In his second season, the Pack has posted back-to-back 20+ win campaigns for the first time since 2005-06 and 2006-07. After posting 24 wins last season, the second-most for a Pack rookie head coach, and 21 wins so far this season, his 45 combined wins are the most in back-to-back years since 1987-88 and 1988-89 (46 wins).
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 12th 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 points per game. Last year, his first with the Wolfpack, the average was up slightly to 72.9 points per game - the nation’s 59th-best mark at season’s end.
State has already scored at least 80 points in 15 contests this season - tying for the highest total for a Wolfpack squad since 1995-96 (15 in 31 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 and once again boasts a McDonald’s All-American.
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.
NC STATE VS. WAKE FOREST
Wednesday’s game is the 237th meeting in the rivalry between NC State and Wake Forest, which is tied with Duke for the most games NC State has played against one school.
The two teams have met at least twice a year since 1944, when World War II interrupted the rivalry for one season.
The Pack currently holds a 136-100 lead in the overall series, having won five of the last six meetings. NC State also holds a 94-53 edge in games played in Raleigh, including a mark of 8-4 at PNC Arena, having won the last three.
EARLIER THIS SEASON AGAINST WAKE
Fighting through foul trouble all night, NC State fell to Wake Forest on Jan. 22, 86-84, at Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum.
The Wolfpack built a comfortable 47-35 lead at the half and led by as many as 16 points just before intermission. But the Demon Deacons stormed back with 51 points in the second half, led by Devin Thomas’ 25 points and 14 rebounds.
For the Wolfpack, freshmen Rodney Purvis and T.J. Warren led the way, with Purvis scoring 18 points and Warren adding 14.
THANK YOU SENIORS
NC State will be celebrating Senior Day on Wednesday, as the Pack honors forwards Richard Howell and Scott Wood as well as guard Jay Lewis prior to the game.
The Pack earned a hard-fought 77-73 win over Miami last year on Senior Day.
NC STATE IN THE RPI
In the current RPI, NC State sits at No. 24. The Pack posts three wins against teams currently in the RPI top-50. The Pack currently holds the 23rd-toughest strength of schedule.
In the current BPI rankings, the Pack is 19th, with the 12th-toughest schedule.
NC State will enter Wednesday’s home finale against Wake Forest with a 15-1 home mark this season, including 7-1 in ACC games at PNC Arena.
The Pack will be looking to win 16 home contests for the first time since 1999-00 (17), and also finish with just one loss in conference action at home for the first time since 1990-91 (7-1).
In 16 home contests this season, the Pack is averaging 84.6 points per game, compared to 69.8 in the 13 road/neutral games.
NC State is attempting to beat Wake Forest, Duke and North Carolina at home all in the same season for the first time since 1988-98.
With the win at Georgia Tech on Sunday, the Pack picked up its 21st win of the season. After posting 24 wins last season, the Pack has back-to-back 20+ win seasons for the first time since 2005-06 and 2006-07.
If the Pack picks up the home win against Wake Forest, the 46 combined wins over the last two seasons will be the most in back-to-back years since 1987-88 and 1988-89 (46 wins).
Under first year head coach Mark Gottfried last season, the Pack won six of its final eight games of the season en route to a Sweet 16 appearance.
History seems to be repeating itself this year.
NC State has won five of its last six games, and sits at 10-6 in ACC play after starting out 5-5. During this current stretch, balanced scoring has been a key, as the Pack’s starting five are all averaging between 13.7-11.8 over the last six games.
Several NC State players continue their climbs in the NC State record books, and a pair of significant milestones are within reach.
Richard Howell is just nine rebounds away from becoming only the fifth player in school history to record 1,000 rebounds during his career.
Howell will also become the fifth player in school history with 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.
In Sunday’s win at Georgia Tech, Howell did become the school’s all-time leader in career offensive rebounds, as now has 372.
He broke the previous career mark of 370 set by Kevin Thompson (1990-93).
Scott Wood is close to establishing his second new school record. He is 10 three-pointers away from tying Rodney Monroe’s career mark of 322. Wood already has the school record for career starts, with 130 and counting.
BROWN IS BACK
Junior point guard Lorenzo Brown returned to action at Clemson on Feb. 10 after missing two starts and most of a third game with an ankle injury - all NC State losses.
Since returning from the injury, Brown has averaged 11.8 points, 7.5 assists and 35.5 minutes in the last six games. The Pack has gone 5-1 in those contests.
Although he wasn’t at full speed in his first game back at Clemson, Brown came off the bench and sparked the Pack’s comeback win with 15 points and four assists in 32 minutes 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 then returned to the starting lineup the next game, and played a career-high 42 minutes in the overtime win over Virginia Tech on Feb. 16, dishing out seven assists and chipping in 15 points.
Brown went down with the ankle injury midway through the first half at Virginia on Jan. 29, and missed the rest of that game and then the Pack’s next two, against nationally ranked foes Miami and Duke.
The Miami contest on Feb. 2 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, 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.
UN WARREN-TED SUCCESS
Freshman forward T.J. Warren was inserted into the Pack’s starting lineup in the last four games, and the rookie has responded by posting the first two double-doubles of his career and averaging 17.0 points and 8.3 rebounds.
Warren had a monster night in the thrashing of Florida State, with 31 points and 13 rebounds in 31 minutes for his first career double dip. That point total was the third-highest ever by a Wolfpack freshman.
Warren ranks second among ACC freshmen in scoring with 12.2 points per game. He has scored 20 or more points five times this season - more than any player on the Wolfpack squad. He leads the ACC in field goal percentage with a .617 mark, ranking 15th nationally.
ALL ABOUT THE OFFENSE
NC State is currently second in the ACC and 12th nationally in scoring at 78.0 points per game. 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 20 wins, Mark Gottfried’s squad is averaging 81.8 points per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field. In those 20 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 eight losses, NC State averaged just 68.1 points per game, shooting 45.1 percent from the floor. In four of those eight games, NC State was held under 70 points.
It has been almost four decades since an NC State basketball player had more double-doubles than senior Richard Howell has posted in 2012-13. Howell leads the ACC with 16 double-doubles on the season, posting nine in conference play.
Howell’s season mark ranks sixth nationally, and is more than 10 entire ACC teams totals.
Not since Tommy Burleson had 26 in 1973-74 has a Pack player posted a higher total. Howell had posted double-digit point and rebound totals in 15 of the last 24 outings.
NC State leads the ACC with 32 individual double-doubles this season - the next closest team is Duke with 18. In fact, Howell has more double-doubles than 10 other ACC teams!
MOVING UP THE CHARTS
All four of the Pack’s upperclassmen are climbing up the charts in the ACC and NC State record books in various categories:
• Scott Wood set a new NC State record for career starts with his 126th on Feb. 16 vs. Virginia Tech. He broke the record set by Julius Hodge, and now has 130 for his career.
• Wood now ranks ninth in ACC history - second in NC State history - in career three-point field goals made with 312.
• Richard Howell now ranks fifth in school history in career rebounds with 991.
• Lorenzo Brown is only the third player in NC State history with 500+ career assists (Chris Corchiani & Sidney Lowe). He now has 539.
• C.J. Leslie moved into fifth place in school history for career blocks, he now has 125 for his career.