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2014 ACC/Big Ten Challenge NC State At Purdue: Preview, TV, Odds, Time, Etc.

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Purdue has won five straight in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but has never beaten NC State.

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After a successful trip to Maui the Boilers return home for another big event of the non-conference season: The ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Purdue is the hottest team in either conference going into this year, having won five straight games. In fact, it could be argued that two of the best games Purdue has played the last two years were against Clemson in the 2012 event and Boston College last season.

This year Purdue gets the NC State Wolfpack, who is 4-0 all-time against the Boilers. That includes wins over Purdue in the first ACC/Big Ten Challenge in 1999 at Mackey Arena. Purdue also lost in Raleigh in the 2004 event.

Opponent

North Carolina State Wolfpack

Location:

Raleigh, NC

Venue:

Mackey Arena (14,846) West Lafayette, IN

TV:

ESPNU

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

Purdue by 6

Tickets:

As Low as $11.50 on Stubhub

Tipoff:

9pm

KenPom Ranking:

53 of 351

RPI:

19

Blog Representation:

Backing the Pack

2014-15 Record:

6-0

All-time series

NC State leads 4-0

Last Purdue win:

N/A

Last NC State Win:

60-53 on 11/29/2004 at NC State

2013-14 Record:

22-14, 9-9 ACC

Last NCAA appearance:

2014 (won play-in game vs. Xavier)

Coach:

Mark Gottfreid (76-38 in 4th season at NC State)

As a special preview this week Steven from SB Nation's Backing the Pack answered some questions about the Wolfpack:

T-Mill: How do you feel about NC State heading on the road for their first major test after six straight home games?


Steven: Encouraged. I thought this team could be better than it was a year ago even though T.J. Warren left for the NBA, and while I'm not completely convinced that's going to be the case yet, I like the way the Wolfpack has handled some sneaky-tough mid-major opponents.

Offensively the Pack is very much a work in progress and will go through some rough stretches that maybe Warren saved it from last year. It's evident already that the backcourt is going to be the backbone of the offense, with Trevor Lacey now eligible and playing alongside Cat Barber and Ralston Turner.

There are still a lot of questions up front since there is a lot of youth in those spots. NC State would love for one of those kids to emerge as a consistent scorer.

Defensively, NC State has better overall depth and more size along the perimeter, which is paying dividends in the early going. Purdue should be a great early litmus test for what we all hope is an improved defensive team.

T-Mill: You guys are an excellent rebounding team, but no one has the size of A.J.Hammons (7'0") and Isaac Haas (7'2"). Who will match up against them?

Steven: That is going to be interesting. BeeJay Anya will be one of the defensive matchups, for sure--he has the wingspan of a seven-footer, if not the actual height. But NC State is not built to handle this kind of size, especially if those guys are going to be on the floor at the same time. Fortunately it doesn't look like y'all are going the twin towers route at this point.

The rest of the frontcourt rotation will include Lennard Freeman, Kyle Washington, and Abdul-Malik Abu. None of those guys is taller than 6-9 and they'll be giving up some pounds as well.

Mark Gottfried typically is reluctant to play zone defense so I wouldn't expect NC State to start off that way, but if Purdue's big fellas become too much of a problem, maybe that's an option we have to try.

T-Mill: Trevor Lacey and Jon Octeus looks like a really good matchup at the point in terms of experience. What are Lacey's strengths?

Steven: It'll actually be Cat Barber handling the point and probably checking Octeus defensively, though Lacey will play in that spot while Barber is off the floor. Lacey's size (Barber likes to joke that he's fat, which is not entirely unfair) allows him to contribute in a lot of different ways, which is what's impressing me most so far. He's been one of the team's best defensive rebounders, and he is skilled enough to be a leader at the offensive end.

Gottfried came into the year expecting Lacey to be his leading scorer, and so far that is the case. I don't know that he'll continue to shoot 40% from three-point range, but as long as he does he's clearly the Pack's most versatile scoring option.

T-Mill: Purdue seemed to gain a lot of confidence from going out to Maui and winning twice. Do you see that as a factor since NC State did not play in an early season tournament?

Steven: No, I don't think so. I'm sure being back home for a nationally televised game against a solid opponent would provide plenty of motivation in any case, so I dunno how much of an additional boost Maui could be.

T-Mill: Where is NC State expected to finish this year in the ACC?

Steven: State was ninth in the preseason media poll and I could see the Pack finish everywhere from fifth if things break right and 10th. I can't see NC State breaking into the league's upper tier, based on what I've seen from that group of teams (UNC, Duke, Louisville, Virginia).