Detroit (5-5) at NC State (6-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 14, 6 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reynolds Coliseum (14,000) -- Raleigh, North Carolina. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Detroit 3-2, NC State 6-1. Away Record: Detroit 2-3, NC State 0-1. Neutral Record: Detroit 0-0, NC State 0-0. Conference Record: Detroit 0-0, NC State 0-0. Series Record: NC State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The NC State Wolfpack will close out their season-long, seven-game homestand on Saturday evening when they welcome the Detroit Titans to Reynolds Coliseum for a non-conference bout.
Detroit's up-and-down start to the campaign has resulted in an even 5-5 record. The Titans are on the upswing in recent weeks, however, with wins in two of their last three contests, most recently downing Rhode Island at home last Sunday, 70-68.
Meanwhile, NC State is a solid 6-2 on the season, with all six of its triumphs coming at home. The Wolfpack are on a roll of late with wins in four straight bouts, including a 76-66 victory over Long Beach State last Saturday.
These teams met just once previously, with NC State beating Detroit back during the 1977-78 season.
The Titans held on for a two-point victory over Rhode Island the last time out, despite shooting a modest 43.5 percent from the field, which included a dreadful 1-of-12 effort from 3-point range. They were able to put forth a decent showing from the foul line (15-of-22), while their opponent struggled from the stripe (8-of-19). Juwan Howard, Jr. was the catalyst in the victory with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Evan Bruinsma added 15 points on 6- of-8 from the floor. Matthew Grant provided a spark off the bench, netting 11 points in 23 minutes. Despite getting outshot from the field by its opponents, 42.9 percent to 40.4 percent, Detroit is still able to boast a slim +1.7 scoring margin thanks in part to the advantages it holds in turnovers (+1.6) and rebounding (+1.7). Howard, Jr. (16.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Bruinsma (12.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg) are the team's biggest assets, but while they both shoot free throws at better than 83 percent, their success from 3-point range isn't as strong, combining to shoot just 17-of-68 (.250).
The Wolfpack were able to dismiss LBSU by double digits in their latest game by shooting a lofty 50 percent from the field, although their prowess from 3- point range was noticeably absent (3-of-15). Keeping their mistakes to a minimum was also key, as they committed only nine turnovers. T.J. Warren provided the biggest boost with 23 points on 10-of-18 from the field, while Anthony Barber and Desmond Lee netted 19 and 15 points, respectively. Lennard Freeman scored only four points, but was a difference-maker in the paint with 13 rebounds. On the season, NC State pours in 76.2 points per game, 10.6 points more than it allows, although it has made a habit of shooting poorly from beyond the arc (.258) despite a strong field goal percentage overall (.491). Warren has been outstanding all year long, as his 22.6 points per game is tops in the ACC. He also collects a team-high 7.1 rebounds per contest and shoots 54 percent from the field. Barber (13.0 ppg) gets his teammates involved with 3.9 assists per game, and Lee (11.0 ppg) has been solid in spite of his awful 3-of-20 showing from 3-point range (.150).
While Detroit certainly shows some promise, especially in the frontcourt, it will be hard-pressed to come into hostile territory and knock off an NC State squad that has played well at home of late.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 77, Detroit 70
12/14 10:41:11 ET