up
and zeroed in already, they should be now after the stunning loss in Winston-Salem the other night.
N.C. State at a glance
Raleigh, North Carolina Nickname: Wolfpack Colors: Red & White Conference: ACC Arena: PNC Center (19,700) 2011-2012 Record: 24-13 (9-7) Last Game: L 86-84 at Wake Forest More on the Wolfpack: Schedule
Game Preview Thoughts
The last three games appear to have North Carolina back on track
or at least going in the right direction. After staring 0-2 in
conference play, the Tar Heels are on a three-game winning streak.
One of the things UNC has done well during the streak is performing
well in the opening minutes of their games.
Against Maryland, UNC forced the Terps to call a time-out before
the game was even two minutes old.
There is zero chance the Wolfpack will come out flat against the Tar
Heels. It will be up to UNC to take North Carolina State out
of their game. Expect UNC Head Coach Roy Williams to pressure
State's ball handler's from the opening tip.
If UNC can make North Carolina State uncomfortable it will allow
them to neutralize the crowd, which will also be amped up, and take
away one of the biggest advantages the Wolfpack will have coming
into the game.
If UNC can't and North Carolina State can get some momentum
going, things could get out of hand quickly for the young Tar Heel
Pound it down low
North Carolina State made Wake Forest's Devin Thomas look
like the best big man in the nation. Thomas went for 25 points
and 14 rebounds.
Against Clemson, North Carolina State allowed Devin Booker to
score a career high 27 points.
North Carolina has a super-talented big in McAdoo. This is
the game, if there ever was one, to focus extensively on getting
McAdoo his touches. Bullock has had a hot hand recently and
P.J. Hairston is coming off a great shooting night against Georgia
Tech, but UNC would be missing a huge opportunity if they don't give
McAdoo the chance to have a career night.
"They talk those guys up every single year and we beat them every
single year," Strickland said to CBSSports.com before the season.
"They are the least of our worries. Beat us one year and then they
can talk smack. Until then, you can't put them in the mix."
Before the season those words spoken like Strickland, while no
doubt could be classified as trash-talking, seemed to have just
enough truth to them to not be seen as overly aggressive or
But after North Carolina State knocked off Duke and UNC still had
memories of big defeats against Indian, Butler and Texas, those
words from Strickland began to look silly in hindsight.
It would be a safe bet to assume Strickland is at least somewhat
concerned with the Wolfpack this week. N.C. State has lost two
of three and aside from desperately wanting a victory to distill the
notion Strickland speaks off, they also kind of need it.
Strickland leads the Tar Heels in steals to this point of the season
and will be needed as a young UNC team goes into an angry hornet's
nest. Now more than ever, he needs to back-up his pre-season
N.C. State's talented but limited roster
North Carolina (12-5, 3-2) vs. N.C.
Date: Sat, Jan. 26,
2013 Time: 7:00 PM EST Venue:PNC Arena (19,700) TV: ESPN Radio: Tar Heel Sports
Network & SiriusXM (Sirius 91, XM 91) Series: UNC leads 147-75
(including 58-44 in Raleigh and 10-3 in the PNC Arena)
Head Coach - Roy Williams
(270-73 at UNC; 688-174 overall)
Rankings - AP: NR, USA Today:
NR, RPI: 34
Last starting line-up for North Carolina
(against Georgia Tech)
F - Desmond Hubert F - Reggie Bullock F - James Michael McAdoo
G - Dexter Strickland G - Marcus Paige
Points: 78.7 PPG (14th
Rebounds: 43.1 RPG (1st
Assists: 18.1 APG (3rd
Field goal percentage: .445
Scoring: James Michael
McAdoo (14.7 PPG) Reggie Bullock (14.3 PPG)
Michael McAdoo (8.3 RPG) Reggie Bullock (5.8 RPG)
Assists: Marcus Paige
(4.4 APG) Dexter Strickland
Head Coach - Mark
Gottfried (39-17 at
NCSU; 317-172 overall)
Rankings - AP: 18, USA Today:
18, RPI: 17
Points: 79.2 (9th overall)
Rebounds: 36.9 (102nd
Assists: 14.9 (64th
Field goal percentage: .510
Scoring: C.J. Leslie (15.3
PPG) Lorenzo Brown (12.3 PPG)
Howell (10.9 RPG)
C.J. Leslie (6.8 RPG)
Assists: Lorenzo Brown (6.9
APG) Rodney Purvis (1.8 APG)
Last starting line-up for Maryland (against
F - Richard Howell F - C.J. Leslie F - Scott Wood
G - Rodney Purvis G - Lorenzo Brown
Last Season's Meetings
January 26, 2012
February 21, 2012
March 10, 2012
N.C. State has the most talented roster in the
No team arguably in the entire Atlantic Coast Conference is as complete as the Wolfpack. Five NCSU players average in double figures in scoring.
They have a playmaking point guard (Lorenzo Brown), talented big men
(C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell) and talented freshmen (Rodney Purvis
and T.J. Warren. They also have a sharp-shooter who
stretches the defense and allows his teammates to have the space they
need in the paint (Scott Wood).
But N.C. State also relies heavily on six
players to get the job. They have four players-Leslie, Wood, Brown
and Howell--that average over 30 minutes a game and Purvis averages just
under that with 29 minutes per game.
UNC, as it often does under Williams, likes to
run a lot of players in and out of the game. Their bench is deeper
than N.C. State's and it could prove huge dividens.
There is something called an "adrenaline dump."
Basically what happens is people get so hyped up waiting for a big
anticipated moment to arrive. Once that moment comes and goes
there is an inevitable drain that immediately follows.
The Wolfpack have every reason to get fired up
for this game as does UNC. Whichever team handles their emotions
the best will be in great shape going forward in the game after the
first TV timeout. Because N.C. State relies so heavily on just a few
players and UNC has established a deep rotation throughout the year, the
adrenaline dump will be one of the biggest factors in the game.