March 12, 2014
The Last Meeting
March 1, 2014
NC State's 61st appearance in the ACC Men's Basketball Championship will begin Thursday, March 13 against Miami. The game, which can be seen on ESPN, will tip at 7:09 p.m.
With a pair of wins against the RPI's top 50, six true road wins and the ACC's player of the year in T.J. Warren, NC State has its sights set on a deep postseason run. The Wolfpack has made the ACC tourney semifinals in each of Mark Gottfried's first two seasons. The run will start with a game against No. 10 seed Miami, which advanced past Virginia Tech 57-53 on Wednesday afternoon.
The Wolfpack and Hurricanes split a pair of meetings this season, with the home team winning each time. NC State is 9-7 all-time against Miami.
A win over Miami would send NC State into a resume-building showdown vs. No. 2 seed Syracuse. The Wolfpack held a lead at Syracuse, then ranked No. 1 in the nation, during the final seconds before losing 56-55 during a controversial ending.
The First Four - The Top 4 Storylines For This Game
1. TOURNEY TIME
Mark Gottfried had shown a habit of getting his teams to win in a tournament setting. The third-year coach took each of his first two NC State teams to the ACC semifinals. In 2012, win over Boston College and Virginia helped the Pack onto the right side of the bubble. A week later, NC State advanced to the Sweet 16. Last year, Gottfried's squad blew out Virginia Tech and Virginia before falling to eventual champion Miami. NC State is 6-4 at the ACC Tournament over the past four years. NC State has won its ACC Tournament opener in three of the last four years.
2. PLAYER OF THE YEAR
T.J. Warren, the ACC's leading scorer with 24.8 points per game, was voted the league's player of the year by the ACC's head coaches and the media. Not only does the 6-8 sophomore lead the ACC in scoring but he is the top scorer among all players in the Power 5 conferences. He leads the ACC in both 20-point games (26), 30-point outings (9) and 40-point performances (2). Over the last two games, Warren has scored 83 points on 30-for-45 shooting. After pouring in a career-high 41 points on 16-for-22 shooting in NC State's win at Pittsburgh on March 3, he topped that with 42 points in a win over Boston College on March 9. Warren, who has reached double figures in 32 of his last 34 games, is also first in the ACC with a .532 field goal percentage (minimum 5 FG made per game). He is on pace to become just the third player in ACC history to lead the conference in both scoring and field goal percentage (Horace Grant, Tim Duncan). Warren is also among the ACC's leaders in rebounds (8th), offensive rebounds (1st), minutes played (8th) and steals (4th).
3. THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED
This week's tournament marks the 40th anniversary of what many call the greatest game in ACC history. The 1974 ACC tourney final featured top-ranked NC State and No. 5 Maryland. The Wolfpack prevailed 103-100 in overtime behind 38 points from Tommy Burleson. Trailing 55-50 at halftime, the Pack rallied and led 97-93 with 2:12 left in the game. Maryland, led by Len Elmore, scored twice to send the game into overtime. The lead changed hands three more times before the Wolfpack pulled out the win and earned the ACC's only NCAA tourney bid. NC State went on to win the national title, which was also played in Greensboro.
4. TYLER SERVES IT UP
Tyler Lewis is on pace to set the single-season school record for assist-to-turnover ratio. Lewis is currently averaging an ACC-best 3.93 assists to every turnover, which is also good for fourth in the nation. The previous school record is 3.35, set by Sidney Lowe during the 1982-83 season. The sophomore from Statesville, N.C., has 43 assists against just six turnovers over the last eight games. Over the last six games, Lewis has dished 36 assists with only four miscues.