Teams: Syracuse Orange (13-9, 5-4) vs. NC State Wolfpack (14-8, 3-6)
Day & Time: Wednesday, February, 7 p.m. ET
Venue: PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
Line: N/A just yet
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
NC State Blog: Backing the Pack
Rivalry: 6-3, Syracuse
Current Streak: 1, Orange
First Meeting: Dave Johnson had a monster game against NC State at home at the Dome, scoring 24 points and snagging 17 boards as well. The Orangemen won 86-79, and the Wolfpack ended up being another victim en route to a 26-6 record that year.
Last Meeting: In a must-win game, Syracuse escaped with a nine-point win, 75-66 over NC State. Michael Gbinije had one of his best games as a member of the Orange, putting up 34 points in his home finale.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (41st Year, 998-351); NC State: Mark Gottfried (6th Year, 122-76)
Head Coach Bio: Gottfriend played at Oral Roberts and Alabama, then transitioned immediately to assistant coaching. After eight years at UCLA, he took over at Murray State, where he went 69-23 with two NCAA Tournament bids. The Crimson Tide beckoned him back after three years, and he coached at Alabama from 1998 through 2009.
While Gottfried had a successful middle stretch of five years (five straight NCAA Tournament appearances and even an Elite 8 trip), those were surrounded by less impressive years. He resigned midway through the 2009 season, taking a couple years off before getting the NC State gig.
As you may know, Gottfried has done an alright job with the Wolfpack, making four straight NCAA Tournament trips when he arrived, with two of those culminating in the Sweet 16. The last two years haven’t been as great.
As you definitely know, the NC State coach started popping off at Jim Boeheim before the former ever coached at game in the ACC. Gottfried wanted to defend the honor of Greensboro vs. the bright lights of New York City. The ACC Tournament’s in Brooklyn this year, so I guess Mark really taught Jim a lesson on that one.
Last Year: State went a lackluster 16-17, and 5-13 in the ACC. It was the Wolfpack’s first season missing the NCAAs under Gottfried, though it felt like it been the latest in a long line of mediocre seasons. Not sure why.
Last Game: Louisville beat NC State by 25. The Wolfpack shot poorly all game and were run off the floor in short order.
"Fear Me, I've Killed Hundreds of Timelords": Definitely Dennis Smith Jr., who leads the Pack with 19 points and 6.5 assists per game. The freshman has been an impressive guiding force for NC State, scoring 20 points or more 10 separate times (and 30 or more three times). His signature moment is a basket that didn’t count, but still, he had a fantastic game vs. Duke so he has every right to celebrate.
No one’s necessarily hit the volume of threes to qualify as a candidate for a random breakout game. But if we had to choose someone, it may be Maverick Rowan. He’s 33-of-81 from outside (40.7 percent), which seems to fit the typical profile of an out-of-nowhere performance against the zone.
If Syracuse Wins: We win another game and inch closer and closer to an actual, tangible conversation about NCAA Tournament odds.
If Syracuse Loses: Well, that’s the most consecutive road losses in the Boeheim era. It also sets back the Orange’s already long, long odds to make the postseason.
Fun Fact No. 1: Gottfried has faced Boeheim twice in the postseason, and is actually 2-0 in those meetings. The first was a 2004 Sweet 16 game, which Alabama won 80-71. The second, as you may recall, was a disaster of an ACC Tournament game which NC State won 66-63 in 2014.
Fun Fact No. 2: PNC Arena also hosts the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes in the saddest display of fan support I’ve ever witnessed (including Syracuse football from 2006-08). After last year’s SU-NCSU football game, I stuck around to watch the Los Angeles Kings face the ‘Canes (paid like $15 for third level seats), and I could hear conversations happening on the first level.