Coming off a loss in Chapel Hill to North Carolina last weekend, and with a full week to prepare following a bye, N.C. State travels to Coral Gables on Saturday to face the Miami Hurricanes in BankUnited Center.
Tip is set for 2 p.m.
The Hurricanes are the defending ACC regular season and tournament champions but after massive player loss from last season have struggled to replicate that success in 2014, At 11-11 overall and 2-7 in the conference, Miami head coach Jim Larranaga has had to reinvent his team’s style of play, with the Canes becoming more of a methodical, zone-oriented squad.
“They are lot different defensively (from last season),” N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried said. “They are zoning a lot more, and they are real effective. It's a good matchup zone,They utilize the ball screens a lot.
"I think (Larranaga has) done a great job with this team. Regardless of their record in the league they are going to be a tough team to beat, I can promise you that."
“Ultimately you have to make some shots from the perimeter, they crowd the lane,” Gottfried added. “We have some things we hope that can be very effective against it. We have to move the ball and set screens, even against the zone, get inside of it.”
Freshman guard Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber struggled in Chapel Hill shooting the ball in the first half before settling down and led the Wolfpack to a nearly 66 percent effort from the floor after intermission. Barber feel the key to success at Miami will N.C. State imposing an uptempo style against the Canes.
"I just try to [use] my speed and not let them set up, just get out and tell my team to get out with me and run so we can score the ball easily, Barber said. “I'm going to get in the gap, people are going to help and I'll kick it out."
At 14-8 overall and 4-5 in the ACC, the Wolfpack sit squarely on the bubble for NCAA Tournament selection, but at the midway point in the conference season N.C. State head Gottfried is not ready to focus on postseason play.
“We're halfway through the league, and we have to really turn it up in the second half.” Gottfried said. “We have to find a way to win some on the road, which we've been able to do a few times this year. We have to keep improving as a team, that's the most important thing.
"For us, the most important thing is you have to keep winning. You win your way into the tournament every year.”