Mark Gottfried has brought a fast-paced, high energy offense to NC State as evidenced by the team's scoring numbers. The Wolfpack currently ranks second in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and is 10th nationally in scoring with 78.0 points per game.
The Pack's offensive production has improved dramatically since Gottfried took over the program prior to last season. In 2010-11, the campaign prior to his arrival, State ranked 115th nationally and sixth in the ACC in scoring with 70.7 point per game. Last year, his first season with the Wolfpack, the average was up slightly to 72.9 points per game - the nation's 59th-best mark at season's end.
The NC State single season record for points per game is 92.9, set in 1973. State has already scored at least 80 points in 13 contests this season - tying for the highest total for a Wolfpack squad since 2005-06 (13 in 32 games).
Mark Gottfried is bringing top-level talent to Raleigh, as both of his recruiting classes have been ranked in the top-10 nationally. Last year, having just seven months till the fall signing period, Gottfried brought in the No. 5 recruiting class in the nation, including three McDonald's All-Americans.
It marked the first time the Wolfpack had three McDonald's All-Americans in the same class since 1979. Gottfried followed up with three more recruits signed in November and that class currently ranks ninth nationally.
Gottfried came to NC State with the reputation of being a first-class recruiter. In three of his final four seasons at Alabama, Gottfried's recruiting classes were nationally ranked: 10th in 2005, 27th in 2007, and 16th in 2008.
THE VIRGINIA TECH SERIES
Sunday's meeting marks the 50th all-time meeting between NC State and Virginia Tech, a series that dates back to 1914-15. The Wolfpack currently holds a 35-14 edge in the overall series, including a 7-5 edge since the Hokies joined the ACC in 2004-05.
NC State also holds a 19-5 advantage in games played in Raleigh, including a 3-2 mark in PNC Arena.
Through the years, NC State has had more success against the Hokies than any other current member of the ACC, with a 71.4 winning percentage.
LAST SEASON VS. THE HOKIES
NC State won the lone matchup between the two squads last season.
In its regular-season finale at Virginia Tech, Scott Wood led the Pack to a 70-58 victory with 19 points, including a perfect 6-of-6 from the free line. C.J. Leslie recorded his sixth double-double of the year with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Lorenzo Brown chipped in 10 points and tallied four assists.
State continued its dominant play in the paint, outscoring the Hokies, 36-22, and outrebounding Virginia Tech, 40-25. The Wolfpack also held 19-0 advantage in fast break points.
NC STATE IN THE RPI
In the current RPI, NC State sits at No. 18. The Pack is 4-4 this season against teams currently in the RPI top-50.
The Pack also currently holds the ninth-toughest strength of schedule.
MOVING UP THE CHARTS
Heading into Saturday's contest against Virginia Tech, all four of the Pack's upperclassmen have a chance to keep climbing up in the ACC and NC State record books in various categories:
• Scott Wood's next start will set a new NC State record for career starts. He is currently tied with Julius Hodge with 125 career starts.
• Richard Howell is one rebound shy of moving into fifth place for career rebounds - John Richter with 936.
• Lorenzo Brown is two assists shy of becoming only the third player in NC State history with 500 career assists (Chris Corchiani & Sidney Lowe.)
• C.J. Leslie is three blocks from moving into fifth place for career blocks - Cozell McQueen with 121.
• Wood is four three-pointers shy of moving into the ACC's top-10 for career three-point field goals made - Jon Scheyer, Duke with 297.
BROWN RETURNS TO ACTION
Junior point guard Lorenzo Brown returned to action at Clemson after missing two starts with an ankle injury
Although he wasn't at full speed, Brown came off the bench and sparked the Pack's comeback win with 15 points and four assists in 32 minutes of action.
It was Brown driving to the basket and then dishing to Scott Wood in the corner that led to Wood's game-winning three-pointer with just 1.0 left on the clock in the 58-57 win.
Brown went down with an ankle injury midway through the first half at Virginia on Jan. 29, and missed the rest of that game and then each of the Pack's next two, against nationally ranked Miami and Duke.
The Miami contest marked the first game of Brown's career that he missed, breaking a string of 59 straight starts dating back to his freshman season.
Over those two-plus games in Brown's absence (all losses), NC State went from averaging 79.7 points to 72.7 points, while assists were also down from 15.3 in the first 20 games to 11.0.
EMERGENCE OF TYLER LEWIS
With starting point guard Lorenzo Brown missing time recently with an ankle injury, freshman Tyler Lewis' role has expanded.
The Statesville native has averaged 11.7 points in 34.0 minutes of action over the last three contests, starting each of the last two games at point guard.
At Clemson, with Brown returning to play 32 minutes off the bench, Lewis and Brown played the majority of the game together in the Pack's backcourt.
Lewis made his first career start at Duke, finishing with 13 points in a career-high 39 minutes. In the previous game against Miami, he played 36 minutes and scored a career-best 16 points.
In ACC play, Lewis has dished out 16 assists to just two turnovers.
Over his last four games, Lewis has scored 38 points in 117 minutes, compared to four points in 23 total minutes in the first seven ACC games of the season.
CUTTING IT CLOSE
The Pack's five ACC losses have been by a combined 20 points. The loss at Duke (98-85) was the first one decided by more than three points. NC State's first four ACC losses at Maryland (1), at Wake Forest (2), at Virginia (3) and vs. Miami (1) were decided by a combined seven points, and all were decided in the final 10 seconds.
Last time out at Clemson, the Pack was on the winning end of a close contest. Trailing most of the game, Scott Wood hit a three-pointer with just 1.0 left on the clock for the 58-57 win. On the season, NC State's average margin of victory in the six ACC wins is 6.5, while the margin of defeat in the five losses is 4.0.
ALL ABOUT THE OFFENSE
NC State currently ranks second in the ACC in scoring at 78.0 points per game. That average is the 10-best mark nationally. The Pack is one of six teams with five double-figure scorers, so it's probably safe to say that the offense is the driving force behind State's success.
In the Pack's 16 wins, Mark Gottfried's squad is averaging 81.8 points per game while shooting 52.1 percent from the field. In those 16 wins, NC State has been held under 70 points only twice. However, when the Pack's offense has stalled, the results have not been positive. In its seven losses, NC State averaged just 68.6 points per game, shooting 45.2 percent from the floor (190-420). In three of those seven games, NC State was held under 60 points.
NC State leads the ACC with 26 individual double-doubles this season - the next closest team is Duke with 16.
Richard Howell is tied atop the ACC with 14 double-doubles on the season, posting seven in conference play. Howell's season mark ranks seventh nationally.
Howell had posted double-digit point and rebound totals in 13 of the last 20 outings. For the season, Howell has posted 14 double-doubles. No Wolfpack player has had more since Kenny Carr posted 15 in 1976-77.
The most for any Wolfpack player over the last four decades is 7-foot-2 center Tommy Burleson's 26 during the Wolfpack's 1974 NCAA championship season. Burleson also had 21 as a sophomore and 19 as a junior for a total of 66 in his three-year career.
LESLIE PULLS TRIPLE DUTY
NC State's C.J. Leslie is definitely counted on by his team for his scoring. Leslie leads the Wolfpack with 15.6 points per game, the sixth-best mark in the ACC heading into the game at Clemson. He has posted the Pack's high point total in eight contests this season.
Leslie is also counted on for rebounding. Although his rebounding numbers sometime go unnoticed because of Richard Howell's prowess in that category, he ranks ninth in the league with 7.5 boards per game.
> The junior has also been counted on for accuracy. His .548 field goal percentage ranks fourth in the current league rankings.
Leslie, BC's Ryan Anderson and Duke's Mason Plumlee are the only players in the ACC to rank in the top 10 in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage.
Over the last five games, Leslie has averaged 16.6 points and 10.4 rebounds. He has recorded four double-doubles in that span, and has seven on the season.
The game at Wake Forest on Jan. 22 may have marked the first time in school history that two players have reached the 1,000-point total for their career in the same game. Senior Richard Howell and junior Lorenzo Brown both reached that milestone and now boast 1,090 and 1,040 career points respectively. Now, all four of the Wolfpack's upperclassmen are members of the 1,000-point club.
Scott Wood scored his 1,000th point in last season's opening-round win over San Diego State in the NCAA Tournament and now has 1,301 career points which ranks 25th in school history Junior C.J. Leslie earned his place in the fraternity in the first half in NC State's win over Western Michigan on Dec. 29. He became the 46th player in NC State's storied basketball history to score his 1,000th point and now boasts 1,205 for his career.
The last time NC State had three 1,000-point scorers on the same team was in 2008-09, with Brandon Costner (1,273), Ben McCauley (1,138) and Courtney Fells (1,060).
The 1982-83 squad also had a trio of 1,000 scorers led by Thurl Bailey (1,495), Dereck Whittenburg (1,272) and Sidney Lowe (1,048). That squad went on to win the national title.
Only 10 previous times have a pair of players in the same recruiting class each scored 1,000 point during their careers, the last was the trio of Costner, Fells and McCauley. Howell and Wood became the 11th and Brown and Leslie are the 12th.
NC State is only the ninth team in ACC history to have four players who have reached 1,000 career points on the same team.