(18) NC State (15-3) at Wake Forest (9-8)
Tuesday, January 15, 7 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lawrence Joel Coliseum (14,655) -- Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Television: ESPNU, RSN. Home Record: NC State 11-0, Wake Forest 7-2. Away Record: NC State 1-2, Wake Forest 1-4. Neutral Record: NC State 3-1, Wake Forest 1-2. Conference Record: NC State 4-1, Wake Forest 2-3. Series Record: NC State leads, 136-99. .
GAME NOTES: The 18th-ranked NC State Wolfpack look to continue their climb towards the top of the polls as they visit the Lawrence Joel Coliseum for an Atlantic Coast Conference bout with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
NC State has won five straight against Wake Forest, by an average margin of 21.4 points per game. The recent dominance by the visitors has given them a 136-99 all-time series lead.
There is a strong chance Mark Gottfried's squad builds upon its edge in the rivalry as it enters with an impressive 15-3 overall record, including a 4-1 mark in ACC action. After suffering a heartbreaking 51-50 loss to Maryland on Wednesday, NC State bounced back on Sunday with a hard-fought, 66-62 win versus Clemson. The Wolfpack weathered a Tigers' rally after the break as freshman T.J. Warren scored 21 points, while Richard Howell scored the go-ahead basket with 1:56 left. Five players average double figures for the Wolfpack, and Rodney Purvis adds 9.5 points per game to the mix. C.J. Leslie leads NC State in scoring at 15.4 points per game. Howell averages a double- double and leads the ACC in rebounding at 10.6 boards per contest.
Although NC State has the 13th highest scoring offense in the nation at 78.9 points per game, it has produced just 56 ppg over its last two outings. The Wolfpack, a 51.1 percent shooting team on the season, made just 31.1 percent of their shots in the game at Maryland before netting just 45.1 percent of their field goals against the Tigers. Veteran leadership is what seems to be setting NC State apart this season. Lorenzo Brown is the ACC's active leader with 472 career assists and Scott Wood has drained 277 3-pointers in his career, which is also the best tally in the league. The Wolfpack are 22-3 over the last two seasons when Wood hits three or more 3-pointers, 13-0 when he hits four or more.
Jeff Bzdelik's Wake Forest unit is nowhere near as efficient as the visitors, scoring 67.4 points per game, while yielding 67.8 ppg. The Demon Deacons dropped to 2-3 in the ACC standings on Saturday after they were clipped 66-65 on the road by Virginia Tech. Although they are returning home where they are 7-2, a lack of scoring depth is going to hinder the hosts chances.
While Travis McKie contributes team-bests of 15.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest and C.J. Harris chips in 14.9 ppg, there is not much help elsewhere. Freshmen Devin Thomas and Codi Miller-McIntyre are decent contributors, but their help has barely kept the Demon Deacons above the .500 mark. McKie notched a double-double of 20 points and 10 boards at Virginia Tech and Harris tallied 10 points, but the team could not answer in the closing seconds after Robert Brown's layup gave the Hokies a one-point lead.
Despite the homecourt advantage, Wake Forest will be overmatched in this one. The Demon Deacons have very little chance of hanging with the Wolfpack unless McKie or Harris submit a spectacular performance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 81, Wake Forest 70
01/22 10:32:57 ET