Miami looks to keep their season alive Vs NC State.
And everyone knows what the Pack are about: T.J. Warren left, T.J. Warren right, T.J. Warren fight, fight, fight!
Which other players need to contribute for the Pack? What makes the 'Canes a tough opponent? All that and more with Akula on the Q&A below.
For more on NC State be sure to swing by Backing the Pack.
SOTU: What did you see from Miami in tonight's win over Virginia Tech, as well as in Miami's 2 contests with NC State this year, that A) You feel the Pack can exploit, B) Concerns you about tomorrow's game?
AW: Any time NC State is up against an opponent I know is going to play a lot of zone, I worry. The Wolfpack just doesn't really have a counter--they aren't going to go out and hit 10 threes or something. Under ideal circumstances they might get a few from Ralston Turner and a couple more from everybody else combined, but that's about it. I think Jim Larranaga did a great job this year of reshaping the team to better lean on its strengths, and that defense is a pest.
On the other hand, that defense does have its drawbacks. Miami has been pretty good on the defensive glass under the circumstances, but NC State was able to rebound well offensively in both of the regular season meetings, and that aspect of the game might prove to be a difference-maker in the final outcome, depending on how it shakes out in the third meeting.
SOTU: Can we just send T.J, Warren the NBA where he belongs, before this game? All kidding aside, what makes Warren such a special player and where does he rank on the All-Time NC State lists?
AW: Warren has tremendous touch from 15 feet and in ... I've never seen anything like it. If he's in that range and a shot doesn't go in, it's almost a shock. The other thing is that he's seemingly always in the right place, like he's seen a few seconds into the future and knows exactly where an offensive rebound is going to land. I like to joke that he's got some sort of basketball magnet.
But you will all be free of him soon enough.
SOTU: Besides Warren, who else needs to step up for NCSU to make some noise in this ACC Tourney?
AW: I'd take anybody at this point, but if I had to pick one guy, it would be Ralston Turner, who's been a bit of a no-show lately. Turner is the only perimeter player this team can count on to make a decent percentage of his three-pointers on a regular basis, and for a group that takes so few shots from outside, it can make a considerable difference if Turner is hitting some shots. When opponents have to worry about him, it potentially opens up some other things for us offensively.
SOTU: Who is your pick to win this ACC Tourney?
AW: I like Duke, unfortunately. I suspect the Blue Devils will breeze through Friday and get past their Saturday foe--be it Miami, NC State or Syracuse--without much trouble, though I hope I'm wrong about that. Virginia's streak through league play was impressively dominant, but my brain still struggles with the whole "UVA is the No. 1 seed" thing. If the Cavs manage to prevent UNC and Duke from winning the tourney, though, I will not be complaining.
SOTU: How do you see tomorrow's game playing out? Who wins and why?
AW: Can I just insert a shrug here? After the two regular season games, I don't have a dang clue. But I do at least expect NC State to look sharper than it did against the Hurricanes in Raleigh. I'll go ahead and take an optimistic angle here and guess that T.J. Warren will continue his streak of dominant offensive efforts and leads NC State to victory in the process, because sure why not.
Thanks again to Akula for the breakdown.
Last time these teams met:
March 13, 2014 | 7 p.m.
Greensboro Coliseum | Greensboro, N.C.
ACC Tournament website: www.theacc.com/