Nov. 25, 2013
Tuesday night will see a program that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2012 host a 2013 Sweet 16 team when Florida Gulf Coast comes to PNC Arena at 7 p.m. The game will be shown live on ESPN3.
FGCU, sporting a 4-1 record and a four-game win streak, made national headlines last spring when it became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA Tournament history to win two games. The Eagles knocked off No. 2 seed Georgetown and then No. 7 seed San Diego State en route to a Sweet 16 berth. Coincidentally, NC State defeated the same two teams in the 2012 tourney before falling to Kansas in the regional semifinal.
NC State (2-2) is coming off an overtime loss to NC Central. The Wolfpack led 7-0 early but the veteran NCCU team stayed poised and attacked the basket to the tune of 45 free throw attempts. NC Central led for most of the game until a late run by the Wolfpack. Freshman walk-on Patrick Wallace buried a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds on the clock to send the game into overtime. With most of NC State's regulars disqualified by fouls, NCCU took control of the game to win 82-72.
Freshman Anthony 'Cat' Barber had his best night as a college player, totaling 22 points. The game also saw T.J. Warren, NC State's leading scorer and rebounder, surpass the 500-point mark for his career. Warren currently stands sixth in the ACC with 19.0 points per game.
FGCU is led by Chase Fieler, who averages 14.0 points per game. The Eagles are coached by first-year coach Joe Dooley, who came to the Florida school after a long stint on staff at Kansas.
After Tuesday's contest against Florida Gulf Coast, the Wolfpack will host Eastern Kentucky Saturday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m.
The Starting 5 - The Top 5 Storylines For Tuesday's Game
1. BALL CONTROL
One area where NC State has thrived so far this season has been in the turnover department. The Wolfpack has had fewer turnovers than its opponent in all four games this season, posting a season average of +4.8 in turnover margin. Guards Tyler Lewis and Cat Barber have combined for 30 assists against just 11 turnovers. Currently, the Pack stands second in the ACC in turnover margin, behind only Syracuse.
2. SCHEDULE TOUGH
Mark Gottfried specifically set out to challenge his young team when he set out to build the 2013-14 schedule. Florida Gulf Coast, which became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA Tournament history to make the Sweet 16 a year ago, is one of nine teams on the Pack's schedule that played in the Big Dance last season. In all, NC State will play 20 games against 18 different teams that competed in a postseason tournament in 2013.
Sophomore forward T.J. Warren, a 2013 ACC All-Freshmen Team pick, stands fifth in the ACC with 19.0 points per game. Known for his scoring efficiency, the 6-8 sophomore has picked up his game in other areas. In addition to averaging 19.0 points per contest, Warren leads the team with 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. In the season opener, he shot 13-for-20 from the floor to score 27 points with eight rebounds. At Cincinnati, Warren posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, his third career double-double. Warren then scored 23 points on 10-for-20 shooting vs. Campbell.
4. THE 11TH MONTH
NC State is 15-3 in home nonconference games in the month of November dating back to November 2008. Gottfried started 4-1 in November nonleague games at home during his first year at NC State and then went 2-0 last year. Before last week's overtime loss to NC Central, NCSU's last nonconference home loss in the opening month of the season was against Indiana (86-75 on Nov. 30, 2011). Overall, NC State is 56-13 (.812) during the month of November since 1999.
5. DEFENDING RALEIGH
NC State, now 2-1 at home this season, was 16-1 at home last season (15-1 at PNC Arena). Mark Gottfried is 31-8 in home games as head coach of the Wolfpack. Before falling in overtime at home last week, NC State had won six straight games at home dating back to last season's loss vs. No. 14 Miami.