Where: RBC Center, Raleigh, NC
When: February 3rd, 3:30 PM
Records: UNC 20-2, 6-1 ACC; NC State 12-8, 2-5 ACC
There is nothing easy about a rivalry game.
As much as UNC is superior to NC State in every facet on paper, I will honestly confess I will feel much better when this one is over. This is the textbook definiton of a trap game. UNC is coming off a big win and playing well, playing a inferior opponent with the biggest game of the year to this point looming on Wednesday night. Add to this that this rates as the biggest game of the year so far for NC State. So this game carries to possibility of being a tough matchup for the Heels. NC State has five good players and regardless of what may happen, the fact that UNC usually, with 10 minutes left in the game, creates separation because the other team is too tired to keep up may end up being the place where this game is decided.
In this game I would look to see how UNC defends the Pack big men who can move away from the basket. Guard play is huge here if Engin Atsur is healthy for NC State and can effectively guard Lawson and Thomas at the point. It is imperative that UNC either control the game early or at the very least never let NC State feel like they can play at the same level. Such things inspire confidence and bring the crowd into the game.
Then again, NC State could lay an egg like they did against Duke and UNC wins by 30. Anything could happen in a rivalry game and do not discount the idea that UNC could come as fired up as State about this one.
UNC 88 NC State 70