North Carolina (13-7, 3-4) vs. N.C. State (14-7, 4-4)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Smith Center
Saturday, 1 p.m.
ESPN2 (Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke)
“He’s a scorer. He can drive it to the basket, he can pull up, he can shoot from three, he gets fouls and he goes to the free throw line and makes his free throws. He can score in traffic. We recruited him very hard; there was a reason.” - UNC head coach Roy Williams on N.C. State forward T.J. Warren
“I always have appreciated the rivalry. I’ve enjoyed it. I think it is a big rivalry – it probably means more to me than the typical North Carolina fan.” – Williams
Season to Date: N.C. State enters Saturday’s contest with a 14-7 (4-4 ACC) record. After early-season losses to Cincinnati and N.C. Central, Mark Gottfried’s squad reeled seven straight wins before losing five of its next seven. The Wolfpack started 1-4 in ACC play with double-digit losses to Pittsburgh, Virginia and Duke to go along with a 77-70 win at Notre Dame and a 70-69 defeat at Wake Forest. Since then, however, N.C. State has won three straight league home games (Maryland, Georgia Tech and Florida State).
Sophomore Load: Forward T.J. Warren leads the ACC in scoring with a 22.5-points-per-game average to go along with a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game. The Durham, N.C. native ranks sixth nationally in scoring and has reached double figures in 22 of his last 24 contests. Warren scored 30 points against Florida State on Wednesday, marking the fourth time this season he’s topped the 30-point plateau.
Ball Control: In ACC play, N.C. State is committing 12.4 turnovers per game, which is good for 14th and trails only Florida State’s 13.3 mark. As a result, the Wolfpack is T-12th in turnover margin (-1.38) and 13th in assist-turnover ratio (0.9) in league games.
Barber Working: Freshman point guard Anthony “Cat” Barber has slid into Lorenzo Brown’s role of directing Gottfried’s offense with a typical amount of rookie ups and downs. The speedy 6-foot-2, 170-pounder leads the team in assists (4.2 apg) and is second in scoring (10.8 ppg). Barber is currently fourth among ACC rookies in scoring and third in assists.
Rebounding Woes: Warren is the lone member of the Wolfpack averaging more than six rebounds per game and is one of only three pulling down more than four per outing. As a result, N.C. State ranks 14th in the ACC in rebounding margin (plus-0.2) and 289th in opponents’ offensive rebounding percentage (34.7), according to kenpom.com.
Ample Charity: N.C. State has allowed its opposition to do plenty of damage at the free throw line this season. Opponents are shooting 74.7 percent from the charity stripe, good for 336th nationally. All kidding aside, the Wolfpack is 6-7 when shooting fewer free throw attempts than its opponents. UNC has struggled from the free throw line (61.8 percent), but is 10-2 when attempting more free throws than its opponent.
Multiples of Three: The Wolfpack is scoring 64.1 percent of its points from inside the arc, which is highest in the nation. A lack of outside shooting has forced N.C. State inside as it occupies the cellar in the ACC standings with a 29.2 shooting percentage from 3-point range. The Wolfpack – along with UNC – don’t appear in the NCAA’s official rankings due qualification – teams must average five made 3-pointers per game to make the list. N.C. State has been even less effective in conference play (27.5) from deep.
Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the Wolfpack, 76-65, at the Smith Center on Feb. 23. Reggie Bullock led UNC with 22 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, while Marcus Paige added 14 points and dished out eight assists. UNC used a 18-2 run in the second half to secure its 14th win in 15 tries against N.C. State.
Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with N.C. State, 148-76. The Tar Heels have won 20 of the last 22 meetings, including 10 straight at home under Roy Williams.
2 Anthony Barber (6-2, 170, Fr.) - 11.1 ppg, 4.2 apg
22 Ralston Turner (6-5, 205, Jr.) - 9.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg
24 T.J. Warren (6-8, 215, So.) - 22.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg
32 Kyle Washington (6-9, 225, Fr.) - 4.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg
14 Jordan Vandenberg (7-1, 245, Sr.) - 5.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg
5 Desmond Lee (6-4, 200, Jr.) - 10.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg
10 Lennard Freeman (6-8, 245, Fr.) - 4.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg
12 Tyler Lewis (5-11, 170, So.) - 3.9 ppg, 2.9 apg
Roster & Bios
(Photos by USA Today Sports)