Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Pegged as the top team in the ACC to begin the
season, the sixth-ranked NC State Wolfpack get things underway this evening,
as they play host to the Miami-Ohio RedHawks at PNC Arena.
It isn't North Carolina or Duke that sits atop the preseason polls in the ACC,
but rather Mark Gottfried's Wolfpack, who are coming off a highly successful
2011-12 campaign, Gottfried's first in Raleigh. NC State posted 24 victories
last year, earned its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2006 and made a run to
the Sweet 16. With a talented roster back in the fold, bigger and better
things are expected in 2012-13.
The RedHawks come into this season under new management, as John Cooper takes
over after three seasons at Tennessee State. Miami-Ohio finished a
disappointing 9-21 a year ago and there is plenty of work to do in Oxford.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two teams on the hardwood.
Cooper had some success at Tennessee State last year, most notably, upsetting
previously unbeaten Murray State late in the year. Cooper's new team finished
a distant 5-11 in the Mid-American Conference last season and must replace its
top scorer from that squad. There isn't a whole lot of proven commodities on
the roster. Quinten Rollins (7.7 ppg, 3.2 apg) is the only true point guard on
the team, and he will be charged with running the up-tempo game that Cooper
likes. The team does get guard Allen Roberts back as well as St. Francis
transfer Will Felder (junior forward) on the floor this season. Roberts
averaged 7.9 ppg as a sophomore before missing all of last season (knee).
Felder hopefully gives the team a strong frontcourt presence after averaging
11.1 points, 6.7 boards, and 1.3 blocks per game for St. Francis (PA) prior to
transferring. Juniors Jon Harris (8.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and Drew McGhee (5.2 ppg,
2.3 rpg) could provide additional depth up front.
Mark Gottfried's second season in Raleigh could really be special. The
Wolfpack showed signs of a much-improved team last year and their postseason
experience could push them to greater heights in 2012-13. It certainly helps
to bring back four of the team's five starters, all of which could garner All-
ACC honors. Leading the way is ACC Player of the Year candidate Lorenzo Brown
(12.7 ppg, 6.3 apg) at the point. One of the elite playmakers in the league.
Brown can take over a game as both a scorer and facilitator. Forwards C.J.
Leslie (14.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Richard Howell (10.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg) will
dominate up front, while Scott Wood (12.4 ppg) adds scoring touch off the
wing. If that weren't enough, Gottfried has some new toys with a trio of
McDonald's All-Americans brought in. Tyler Lewis will be tasked with spelling
Brown at the point, while Rodney Pulvis could develop into an elite scorer
right away. The last of the trio is 6-8 forward T.J. Warren, who could get
right into the fray as well.
The Sports Network