North Carolina State‘s T.J. Warren is the best scorer in the ACC this season at 23.3 PPG game and is a possible Player of the Year candidate in the conference. While the rest of the Wolfpack are not that much of a threat to take over games, Warren may be the type of the player who can dominate and help State beat rival North Carolina at PNC Arena Wednesday.
North Carolina has won nine straight games and has looked like the best team in the conference for the last two weeks. The Tar Heels are not just winning, they are dominating. The toughest challenge during this streak has been overcoming a deficit against Florida State before winning the game going away.
Obviously, this stretch of wins has been impressive, but coach Roy Williams‘ Heels have yet to face a single player who can score with the tenacity of Warren. Sure, Duke‘s Jabari Parker is extremely talented, but because he does not control possessions, he can be taken out of games. Warren simply is one of those rare talents who cannot be taken away from the ball long enough.
Warren has scored at least 20 points in his last eight games and is averaging 25.8 PPG during those games. He also has not shot below 50 percent in any of those games. What helps Warren is that his teammates and coach Mark Gottfried understand the Wolfpack’s best chance is to just let the talented sophomore just take over. Warren is perfectly built to do this and brings a confidence few players have. This reason alone could give North Carolina fits.
J.P. Tokoto is going to have to guard Warren. While Tokoto has become one of the best one-on-one defenders in the country, it is hard to imagine Warren will be slowed. He is bigger and stronger than Tokoto and it would not surprise anyone if he gets the swingman into foul trouble.
North Carolina will not be able to stop Warren and if the Tar Heels are going to run the streak to 10 games, they will need to make sure no other State player catches fire.
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