When these two teams met nearly three weeks ago, both had limped into ACC play at 0-3. Florida State picked up their first conference win that night, and have used that momentum to go 4-2 after the tough conference start. NCSU, meanwhile, has gone 2-4, but in their last outing they rolled No. 15 Miami.
The formula for the Wolfpack against Miami was hot outside shooting (46% from deep), and a ton of trips to the line (31). The outside shooting comes and goes (NCSU is 219th in 3-pt%), but getting to the line is a staple of the offense. In nine conference games, NCSU has attempted more than 30 FTs in four games. That's how they were able to keep it close in the first game against FSU, as the Wolfpack attempted 32 FTs compared to just 22 for Florida State. The Noles will need to make sure it is not a one-sided affair as players parade to the line.
Another thing to watch will be NC State's depth. They have more players, but Coach Gottfried essentially plays seven. On Saturday as the Noles were playing ten guys all for at least ten minutes, NC State played only seven and they all played at least 20 minutes.
The formula for FSU will be a repeat of the Clemson game. The Noles will look to force NC State into long offensive possessions by playing a swarming defense, and hope to wear them down in the second half.
This is a big game for Florida State, as the Noles are likely on the right side of the NCAA tournament bubble. But a home loss to a fringe top 100 team could bounce them right back to the wrong side.
The game tips at 9 PM from the Tuck and will be broadcast on ESPNU. Florida State is favored by five.