Feb. 14, 2014
The Last Meeting
December 17, 2011
Top-ranked Orange Pulls Away From Pack
Senior C.J. Williams sets a new career high for the second consecutive game, scoring 25 points against No. 1 Syracuse, in a sold-out game at the RBC Center. The Wolfpack plays twice next week, at St. Bonaventure on Tuesday and at home against Northeastern on Thursday at 7 p.m.
NC State will take its shot at the nation's top-ranked team Saturday afternoon when it plays at Syracuse. The Wolfpack has won five of its last six contests and is coming off an 82-67 win over Wake Forest.
Syracuse (24-0, 11-0), in its first season as a member of the ACC, has been ranked No. 1 since the Feb. 3 polls after California defeated previously-unbeaten Arizona. Syracuse, along with Wichita State, is one of just two remaining unbeaten teams in college basketball.
The game at Syracuse starts a three-game road stretch for NC State. Following Saturday's contest at Syracuse, NC State will play at Clemson Tuesday, Feb. 18.
The Starting 5 - The Top 5 Storylines For This Game
1. PACK PLAYING NUMBER ONE
NC State owns six wins against the nation's top-ranked teams, with three coming against UNC, two over Duke and a win over Houston in the 1983 title game. On Jan. 12 of last season, the Wolfpack defeated No. 1 Duke 84-76 at PNC Arena. In Mark Gottfried's first season, Syracuse came to PNC Arena when ranked No. 1. The Wolfpack led 12-4 and 27-20 before a 23-2 run lifted Syracuse to the win. NC State's C.J. Williams scored a career-high 25 points in the game.
2. THE BEST SCORER IN THE ACC
T.J. Warren, the ACC's leading scorer at 23.1 points per game, poured in a career-best 34 points against Wake Forest. That came after his 27-point outing at Miami. It was his ACC-high fifth 30-point game of the season and the 6-8 sophomore is the only player in the ACC with multiple 30-point performances. He also leads the conference with 19 games with 20 points or more. Warren is the top scorer among all players in the Power 5 conferences and ranks first in the ACC with a .521 field goal percentage (minimum 5 FG made per game). Warren has reached double figures in 25 of his last 27 games and is also among the ACC's leaders in rebounds (8th), offensive rebounds (1st), minutes played (8th) and steals (6th).
3. EXPANSION = NEW ROAD GAMES
As the ACC expanded to add Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Notre Dame, NC State has had to learn some new places and arenas. The Wolfpack has played at Notre Dame and will play this weekend at Syracuse and at Pittsburgh in March. NC State is one of just three ACC schools who will play away games at all three new member schools (Duke, Clemson).
4. WINTER WONDERLAND
Snow and ice aren't exactly news in upstate New York, but the weather in Raleigh has shaken NC State's schedule over the past week. Winter weather on Wednesday afternoon has forced NC State University to close for the rest of the week. The Wolfpack found time to practice on Thursday afternoon after having a regulary-scheduled off day on Wednesday. The team flight to Syracuse is scheduled for Friday evening and is expected to arrive with no issues.
5. MAKE OR BREAK STRETCH
With an RPI of 51 and claiming four wins over teams in the RPI's top 100, NC State has an opportunity to polish its postseason resume in the coming weeks. After beating Miami and Wake Forest, Saturday's contest at No. 1 Syracuse is the start of three games on the road. NC State has four remaining contests against teams currently in the RPI's top 75 (at Syracuse, Pitt and Clemson; vs. North Carolina).