Eastern Kentucky (6-1) at NC State (3-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 30, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: PNC Arena (19,700) -- Raleigh, North Carolina. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: EKU 4-0, NC State 3-1. Away Record: EKU 1-0, NC State 0-1. Neutral Record: EKU 1-1, NC State 0-0. Conference Record: EKU 0-0, NC State 0-0. Series Record: NC State leads, 9-1.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Kentucky Colonels face their toughest challenge to date, as they go on the road to take on the NC State Wolfpack in non- conference action on Saturday evening from PNC Arena.
Jeff Neubauer's Colonels are off to an extremely fast start, as they have won six of their first seven games. Still a deeper look at the schedule shows a lack of top competition, with not a single major conference foe on the docket thus far. The team's lone loss came against Youngstown State (75-67) back on Nov. 10, but the team has posted four straight wins since, including a 95-56 rout of Brescia University last time out.
Mark Gottfried's Wolfpack are just 3-2 on the young season. The team struggled in the Global Games Shootout, with losses to Cincinnati (68-57) and NC Central (82-72 OT), but enters this game off an 82-62 pasting of Florida Gulf Coast.
NC State has won nine of the previous 10 meetings with Eastern Kentucky, although these two programs haven't met since 1959.
EKU is getting the job done this season with in-your-face defense, leading the nation in steals (89). The Colonels have really excelled in just about every facet of the game and enjoy a gaudy +21.6 margin as a result. The Colonels are averaging 83.3 ppg, while allowing just 61.7. Glenn Cosey is the top offensive threat, as his long-range acumen (.429, 21-of-49) has led to an impressive 19.7 ppg. Marcus Lewis is second in the scoring column at 13.9 ppg and is shooting a scorching .613 from the floor. Corey Walden and Orlando Williams chip in with 11.4 ppg each.
Five Colonels notched double figures in the rout of Brescia last time out. Cosey led the charge with 20 points, on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor and 9- of-10 from the free-throw line. Williams added 15 points off the bench, followed by Lewis (14 pts), Eric Stutz (11 pts) and Isaac McGlone (10 pts). EKU shot .491 from the floor in the game and outscored Brescia 35-to-17 from the charity stripe.
Sleeping on NC State because of the team's modes overall record would be a big mistake. The Wolfpack may not be the feared team they were a year ago at this time, but there is still talent to be found in Raleigh, especially at the offensive end. NC State is averaging a strong 78.0 ppg on the year, on an efficient .494 shooting. T.J. Warren has accepted the role of go-to-guy. The 6-8 sophomore is shooting .566 from the field and pouring in 21.2 ppg. Anthony Barber and Desmond Lee are next in the scoring column at 13.2 apiece.
The Wolfpack made light work of Florida Gulf Coast this week, shooting .548 from the floor overall, including a sizzling .621 in the second half. Warren was once again unstoppable, just missing out on a double-double with 30 points and nine rebounds. Barber added 12 points to the cause, while Jordan Vandenberg grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. NC State held FGCU to just a .345 shooting effort and outrebounded the Eagles 43-25.
The Colonels are certainly a dangerous mid-major program, but winning on the road in any ACC venue is not easy. Expect the Wolfpack to lean on Warren in this one and give the hometown faithful something to cheer about.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 77, Eastern Kentucky 70
11/30 10:37:14 ET