Teams: Syracuse Orange (17-8, 6-6) vs. NC State Wolfpack (16-9, 6-6)
Day & Time: Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 9 p.m. ET
Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
TV/Streaming: ACC Network (check your local affiliate)/AC Network Extra
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
NC State blog: Backing the Pack
Rivalry: 7-3, Syracuse
Current Streak: 2, Orange
First Meeting: NC State made the mistake of visiting Syracuse in December of 1990, and was handed a loss — the first of two straight from them to start this series. Dave Johnson controlled the proceedings with 24 points and 17 boards. Fitting for that season’s regular season Big East champs.
Last Meeting: Andrew White III and John Gillon proved all of you anti-grad transfer folks wrong last year. White put up 28, while Gillon had a stunning 43 points on 9-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc. It also included one of several clutch shots in a string of them for Gillon, a three with one second left to send it to overtime. Syracuse would win, 100-93. It was wild. And terrifying.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (42nd year, 1,021-365); NC State: Kevin Keatts (1st year, 16-9)
Coach Bio: Keatts played for D3 Ferrum College from 1991-95, then jumped right into coaching as an assistant at Southwestern Michigan. A few years as an assistant led to him earning the full-time gig at Hargrave Military Academy, then two years later he earned an assistant position at Marshall. Things didn’t work out and he was back at Hargrave until 2011, when Rick Pitino hired him at Louisville. Just three years with the Cards got him the head job at UNC-Wilmington, where he won two CAA titles and made the NCAAs twice. NC State hired him to replace the “meh” Mark Gottfried this offseason.
Last Year: State was trash, going 15-17 and 4-14 in the ACC, despite having Dennis Smith Jr. on the roster. The Pack started well against an easy non-conference schedule, then the bottom fell out in league play. Despite winning just four conference games, two of those were against ranked teams Duke and Virginia Tech. That was finally enough to get them to bid Gottfried adieu.
Last Game: NC State couldn’t carry over some strong Snapchat trolling into a second win against UNC, falling 96-89 a few days ago. The Wolfpack actually had a lead at the half, then both teams decided to stop playing anything resembling defense. Both teams shot better than 54 percent from the floor, and five different State players hit double figures. What stopped the Pack was a steep rebounding deficit (17), and five fewer made shots. That’s really it. They’re pretty good, to be honest.
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Unlike some recent vintages of NC State, this year’s version has a much more balanced offensive attack. Three players -- Allerik Freeman, Omer Yurtseven and Torin Dorn -- score between 13 and 14 points per game. Yurtseven and Dorn present the largest challenge for Syracuse this week, given how slim the roster looks on the interior. Those two combine for 12.9 rebounds per game and could potentially create some foul trouble.
Jack Ferguson Memorial Random Three-Point Performance: It’s definitely Sam Hunt, who fits the bill perfectly for your typical out-of-nowhere shooting day vs. SU. He plays just 15 minutes per game, but has hit 32-of-93 threes on the year. His high water mark is a 7-of-11 effort vs. Jacksonville, so yeah, that’s unsettling.
If Syracuse Wins: The Orange pick up another quality win against a tier-two opponent and get this much closer to an NCAA Tournament bid. Oddly, a win would also get Syracuse get very close to a double-bye conversation for the ACC Tourney somehow? I don’t know. This season’s weird.
If Syracuse Loses: Not earth-shattering, but probably not the most helpful thing to fall to fellow bubble team at home. It would become essential to pick up a major (tier one) upset either in the regular season or in the ACC Tournament.
Fun Fact No. 1: Yurtseven picked between the Orange and Wolfpack back in 2016, picking NCSU two weeks after visiting Syracuse. He ended up being suspended for a bit last year after being paid while playing in Turkey. So probably for the best he didn’t end up at SU, since we couldn’t have really afforded any extra NCAA attention.
Fun Fact No. 2: State has a strong basketball tradition, but also hasn’t made it past the Sweet 16 since 1986. The program’s last Final Four trip was in 1983. Syracuse has made it to five Final Fours (and three title games) since then.