Who doesn’t love a little in-state rivalry game at prime-time? That is exactly what you will have when North Carolina heads into PNC Arena to take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack at 7:00pm (EST).
Two teams who are in much need of a statement win, and whoever wins tonight will certainly earn that statement.
North Carolina State is 15-4 and 4-2 in ACC play, while North Carolina is 13-5 overall and 3-2 in the conference. The Tar Heels are trying to ride the momentum they have built from their 3-game winning streak after starting 0-2 in the conference. The Wolfpack are trying to use their home court where they are 11-0 to their advantage after losing 2 of their last 3 since knocking off No. 1 Duke.
These two opponents are nearly identical when it comes to the amount of points they score per game, and the amount they allow per game. Carolina scores 78.7 points per game and allows 68.1 a game. The Wolfpack score 79.2 and allow 69.5 points per game.
Both teams have struggled on the defensive end of the floor all year, but Carolina has picked up their intensity on their mini winning streak. Expect this game to be in the high 70’s or low to mid 80’s. Both teams score a lot of points, but North Carolina State shoots the ball at a much higher percentage than Carolina.
These two teams have two of the most talented rosters in the country, but which teams talent is going to show up and play on both ends of the court?
For North Carolina State, C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell are going to matched up against James Michael McAdoo and the trio of big men for Roy Williams. Leslie and McAdoo both average just about 15 points a game to lead their teams and both will need to be a force down low in order for their team to come out on top.
The Wolfpack have the advantage when it comes to the point guard position with Lorenzo Brown. Brown averages seven assists a game and is one of the best passers in the country. Marcus Paige, the UNC point guard, is more of a scorer. He racks up 4.4 assists a game, but is a shot first point guard even though he has struggled to score lately. That doesn’t mean Carolina can’t move the ball around as they are third in the country in assists.
Two of the best 3-point shooters in the conference square off tonight as well. Reggie Bullock and Scott Wood can flat out stroke it from the perimeter. Bullock has developed as a driver as well and it has really opened up his game. He is one a Carolina’s three-headed monster along with McAdoo and P.J. Hairston.
North Carolina State also has Rodney Purvis and T.J. Warren, two of the most talented freshman in the country. Purvis averages 9.9 points per game and Warren averages 12.2. The Wolfpack have five players who average double figures and Purvis who is .1 points shy of making it six players. Those six players do all of NCSU’s scoring.
Carolina relies heavily on outside shooting which is unlike most Carolina teams, but Hairston, Paige, and Bullock can certainly knock down the outside shot. When they aren’t shooting from the outside, it is either McAdoo down low or a basket in transition. Carolina needs to out rebound the Wolfpack and show that they are the top rebounding team in the country.
It will be a track meet and an exciting game to watch as the Wolfpack look to end their 13-game losing streak against the Tar Heels.