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#5 UNC at NC State

Where: RBC Center, Raleigh, NC
When: Saturday, January 31st, 3:30 PM
TV: ABC...yeah freaking 3:30
Liveblogging: No
Records: UNC 18-2, 4-2 ACC; NCSU 11-7, 2-4 ACC

"I'd rather beat State than eat"

-Roy Williams

Despite how badly NC State has played at points this season they also have shown up for the most part against some very good teams Marquette and Duke being two of them.  This is also a rivarly game and the Heels are coming off an emotionally draining win at FSU.  It would behoove them to approach this game with a fair amount of intensity.  This will be one of those games NC State fans actually decide to fill all of the seats in the RBC Center making it a loud and tough environment.

On the basketball side it is a simple matter of Ty Lawson playing Farnold Degand in such a way Degand gives serious thought to quitting.  There is no reason given the way Degand has played and the way Lawson is capable of playing defense the Wolfpack should be able to get any semblance of an offense going if proper pressure is applied.  In fact I am not overly concerned about the defense save looking out for someone channeling Rodney Monroe.  The issue, in my mind, will be shooting the ball.  Tyler Hansbrough needs to get on track regardless of how the game is called.  Same is true for Deon Thompson and having Wayne Ellington crank it up again is crucial to keeping the offense running smooth.  UNC need to execute well on offense.  That is one of the more important aspects of any road game since it takes the crowd out of it pretty quickly.

Let me also say that aside from this being a must win in terms of the ACC regular season, this also a must win in terms of my sanity.  Wolfpack fans have been riding high on two straight wins in football and the footprint from 41-10 was still evident on some Tar Heel players' uniforms during the Car Bowl.  The time has come for a little return in kind on the basketball court.  I would very much like to see a repeat of the game in Chapel Hill from last season.  That is unlikely but given my kids are likely to wake up from their naps around 4:30 or so I would appreciate if the game was over for all intents and purposes then.

UNC 95 NCSU 70