Colleges

UNC, NC State set for pivotal ACC contest

Posted February 22, 2013
Updated February 23, 2013

— North Carolina and NC State have identical records in ACC play, and are battling to stay above the all-important No. 4 seed line meaning they get Thursday off when it comes conference tournament time.

It’s been nearly a month since NC State (19-7, 8-5 ACC) beat UNC in Raleigh and the Wolfpack are expecting to see a different Tar Heels team Saturday in Chapel Hill. North Carolina at N.C. State Inside the Rivalry: NCSU vs. UNC Basketball

“We are playing against a team that is playing really well right now,” Gottfried said. “I think they have improved a lot and got better since the first time we played.”

A lot of the UNC improvement has come from the emergence of PJ Hairston. The sophomore played just 17 minutes in the first meeting and is now averaging close to 30 minutes per game.

“I think that him in the lineup makes them much more confident,” NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said.

UNC hosts NC State in critical meeting UNC hosts NC State in critical meeting

“They have a lot of shooters out there that are shooting well right now. We have to try and make them uncomfortable and eliminate some things that they like to do,” senior Scott Wood said.

NC State is also gaining some confidence with senior guard Lorenzo Brown close to 100 percent. The Wolfpack are looking to make some noise in the final weeks of the season.

“Where we are sitting in the ACC standings, we would like to get a couple more wins here in a row,” Wood said. “It would be big and we just need to come out and play well.”

Gottfried took a few minutes Thursday to remind the Wolfpack players about the history of the rivalry, reminding them that they have not swept the Tar Heels since 2002-03. North Carolina at N.C. State NCSU v. UNC basketball stats

In Chapel Hill, the buzz word continues to be “smaller” as head coach Roy Williams said Friday that he will continue to play a smaller lineup against NC State. That means Hairston will draw the assignment of guarding Calvin Leslie Saturday.

“Staying in front of him,” Hairston said as being the key to guard the 6-foot-9 junior. “With me being smaller than him height-wise, I feel like I can stay up under him and force him to do some things he doesn’t want to do.”

“I’m comfortable with it, I really am,” Williams said of lining up a smaller team against NC State. “I would like to get the basketball inside and score inside more and have a better balance, but the fact of the matter is we don’t have that kind of player right now.”

Regardless of the lineup the Tar Heels put on the floor, this is one game Williams knows is important. Despite similar records, the overall resume favors NC State with just a couple weeks left in the regular season.

“I think once you get to the final five or six games of the season, you’d better be focusing on that game,” Williams said.

34 Comments

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  • StunGunn Feb 23, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Don't forget how he played and coached, invented the internet, yadda, yadda.

    I can't believe my eyes. Wake is beating the you-know-what out of Miami.

  • RD n NC Feb 23, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Hope he`s here for the game, i can wait to hear for the 1,000 time how
    he gave monies to UNC

  • StunGunn Feb 23, 2013

    View quoted thread



    I think the Gobbler drinks stronger stuff than tea. He really got wasted last night, so he'll be sleeping it off for quite a while, I suspect. But, I better be careful. He reads these posts. And he "fires down" on us. lol

  • BeastOfTheHill Feb 23, 2013

    I'm not sure Joel will play but we could use him down low to take up space and contest shots. He also can spend 5 fouls when needed. He'll prolly give us a couple of turnover's though.

    Here we go Tar Heels here we go!

  • RD n NC Feb 23, 2013

    View quoted thread



    you want an invite for tea? lol

  • jandscroom Feb 23, 2013

    STATE...NUF SAID!!!

  • Dreamchaser Feb 23, 2013

    I thought the gobbler was going to come back on this morning. He must still be sleeping it off.

  • RAA0013 Feb 23, 2013

    Forget the stats and smack talk as it doesn't matter. Bring it on the court! GO PACK!!!!

  • wjuliang Feb 23, 2013

    Won't even be close! :) Go Heels.

    Funny how Pack fans say how horrible the Heels are this year, but yet State's win in Raleigh is one of their biggest wins this year. Just say'n.

  • RD n NC Feb 23, 2013

    View quoted thread



    lol, when you mentioned them earlier i found their site :)

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