Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - After posting a huge upset over then second- ranked Duke this past weekend, NC State sets its sights on another powerhouse rival, as the Wolfpack play host to the 15th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in an ACC showdown at PNC Arena on Wednesday.
Mark Gottfried's Wolfpack are an impressive 12-5 on the season and that includes the team's biggest win to date, Sunday's 87-75 upset of Duke. The win over the Blue Devils followed a tough loss to yet another powerhouse, Virginia (61-51).
Roy Williams' Tar Heels have won six of their last seven games, with the lone loss being a one-point decision to Notre Dame (71-70). The team most recently knocked off Louisville by the same narrow margin (72-71), moving to 2-1 in conference play.
North Carolina holds a 150-76 edge in the all-time series with NC State and has won three straight and 16 of the last 17 meetings overall. UNC is also 59-45 in games played in Raleigh, with an 11-4 record at PNC Arena.
Marcus Paige hit the game-winning shot with under nine seconds to play, as UNC edged out Louisville in Chapel Hill last time out. Kennedy Meeks led four Tar Heels in double figures in the victory with 13 points. Brice Johnson posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Paige and J.P. Tokoto chipped in with 10 points each. North Carolina held a 40-30 advantage in rebounding and held All-America candidate Montrezl Harrell to just nine points and five boards in the game.
The Tar Heels win most of their games with overpowering offensive numbers. The team is shooting a healthy .452 from the floor overall, leading to a hefty 79.8 ppg. UNC is also very active on the boards, boasting of a +10.8 rebounding margin. Paige leads the team in scoring at 13.3 ppg. Meeks is the resident muscle in the paint. The sophomore big man is shooting .585 from the field and is averaging 12.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Johnson (11.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg) rounds out the double-digit scorers on the roster, although players like Justin Jackson (9.5 ppg) and Tokoto (9.2 ppg) are eager to join the group.
The Wolfpack needed a statement win and got just that against Duke last time out, as NC State overwhelmed the Blue Devils with their efficient play. In all, NC State shot 55 percent from the floor and was a scorching 10-of-16 from behind the arc (.625). Trevor Lacey was once again the driving force in the win, as he posted 21 points, on the strength of five 3-pointers. Ralston Turner poured in 16 points and BeeJay Anya came off the bench to add 14 points in the big win.
Lacey has made an immediate impact, as he has filled the void left by last year's ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren. Lacey, an Alabama transfer, is shooting a cool 50 percent from the field overall, including 46.3 percent from long range to pace the team with 16.9 ppg. Turner is a marksman as well at 13.3 ppg. The two have combined for 80 of the team's 107 3-pointers to date. Point guard Anthony Barber has the ability to both score (11.4 ppg) and distribute (3.6 apg) at a high level.