Miami's winning streak in league play is going to have to end Saturday for NC State to stay in the hunt for the ACC regular season title, and it looks like the Pack is going to have to win without Lorenzo Brown. This presents a number of challenges at both ends of the floor, obviously. Miami rarely turns the ball over, NC State is bad at forcing turnovers even with Brown, and Brown has State's best steal rate by far.
Tyler Lewis will be on the floor a lot more, and there is no Jontel Evans to hide him behind, so to speak, this time. If his task is Shane Larkin, then that is a huge mismatch in the Hurricanes' favor. I mean, Lewis has had problems staying in front of guards on the mid-majors we've played this season. We'll just have to grit our teeth through those possessions.
Few argued when Duke vaulted twice into the No. 1 ranking this season, but North Carolina State and Miami made sure everyone realized there are other contenders within the ACC by ending those reigns.
Facing each other presents a whole new challenge for each.
The 19th-ranked Wolfpack may not have starting point guard Lorenzo Brown available Saturday when they try to knock off the conference leaders and prevent the No. 14 Hurricanes from earning their first win in Raleigh.
N.C. State (16-5, 5-3) became the first team to defeat Duke, earning an 84-76 home victory Jan. 12 that also knocked the Blue Devils from the top spot in the polls.