TOP 20 BATTLE TONIGHT AT KFC YUM! CENTER
The weather may have taken a downturn in the River City but the KFC YUM! Center should be blazing tonight when the #19 NC State Wolfpack WBB squad (16-6, 6-3) comes to town to face the Louisville Cardinals at 7 p.m. The Cards go into the Groundhog Day contest hoping to avoid their shadow and bring on six weeks of excellent basketball...which would take them into the NCAA Tournament.
It's the first time the Cards have been on the Denny Crum Court since a January 18th. romp over Georgia Tech. They won all three on the road trip that took them to USF, Clemson and Pittsburgh...improving their record to 20-4 overall and 7-2 in conference...which has them in third place behind Notre Dame and Florida State.
Louisville will look to the hot-hand of Mariya Moore...who had 20 points against the Panthers on Sunday, including five three-pointers. Asia Durr caught fire late and added 13 points for the Cards...who forced 21 turnovers that led to 21 points. Louisville connected for 10 treys in the contest...which equaled their season high in behind-the-arc marksmanship.
NC State enters as winners of three out of their last four. The Wolfpack had knocked off Duke, Clemson and Pitt at home before travelling to Chapel Hill, NC and falling to North Carolina 83-70 Sunday. The Wolfpack ran into a hot-shooting TarHeel bunch that converted for 52.7% of their shots and went 14-24 from three-point range. UNC also scored 27 fastbreak points.
Dominique Wilson totalled 18 points for NC State in the loss. She averages 11.3 per game for Wes Moore's squad. Miah Spencer added 15 points and six assists. Spencer leads NC State with 107 assists on the season. Season leading scorer Chelsea Nelson (11.6) and Jennifer Mathurin had double-doubles in the contest with 13 and 11 points and 10 rebounds each. NC State also has four players (Mathurin, Wilson, Aislinn Konig and Ashley Williams who have bucketed at least 30 threes this season.
The balanced NC State attack has helped them pull a couple of what must be considered upsets this season. In addition to beating Duke, the Raleigh, NC school also has wins over Notre Dame and at Florida State....those wins for the Wolfpack being the only ACC losses that the Irish and Seminoles have had in conference play. UConn is the only other team this year that has wins over both Florida State and Notre Dame.
Walz's defense will get a tough test tonight trying to slow down the multi-faceted and effective Pack attack. In addition, NC State is #23 in the nation in scoring defense and #26 in field goal percentage defense...so the Cards will have to work hard and make good decisions to put points on the KFC YUM! scoreboard.
|Here's hoping both Cardinal Joneses have big nights.|
A total of six players fouled out in the contest (NC State 4, UofL 2) and 57 total fouls were called by the whistle-happy refereeing crew of Bob Enterline, Pualani Spurlock and Dawn Marsh. No offense intended, but here's hoping the three don't get invited back for a repeat performance this year....
It should be a good one tonight down by the Ohio River. "Dandy" Don Russell and Sara White will have the call on the ACC Network Extra. Nick Curran and Adrienne Johnson will handle the radio duties on Cards Radio 790 AM WKRD.
Jeff Walz wants a big crowd in the seats for this one...so fire up the SUV, pick up the neighbors and friends and come out for the Super-Heroes Night themed evening. Let's hope Myisha, Mariya and Asia come as Superwoman, Bat-Girl and Wonder Woman and save the day.
It might not hurt if Walz breaks out the ol' Billy Barule tonight either...
LINK: Billy, Billy....Billy
Seven ACC Contests on the docket for tonight. Let's look at them...
Florida State at Boston College. The 'Noles shouldn't have any trouble grounding the Eagles tonight in Chestnut Hill. Chief Osceola gets to celebrate a "W" for Florida State.
Clemson at Duke. The Tigers did get their first win of the conference slate last time out. That win streak ends tonight in the Cameron as the Blue Devils de-claw the felines and Duke goes to 7-3 in conference.
NC State at Louisville. Ms. Wuf probably won't be dancing on the sidelines for Wes Moore's bunch but Louie the Cardinal Bird should have a birds' eye view of the Cards 21st win of the year. Louisville flies past the WolfPack.
Pitt at Syracuse. The Orange have been an on-again, off-again team this year for "Q"...but they should have the juice to flow past the Panthers tonight in front of...oh, 500 or so fans. No excuse for Syracuse not to win this one.
Georgia Tech at Virginia. Tech wrecked last time out against Clemson and won't find the going any easier in Charlottesville. Wahoo! The Cavs stick the sabre in the Yellow Jackets and UVA takes the fray.
Notre Dame at Virginia Tech. The Gobblers are on a four-game conference losing streak and that won't end tonight against Muffet's Irish. No karaoke for the Hokie tonight...the Irish win.
Miami at Wake Forest. This is the one that I had the most trouble in picking for tonight. Wake has been a surprise at 4-4 in the ACC. Miami maybe a disappointment at 5-4. Still, I'll take the 'winds' toppling the Forest tonight.
Thirsty Thursday thoughts?