NC State-Wake Forest Preview
The No. 18 Wolfpack will have to battle fatigue from a quick turnaround to maintain that run when they visit the Demon Deacons on Tuesday night.
North Carolina State (15-3, 4-1 ACC) has won the last five meetings by an average of 21.4 points. The Wolfpack have taken the last two games at Wake Forest (9-8, 2-3) by a total of 61 points, with last season's 76-40 rout nearly surpassing a 112-72 victory over Clemson in 1954 as their most lopsided ACC road win in school history.
Coach Mark Gottfried is concerned ahead of this trip after his team won 66-62 over Clemson on Sunday night behind reserve T.J. Warren's 21 points. Now the Wolfpack must regroup just 48 hours later.
"We've got to get our legs back underneath us," Gottfried said. "Get ready to go on the road and play a very good Wake Forest team who is a lot better than I think they were a year ago."
The Demon Deacons, who have won both ACC home games, will be the more rested squad. They seek to bounce back from Saturday's 66-65 defeat at Virginia Tech, as they fell despite two go-ahead 3-pointers by Travis McKie in the final 1:54.
"Every time you wake up in the morning and look at the scores in college basketball, there are teams that suffer one- or two-point losses," coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "It's how those teams respond that ultimately determines their destiny. So these are things we talk about."
McKie posted his second straight double-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds, but C.J. Harris continued his woes by scoring 10 on 3-of-14 shooting. Harris, who averages 14.9 points, has 18 points on 5-of-21 shooting in consecutive losses for Wake Forest.
Harris, a senior guard, is averaging 8.7 points on 28.6 percent shooting in three previous home games against the Wolfpack.
A key battle to watch inside is between N.C. State's Richard Howell, second in the ACC with an average of 10.6 rebounds, and Wake Forest's Devin Thomas, who tops all conference freshmen with 6.9 per game.
"Devin Thomas is a terrific young player," Bzdelik said. "He's probably a young Richard Howell to be honest with you. So it's a great experience for Devin to learn from one of the best rebounders in the ACC, if not the best rebounder in the ACC."
The Wolfpack are shooting 51.1 percent to remain among the nation's best, but two of their worst performances came last week. They shot 31.1 percent in Wednesday's 51-50 defeat at Maryland before finishing at 45.1 percent against the Tigers.
"We are kind of in an offensive funk right now where we are missing some shots that we normally make around the basket," Gottfried said.
The coach would like to get C.J. Leslie more involved. Leslie, averaging a team-high 15.4 points, totaled 19 last week.
ACC assist leader Lorenzo Brown, a junior, has the edge in experience at point guard over Wake Forest counterpart Codi Miller-McIntyre - a freshman who was offered a scholarship by the Wolfpack.