The 6-2 NC State men’s basketball team is looking to get back on track after suffering its first ACC loss of the season to No. 19 Clemson. The next contest for the Wolfpack squad is a game against the 4-5 Miami Hurricanes who are currently 0-4 in ACC play. The game is scheduled for noon on Saturday, Jan. 9 in Raleigh.
That first ACC loss of the season for the Pack came in heartbreaking fashion, losing to a very talented Clemson squad by four points in overtime. In truth, NC State was probably hopeful to steal a win on the road and was in a good position to do so in the latter half of regulation. Clemson had a different idea of how the game would end up, however, fighting back to force overtime behind the play of Nick Honor who posted a game-high 21 points.
While a loss is never the best outcome of any sporting event, there are some positive takeaways to be had from this matchup. First and foremost, the play of redshirt senior D.J. Funderburk should be acknowledged after posting 20 points in 27 minutes on the floor. Funderburk also shot a perfect 9-9 from the charity stripe and made his only three-point attempt of the game. Redshirt senior Devon Daniels was also essential to the Pack being able to keep the game as close as it was. Putting up a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, Daniels continues to establish himself as one of the best scoring threats on this NC State roster.
A record of 6-2 is certainly far from the worst-case scenario for this Wolfpack team who currently sit at sixth in the ACC. This team has over-performed expectations given to them in the preseason. As this squad continues to develop its identity in ACC play, expect to see them become more comfortable in the clutch and playing with a lead going into the final moments of a game.
The Miami Hurricanes, however, are playing far below the expectations given to them at the start of the season. Predicted to finish sixth in the ACC by experts at CBS Sports, the Hurricanes are certainly going to have to fight an uphill battle to make it a reality. Currently sitting at 4-5 on the season and 0-4 in ACC play, Miami looks to be preparing for a similar finish to that of last season where they ended at 15-16 and 7-13 in the ACC. Currently on a three-game losing skid, the Hurricanes have lost to a streak of solid programs, including the likes of Clemson, Virginia Tech and a historically challenging UNC.
Both NC State and Miami will be looking to bounce back to the win column coming into this matchup, which has historically favored the Pack. Coming in at 14-11 all-time against the Hurricanes, NC State will hope to continue its current three-game win streak in this head-to-head. The Wolfpack are also favored historically at home, where this matchup swings in its favor 7-4 all-time in Raleigh.
The all-time record is certainly not convincing enough to claim that NC State has a clear advantage over the U. In fact, over the last 10 matchups, the series is tied at 5-5 with both teams showing this is no one-sided game. The Wolfpack will definitely have to work for a win in this game as the record of the Hurricanes really doesn’t tell the whole story of their season. Miami has faced a more challenging schedule at this point in the season compared to that of NC State, but the Pack do have quality wins against solid programs that Miami is currently lacking.
Some key pieces to Miami’s squad that NC State will look to contain include guard Isaiah Wong and center Nysier Brooks. Wong is currently leading the Hurricanes scoring attack, posting a team-high 16.8 points per game on nearly 46% shooting from the field. At 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, Wong is very comparable in size to both freshmen breakouts Shakeel Moore and Cam Hayes, who will likely have their hands full in an even matchup at the guard position.
Brooks is a force to be reckoned with on defense and the boards on either side of the court. While he certainly isn’t the flashiest player or the most integral part of the Miami offense with 6.7 points per game, the center leads the team in both rebounds and blocks per game. With 6.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, Brooks will look to match the energy redshirt sophomore forward Manny Bates often provides the Wolfpack squad. Expect to see these big men duke it out on Saturday at every possible opportunity.
In truth, this is a matchup that could swing to either side, but the edge would have to be given to the team with the better standing in and out of conference currently. The box score will be the ultimate decider, however, which will be available after this matchup on Jan. 9th at noon in Raleigh, North Carolina. The game will be available to view on ACC on Regional Sports Networks and in the Watch ESPN app. For more updates regarding this game and all other sports at NC State, be sure to follow @techsports on Twitter.