NC State takes on Wake Forest from Winston-Salem on Saturday afternoon. Last season, these teams split the season series with Wake winning at home, 71-65 and the Wolfpack winning at home, 94-74.
Nice start for WolfpackNC State opened the season with an 82-81 loss to Georgetown in overtime on Nov. 5. They needed to amp up their schedule after their non-conference slate was rated as the No. 353 last season. That cost them a trip to the NCAA Tournament. This year, they still have some weak teams but facing Georgetown (loss), Memphis (83-78 loss) and Wisconsin (69-54 win) should help if they are on the bubble again.
Since losing to the Hoyas by one, NC State has won six of seven games. They did beat the Badgers on Wednesday night by 15 in the ACC-Big 10 challenge. The Wolfpack held Wisconsin to just 38% shooting (5-23 3pt) and won despite getting outrebounded by 11. NC State was led by sophomore Jericole Hellems, who had 23 points. The Pack shot 48% from the field, 8-of-20 from beyond the arc and turned the ball over just five times.
On the season, the Wolfpack are averaging 81.8 points on 46.7% shooting. They are allowing 68.4 points on 43.1% shooting (33.1% 3pt). They are getting outrebounded by 0.7 per game and forcing 16.4 turnovers per game. That should give them the edge against a team that is committing 14.3 per game.
Wake Forest struggles in ACC/Big 10 challengeWake Forest would normally not fare well if they played Penn State in football. But Danny Manning's squad wasn't even competitive in a basketball game between the two on Dec. 4, when the Demon Deacs lost in Happy Valley, 76-54. Wake also lost their ACC opener to Boston College on the road (77-70), fell to Charlotte in overtime by two. They also lost to Arizona on Dec. 1, 73-66 from Anaheim in the Wooden Legacy. The Deacs fared pretty well in the tournament, beating Long Beach State (88-75) and College of Charleston (65-56).
Wake was just dominated by Penn State in their last outing, turning the ball over 19 times and shooting just 29% from the floor. Center Olivier Sarr led the Deacs with 14 points and now averages 13.2 points and d9.6 rebounds. Star guard Brandon Childress, coming off a poor shooting game against Arizona, struggled again, going 0-for-7 from the field and finishing with just one point. The 6-0 senior and son of assistant coach and Wake Hall of Famer Randolph Childress, still leads the team with 15.1 points per game and 4.9 assists but is shooting just 37.8% from the field and 26.1% from beyond the arc.
On the season, Wake Forest averages 72.6 points per game on 41.1% shooting (33.6% 3pt), but they allow 70.7 points on 42.8% shooting (30.3% 3pt). They are normally good on the boards, outrebounding teams by 6.3 per game.