Northwestern will travel to PNC Arena for a matchup with NC State in the Big Ten ACC-Challenge. The Wildcats had won four straight in the series before losing to Maryland last season. The Wildcats enter the battle with the Wolfpack on a two game losing streak.
They dropped a pair of games in the Continental Tire Invitational over thanksgiving weekend. The Wildcats fell 78-67 to Missouri and 95-79 to UCLA. That dropped the Wildcats to 0-3 against BCS conference teams after an earlier loss to Stanford.
This will be the third meeting between Northwestern and NC State in the Challenge. Their previous meeting was a 65-53 victory over Northwestern in Raleigh.
Northwestern is still very perimeter oriented In Chris Collins first season. Alex Olah is NU's only starter over 6'6. The seven footer from Romania needs to play bigger. He is averaging 8.0 PPG and 4.4 RPG. He is also shooting 82.4 percent from the line.
Redshirt freshman Sanjay Lumpkin is second on NU in rebounding at 5.5 per game. The Wildcats have held their own on the boards thus far with a plus two rebounds edge through eight games. Further illustrating Northwestern's rebounding troubles, earlier this season, Lumpkin became the first NU player with back to back double digit rebounding games since the 2009-10 season.
After struggling against Missouri and sitting out the UCLA game with back spasms, Drew Crawford is expected back against the Wolfpack per Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune. Crawford leads the Wildcats in rebounding at 6.9, is second in scoring and is shooting 44 percent from three point range.
After a year off, Jershon Cobb is leading Northwestern in scoring at 15.1 PPG, with 13 three pointers made, has hit 77.8 percent of his free throws and is pulling down 4.8 RPG.
Northwestern will have to take care of the ball against the Wolfpack. NU enters the game with a 1.1 Plus turnover margin through eight games. NCSt. commits just 10 turnovers per games.
Sophomore forward T.J. Warren and Senior Center Jordan Vanderberg are the players to watch for the Wolfpack. Warren is coming off a pair of 30 point games and averages 22.7 PPG on the season. The 7'0 Venderberg averages 10.5 PPG and 9.0 RPG.
NU and NCST tips off at 630pm CST on ESPNU.