Day & Time: Tuesday, February 9, 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
Line: NC State -1
TV/Streaming: ACC Network, WatchESPN
NC State Blog: Backing the Pack
Rivalry: 8-6, Syracuse
Current Streak: 1, Syracuse
First Meeting: December 4, 1990 featured the first matchup between Syracuse and NC State at the Carrier Dome. The Orange won 86-79 off 24 points and 17 rebounds from junior Dave Johnson.
Last Meeting: Syracuse trailed by as much as 11 points to NC State on January 31 earlier this year, but more efficient shooting in the paint allowed the Orange to retake the lead and the eventual victory over the Wolfpack. Everyone remembers this game as the day that Kadary Richmond made himself indispensable to this season’s Syracuse team. His 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting and his defensive influence allowed the Orange to barely escape with a 76-73 win.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Jim Boeheim (45th year, 1,075-405) | NC State - Kevin Keatts (12th year, 288-100)
Coach Bio: Keatts played his collegiate ball at D-III Ferrum College before starting his coaching career as an assistant at Southwestern Michigan for a season. He then moved to Hargrave Military Academy to take an assistant job for two seasons before being promoted to head coach. Keatts stayed for two seasons before taking an assistant job at Marshall. After two years, he returned to the head coaching role at Hargrave for an additional eight seasons.
Keatts then moved to Louisville as an assistant in 2011, where he stayed for three years and was part of the now-vacated 2013 Cardinals national championship team. Keatts then took his first D-1 head coaching job at UNC Wilmington, where he qualified for the NCAA tournament in two out of his three seasons with the Seahawks. Keatts took the NC State job in 2017 and made the NCAA tournament with the Wolfpack in his first season. NC State has won at least 20 games every season under Keatts.
Last Year: NC State won only one game versus a ranked opponent in 2019-20, but that win was a blowout victory over No. 6 Duke 88-66. The Blue Devils would get revenge later in the season as the Wolfpack finished 10-10 in conference play, good enough for the five-seed in the ACC tournament. NC State beat Pittsburgh in its first matchup of the tournament, but would be denied a rubber game against Duke in the following round due to the event’s cancellation.
Last Game: After losing two straight games, the best remedy that the doctor can order this year in the ACC is a game against Boston College. NC State got that prescription and shot 51.6% from the floor in a demolition of the Eagles 81-65 on February 6. Shakeel Moore led all Wolfpack scorers with 19 points off the bench.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Syracuse didn’t remember how good Jericole Hellems was in the high post. As such, the forward set a new career high with 24 points against the Orange during the January 31 game and tore apart the zone defense. Nine rebounds and four assists added to Hellems’ all-around performance.
If Syracuse Wins: At least the Orange avoid a bad loss that keeps them outside of the tournament looking in.
If Syracuse Loses: We actually start to wonder if the NIT will be played at all.
Fun Fact: Syracuse’s win on January 31 against the Wolfpack was the first for the Orange against a Keatts-led Wolfpack.