Jan. 31, 2014
The Last Meeting
February 23, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Another chapter of the NC State-UNC rivalry will be written Saturday, Feb. 1 in Chapel Hill. The Wolfpack will face the Tar Heels on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. The two teams split a pair of meetings last season, with the home team winning each time.
The Wolfpack (14-7, 4-4) and Tar Heels (13-7, 3-4) are each coming into Saturday's game riding momentum from recent wins. NC State has won three games in a row to pull to .500 in league play, while North Carolina has won three of its last four games.
The NC State-UNC series dates back to the 1912-13 year and the two schools have played at least twice a year each season since 1919-20. The only two schools NC State has played more often are Duke and Wake Forest.
NC State will head to Chapel Hill with the ACC's leading scorer in T.J. Warren. The sophomore from Durham, N.C., is averaging 22.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He scored 30 in Wednesday's win over Florida State, bringing his league-best total of 30-point games to four. The rest of the ACC's players have six such outings combined. UNC is led by Marcus Paige, a sophomore guard who averages 16.8 points per game.
NC State will have a week between games after playing North Carolina. The Wolfpack will play at Miami Saturday, Feb. 8, part of a stretch that will see NCSU will play five of six games on the road.
The Starting 5 - The Top 5 Storylines For This Game
1. STORIED RIVALRY RENEWED
Saturday's showdown in Chapel Hill is the 225th meeting between the two Triangle schools, NC State's third-most prolific rivalry in men's basketball (behind Wake Forest and Duke). The teams split two meetings last season as the home team won each game. NC State scored a 91-83 victory over North Carolina while ESPN College Gameday was in Raleigh.
2. COLLECTING TOP 50 VICTORIES AND CLIMBING IN THE STANDINGS
After Wednesday's win over Florida State, NC State climbed to No. 57 in the RPI. That gives the Wolfpack wins over the current Nos. 32 (FSU) and 48 (Tennessee) teams. North Carolina is currently No. 45 on the RPI chart, meaning a win on Saturday would give NC State a third victory over a top 50 RPI team. Other Wolfpack opponents with notable RPI standing include: Duke (11), Pittsburgh (18), Virginia (21), Cincinnati (22), Missouri (42) and Maryland (80). The win over FSU also brought NC State into the top half of the ACC standings with a 4-4 mark.
T.J. Warren, the ACC's leading scorer at 22.5 points per game, posted his fourth 30-point game of the season when he scored 30 against Florida State on Wednesday. The 6-8 sophomore is the only player in the ACC with multiple 30-point performances, hitting the mark against Florida Gulf Coast (30), Eastern Kentucky (30) and ECU (32) in addition to FSU. Warren, who is sixth in the country in scoring, ranks third in the ACC with a .513 field goal percentage (minimum 5 FG made per game) and has 15 outings with 20 or more point outings this season. Warren has reached double figures in 22 of his last 24 games and is also among the ACC's leaders in rebounds (7th), offensive rebounds (1st), minutes played (6th) and steals (t-7th).
4. DEZ PUTS IT BACK
Desmond Lee, who started the season's first 19 games, has made a late-game put-back to lift the Wolfpack in each of the last two games. He rebounded a T.J. Warren miss with 19 seconds left in regulation to force overtime vs. Georgia Tech. He then scored a put-back with :09 on the clock to ice NC State's win over FSU.
5. ON THE `MARK' in ACC PLAY
NC State has won 24 ACC games since Mark Gottfried came to NC State. His 20 wins during his first two years was the most for NCSU over a two-year span since the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. NC State also won 20 ACC games during those two seasons. Additionally, Gottfried became just the third coach in ACC history to lead his first two teams to the NCAA Tournament (Bill Guthridge, Roy Williams).