(23) NC State (11-2) at Boston College (8-5)
Saturday, January 5, 4 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Conte Forum (8,606) -- Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Television: ESPN 2. Home Record: NC State 8-0, Boston College 7-2. Away Record: NC State 0-1, Boston College 1-1. Neutral Record: NC State 3-1, Boston College 0-2. Conference Record: NC State 0-0, Boston College 0-0. Series Record: Boston College leads, 8-6.
GAME NOTES: The Boston College Eagles will look to pull off an upset as they host the No. 23 NC State Wolfpack at Conte Forum in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both schools.
The Wolfpack are riding a seven-game winning streak into ACC action after their 89-68 win over UNC Greensboro on Dec. 31. They took down some tough competition during December including Connecticut, Stanford, and St. Bonaventure on their way to an 11-2 record. Coach Mark Gottfried's squad was predicted by many to win the ACC before the season began, but it lost some supporters during the early season as Duke rose in the rankings. The Wolfpack, who are averaging 81.5 ppg on a nation-leading 53.5 percent shooting from the floor, are entering Conte Forum with a chip on their shoulders.
Boston College picked up its fifth win in a row on New Year's Eve by completing a 79-58 rout of Dartmouth. The Eagles have recovered from their 1-3 start to finish their non-conference slate at 8-5. Coach Steve Donahue's team is averaging 68.4 points and 34.8 rebounds per contest, while its opposition is netting 66.6 points and 32.2 boards per game.
This will be the 15th meeting in history between these schools. Boston College holds an 8-6 all-time series lead, but NC State handled the Eagles on March 8, 2012 in their last encounter.
NC State's offense is lighting up the scoreboard this season with junior guard Lorenzo Brown running the show. Brown leads the ACC with 6.3 assists per game and is also a threat to fill it up himself with 12.4 ppg. C.J. Leslie is seeking his 10th consecutive double-digit scoring outing. Leslie has been on fire lately with 24.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game over his last three outings. The Wolfpack have three more all-conference caliber players in T.J. Warren (13.5 ppg), Richard Howell (13.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg), and Scott Wood (11.5 ppg, 33-of-76 3PT).
The Eagles played better than usual on the offensive end their last time out, hitting on 48.2 percent of their field goal attempts and assisting 15 of their makes versus Dartmouth. After going a perfect 6-of-6 from 3-point range, freshman guard Joe Rahon scored 24 points as all five starters scored in double-figures. Olivier Hanlan scored 15 points, Ryan Anderson netted 12 points, and they both pulled down seven rebounds. Anderson is having a solid sophomore season as he paces Boston College in scoring (15.9) and rebounding (9.5). Hanlan (13-1 ppg, 4.4 rpg) is the second option on the offensive end. Rahon may be destined for the ACC All-Freshmen Team as he is scoring 11.3 points and dealing out 4.2 assists per game.
NC State is one of the most complete teams in the country this season in terms of talent and it will become a national championship contender if it manages to peak at the right time. Although Boston College is much better this season due to the maturation of Anderson, it will be unable to compete with the Wolfpack inside which will lead to too many easy baskets for the visitors.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 81, Boston College 69
01/05 10:36:53 ET