FACTS & STATS: Site: PNC Arena (18,639) -- Raleigh, North Carolina.
Television: CBS. Home Record: Miami 9-0, NC State 12-0. Away Record: Miami
7-1, NC State 1-4. Neutral Record: Miami 0-2, NC State 3-1. Conference Record:
Miami 7-0, NC State 5-3. Series Record: NC State leads, 9-4.
GAME NOTES: A top-25 showdown is on tap at PNC Arena on Saturday afternoon, as
the 19th-ranked NC State Wolfpack play host to the 14th-ranked Miami
Hurricanes in a key Atlantic Coast Conference showdown.
Jim Larranaga's Hurricanes are one of the real surprises not only in the ACC,
but on the national level, as they are sporting a stellar 16-3 overall record.
Things have only gotten better in ACC play, with Miami sitting atop the
conference standings with a flawless 7-0 mark. Miami is the first ACC school
with the exception of Duke and North Carolina to start the league slate out
7-0. Miami is 9-0 at home, but has taken care of business on the road as well
at 7-1, including a 73-64 victory at Virginia Tech last time out.
Mark Gottfried's Wolfpack were considered by many to be the best team in the
conference coming into the season. The Wolfpack have certainly shown flashes
of that, with a 16-5 overall record. League play has been a little more
testing, with NC State coming in at 5-3. All three of the team's league losses
have come on the road, including a 58-55 setback at Virginia this week. The
Wolfpack however, are a perfect 12-0 in Raleigh.
NC State holds a 9-4 edge in the all-time series with Miami and has won all
six matchups in Raleigh.
The Hurricanes struggled to contain the nation's leading scorer, as Virginia
Tech's Erick Green erupted for 30 points, but Miami held the rest of the
Hokies in check and earned yet another road win in Blacksburg. Shane Larkin
almost matched Green's output with a team-high 25 points for Miami, while
Kenny Kadji and Trey McKinney Jones finished with 18 and 12 points,
It isn't explosive scoring that fuels the Miami attack, but rather stingy
defense. The Hurricanes are among the nation's best in terms of scoring
defense (58.4 ppg) and field-goal percentage defense (.371). Despite modest
offensive numbers overall, there is balance at that end of the floor, with
four of the five starters averaging double figures. Durand Scott leads the
team with 13.8 ppg. He is followed by Kadji (13.3 ppg), Larkin (12.9 ppg), and
McKinney Jones (10.2 ppg). The team was without the services of center Reggie
Johnson for a while due to injury, but his return to the floor can only
bolster Miami's play, as 6-foot-10 senior is averaging a near double-double
(9.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg).
The Miami defense will be put to the test in Raleigh, as NC State boasts of
one of the nation's most explosive attacks. The Wolfpack are averaging 78.6
ppg on an impressive .503 shooting, including .400 from 3-point range. The
scoring pool is deep, with five players averaging double figures, led by C.J.
Leslie's 15.6 ppg. Leslie's play in the frontcourt is bolstered by Richard
Howell (12.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg), T.J. Warren (12.1 ppg) and Scott Wood (11.6 ppg,
54 3-pointers). All-American candidate Lorenzo Brown (12.7 ppg, 6.9 apg)
handles the point and is joined in the backcourt by solid freshman Rodney
Purvis (9.6 ppg).
As offensively talented as NC State is, the Wolfpack, like many other teams,
struggled to find their rhythm against the Cavaliers last time out. NC State
blew a seven-point halftime lead by shooting just .348 from the floor in the
second half, while allowing Virginia to score 14 points off 14 turnovers. The
loss spoiled strong outings by both Leslie and Howell, who notched double-
doubles. Leslie finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Howell checked
in with 12 points and 11 boards.
Running the table in the ACC is next to impossible and with this being the
second straight road game for Miami, NC State has a real opportunity to
tighten up the race heading down the stretch.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 67, Miami-Florida 62
Wolfpack lose to UCLA in CWS Nick Vander Tuig and David Berg combined to limit NC State to five hits, and the Wolfpack lost 2-1 on Tuesday night to move within a game of elimination in their first College World Series appearance since 1968.
Tar Heels stay alive with win over LSU Brian Holberton staked freshman starter Trent Thornton to a two-run lead before he even took the mound Tuesday, and No. 1 national seed Carolina went on to beat LSU 4-2 in an elimination game.
Fox: You could feel it in our dugout UNC head coach Mike Fox said that between Trent Thornton's start and Brian Holberton's home run, the energy in the Tar Heels dugout was high all game in a win over LSU at the College World Series.
Thornton: You want to play teams like that UNC winning pitcher Tuesday Trent Thornton said that getting the start in the College World Series was a dream come true and as a competitor, he wants to throw against the best teams possible.
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