This is the first meeting between NC State and Western Michigan.
NC State-Western Michigan Connections
This may be the first meeting between NC State and Western Michigan on the court, the two coaching staffs have ties.
NC State director of basketball operations Jeff Dunlap and Wolfpack director of player development Larry Farmer both served on the staff of Broncos coach Steve Hawkins.
Dunlap worked for Hawkins on three previous occasions. Dunlap was an assistant at Quincy University in Illinois for three seasons (1991- 94). The two reunited at Western Michigan with Dunlap serving on Hawkins' Broncos staff from 2004-07 and again from 2010-11.
Prior to his arrival in Raleigh, Farmer spent two seasons (2010-12) on Hawkins' Bronco coaching staff.
The ties go even further back as Hawkins, a 1987 South Alabama graduate, got his start in coaching as student assistant under USA head coach Mike Hanks. Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried's father, Joe, was the South Alabama athletics director at the time.
NC State vs. The MAC
While this is the first meeting between NC State and Western Michigan, the Wolfpack is 5-1 all time against programs from the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
Western Michigan is the second MAC school the Pack has faced this season. It opened the year with a 97-59 victory over Miami (Ohio).
Home for the Holidays
Saturday's Western Michigan game is the fifth contest in a six-game December homestand for NC State.
The Pack is 4-0 on the homestand following its 92-73 win over St. Bonaventure this past Saturday.
NC State opened the homestand with an 80- 63 victory over Cleveland State at Reynolds Coliseum on Dec. 8, in its only appearance at the historic venue this season and an 84-62 win over Norfolk State on Dec. 15.
The Pack then closes out the calendar year hosting by UNC Greensboro on New Year's Eve at 5 p.m.
The game time for NC State's Dec. 31 home contest with UNC Greensboro has been changed to 5 p.m. The game originally had been slated for a 1 p.m. start.
The time change was made to allow Wolfpack fans locally and across the nation to support the football team as it takes on Vanderbilt in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, followed by the basketball contest later that afternoon.
Both events will be broadcast on the NC State Radio network. The Wolfpack football game is set to air on ESPN at noon and the men's basketball contest will be on ESPNU.
Juniors C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown both can reach scoring milestones in Saturday's contest. Leslie need four points to reach 1,000 in his NC State career, doing so in his 76th game in a Wolfpack uniform.
Brown needs five points to reach 900 as member of the Wolfpack, reaching the plateau in 79 games.
Leslie Named ACC Player of the Week
C.J. Leslie was named the ACC Player of the Week the conference office announced on Dec. 24. The junior forward earns the honor for the second time in his career and the second time this year.
Leslie led the 23rd-ranked Wolfpack to victories over Stanford, 88-79, and St. Bonaventure, 92- 73, extending NC State's winning to five straight games.
Against the Cardinal last Tuesday, Leslie scored 16 points, shooting 6-for-10 from the floor and 4-for-5 from the free throw line. He also grabbed six rebounds and had two blocks.
This past Saturday, the Holly Springs, N.C., native posted a career-high 33 points versus St. Bonaventure by hitting on 10-of-13 from the floor. Leslie also went 13-of-18 from the charity stripe, setting career-highs for free throws made and attempted. He also had eight rebounds, three blocks and two assists.
For the week, Leslie averaged 24.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. He shot .695 (16-23) from the field and .739 (17-23) from the free throw line.
Sharing The Wealth
The Pack has evenly shared the scoring load this season with five players averaging double figures.
The Pack is led by junior C.J. Leslie with an average of 15.0 points per contest. Freshman T.J. Warren is second on the team in scoring with an average of 13.5 ppg.
Senior Richard Howell is contributing 13.1 ppg, while junior Lorenzo Brown is averaging 12.4 ppg.
Senior Scott Wood is averaging 11.3 ppg, while freshman Rodney Purvis is close to double digits at 9.4 ppg.
NC State is one of two ACC schools with five players averaging in double figures. The other is Duke. Nationally, the Pack is one of seven teams with a quintet averaging double figures. Those schools include Detroit, Indiana, McNeese State and Oregon State.
Head Of The Freshman Class
T.J. Warren is the ACC's leading freshman scorer with an average of 13.5 points per game.
He owns the top two scoring games in the conference among freshmen this year with 22 against Penn State (tied with BC's Oliver Hanlon, who also had 22 versus Penn State) and 21 versus Massachusetts and Norfolk State.
A team-best four times, Warren has led the Pack in scoring with three of those performances coming in a reserve role.
The Freshman 20
In just 11 games this season, freshman forward T.J. Warren has already hit the 20-point mark on three occasions, becoming the Wolfpack's first freshman since J.J. Hickson in 2007-08 to score 20 or more points multiple times in a season.
Hickson scored at least 20 points on seven occasions in his only season with the Pack, including 33 in his first game.
C.J. Leslie had a season-high 21 in his first game with the Wolfpack in 2010-11 and Scott Wood surpassed 20 once with his 31-point performance against Florida State in his inaugural season.
Brandon Costner had nine 20-point performances as a redshirt freshman in 2006-07.
Brown Shines Versus Stanford
Junior Lorenzo Brown showed why he's one of the top guards in the country versus Stanford. In the nationally televised contest, Brown scored a game-high 24 points, which tied his career best. He set the benchmark in an 87-81 victory over Campbell on Dec. 29, 2011.
His field goals made (9) tied his career high established versus Elon on Nov. 25, 2011 in an 82-67 win. His field goals attempted (15) was a season high.
The Higher, The Better
In the Wolfpack's nine wins, it is averaging 84.2 points per game and shooting .552 (275- 498) from the field.
Three times NC State has topped the 90-point barrier, scoring a season-high 97 points in the opener versus Miami of Ohio, posting 94 against UMass in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and scoring 92 in its win over St. Bonaventure. In its Miami victory, the Pack shot a season best .614 (35-of-57) from the floor.
In its two losses, NC State is averaging 64.0 points per game and shooting .458 (54-of-118) from the field.
In nine of its 10 contests this season, the Wolfpack has shot .500 or better from the floor. NC State's .534 field goal percentage leads the nation.
The Pack has outscored its opposition, 464- 323, in the paint this season. That's 42.2 points per game for NC State coming off of shots around the rim, while its opponents are scoring 29.4 points a contest in the lane, giving the Pack a 12.8-point advantage.
That equates to .524 of the Wolfpack's scoring production coming from in the post, compared to .421 of the scoring output for its opponents' post players.
Freshman T.J. Warren and senior Richard Howell are one and two in the ACC statistics in field goal percentage.
Warren is connecting on .681 of his shots from the floor, which is third nationally. Howell's .644 field goal percentage which is the18th-best nationally.
The last Wolfpack freshman to lead the ACC in field goal percentage was J.J. Hickson, who shot .591 for the 2007-08 season. The duo are the only teammates that rank in the top 10 nationally in shooting percentage.
Lending A Helping Hand
Three times this season, junior Lorenzo Brown has recorded double digits in assists, versus Michigan, Massachusetts and St. Bonaventure.
Last Saturday, Brown had a season-high 11 assists versus the Bonnies.
All of last season, Brown had two performances with 10 or more assists, including a career-best 13 in the Pack's loss to Syracuse. Against the Orange, he also registered his first career double-double, adding 10 points.
Against UMass this year, Brown posted his second career double-double by scoring 11 points to go with his assist tally.
Brown, who leads the ACC in assists per game at 6.4, is the conference's active leader for double-digit assist games with three. Brown's assists per game are the most by a Wolfpack player since Chris Corchiani averaged 9.6 per game during the 1990-91 season.
Chairmen Of The Boards
Senior Richard Howell and junior C.J. Leslie are the only teammates on the ACC list of career double-digit rebound games.
Howell is second among active players with 29 10- plus rebound contests, while Leslie is fifth with 17.
Howell is also second in the league for career rebounds with 778 and Leslie is sixth with 548. Howell's rebounding total places him in 12th alltime in program history. He needs two more to surpass Kenny Carr (789) for 11th on the all-time list.
On The Break
One of the points of emphasis in NC State's offensive style is to score points in transition.
This season, the Pack has outscored its opponents, 209-75, on fastbreak points. Through 11 games, NC State is averaging 19.0 points per game on the fastbreak, compared to 6.8 points per contest for its competition.