Alex Conway & John Gwaltney Jr
UNC's basketball continued to extend their winning streak as
that number reached nine with their victory over the Wake Forest
Demon Deacons Saturday afternoon.
With the win, UNC pulled within a half game of passing Duke
in the ACC standings. These last four games will help determine
whether they can achieve the double-bye in the ACC tournament or
not. It will also help increase their seed in the NCAA
tournament once March rolls around.
But Roy Williams and the Tar Heel players can't look
too far ahead because they have another big rivalry game to take
care of in the middle of the week when they play N.C. State in
Raleigh on Wednesday.
The Heels previously defeated the Wolfpack and will walk into a
hostile crowd looking for a measure of revenge. If they can stay
focused and keep playing the way they've been playing they should
walk away victorious but they will have to contend with the ACC's
leading scorer T.J. Warren to get the win.
Let's take a look at some of the storylines heading to the game.
Helping The Rotation
For a little bit it looked as though Williams was shortening his
rotation and was only going to rely on a handful of players to carry
the entire team.
Then all of a sudden he started getting better contributions from
Desmond Hubert off the bench and has given back some
minutes to Nate Britt who spent the first part of the
season in the starting line-up but was replaced in favor of
The Wake Forest game was never really close which allowed four
guys to come off the bench and receive double-digit minutes. That
gave guys like Marcus Paige and James Michael McAdoo some much needed rest after the amount of minutes
they've logged all year long.
No one guy other than Brice Johnson has consistently
come off the bench and been given substantial minutes but at least
one other person, whether it's Hubert, Britt or Joel James
seems to eventually enter the game and energize the team, even in
Winning games is the obvious priority for a number of reasons in
these last four games. UNC wants to keep a spot in the top four of
the ACC standings so they can skip the first two days of the ACC
tournament. That cuts down on the number of games needed to win the
title and also cuts down on the number of minutes in back-to-back
days that Williams' players need to play before going into the
bigger tournament later in March.
Finding a second or third body that can consistently spell the
starters is a key priority over the last few weeks of the season.
ACC's leading scorer T.J. Warren has only scored below
double figures once all season long.
He's only scored below 20 points four times. Since being held out
against Maryland on January 20 he hasn't shot below 50 percent in
any of his games.
Williams says that UNC will have to have one of their better
defensive games of the season if they want to contain Warren and
looking at those numbers above, that might be an understatement.
Warren scored 21 against the Tar Heels on February 1 and that was
a tame performance when looking at the 27, 34, 23, 20 and 30 point
outings he's had in the five games since. The assignment to shutdown
Warren will likely fall on J.P. Tokoto's shoulders.
Tokoto fouled out of the first meeting with N.C. State and fans
should hope he's learned his lesson this time around. The assignment
only gets harder when Warren is playing at home.
Something to pay attention to is whether or not Williams will
break out the 1-3-1 zone to try and keep Warren out of the paint. It
worked well against Duke, a much better shooting team, and could
give N.C. State problems if they can't break down the Heels defense
and get in the paint.
Playing In Raleigh
N.C. State has played only one home game in the month of
February. That game was an 82-67 drubbing of Wake Forest on February
11, a full 15 days prior to the game Wednesday night against UNC.
It's a safe bet that the fans in Raleigh will be rearing to go
and UNC will likely face an atmosphere that rivals the one they had
in store for Duke on Thursday night in Chapel Hill. If they don't
come prepared to play, if Warren gets going early and the crowd
stays into it, UNC could get run off the court.
But focus has been a problem that seems to have gotten addressed
and corrected over the course of the current winning streak.
Regardless, the environment in which they'll have to play should be
a fun one and will be a nice way to break up the workweek for both
team's fan bases.
vs. #19/21 North Carolina
Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 Time: 8:00 PM EST Venue:PNC Arena (19,700) TV:ACC Network Radio:Tar Heel Sports
Network & SiriusXM (Sirius
135/XM 193) Series:
UNC leads the all-time series with N.C. State, 149-76. Last Meeting: North Carolina beat N.C. State, 84-70, on
February 1, in Chapel Hill.
N.C. State at a glance Location:
Raleigh, N.C. Nickname:
Red & White Conference:
PNC Arena (19,700) 2012-2013 Record:
24-11 (11-7) Last Game:
N.C. State beat Virginia Tech, 71-64, in Blacksburg on Saturday. More on the Wolfpack: Schedule
| Stats |
Roster Official Site |
Last starting line-up
C - Jordan Vandenberg F - T.J. Warren F - Kyle Washington
G - Tyler Lewis G - Ralston Tunrner
Statistical Leaders Scoring: T.J.
PPG) Ralston Tunrner (10.2PPG)
Rebounding: T.J. Warren (7.1
RPG) Lennard Freeman (5.6 RPG)
Assists: Anthony Barber (3.7
APG) Tyler Lewis (3.5 APG)
Points Per Game: 70.4 Rebounds Per Game: 35.1 Assist Per Game: 12.6 Field Goal Percentage: .456 3-pt Field Goal Percentage: .294
North Carolina at a glance Last starting line-up
(against Wake Forest)
F - James Michael McAdoo F - J.P. Tokoto F - Kennedy Meeks
G - Leslie McDonald G - Marcus Paige
Statistical Leaders Scoring: Marcus Paige (16.9 PPG)
James Michael McAdoo (14.4 PPG)
Rebounding: James Michael
McAdoo (6.9 RPG)
Brice Johnson (6.4 RPG)
(4.6 APG) J.P. Tokoto (2.9 APG)
Points Per Game:
77.0 Rebounds Per Game: 40.9 Assist Per Game: 15.9 Field Goal Percentage: .463 3-pt Field Goal Percentage: .336