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March 17, 2012

Wolfpack-Hoyas will be a battle of tempos

COLUMBUS, Ohio - In its 79-65 win over San Diego State Friday, the North Carolina State basketball team enjoyed a size advantage in the post, and took advantage of it. On Sunday, the Wolfpack will face a whole different beast in No. 3 seed Georgetown.

The Hoyas have just one player on their roster listed under 6-5 and will regularly have three or four 6-7-plus players on the court. It will be a big game-to-game adjustment, but it's nothing new for the Wolfpack, says senior C.J. Williams.

"We've been doing it all season. We play teams like Boston College, which is more perimeter-oriented, then come back and play North Carolina," Williams said. "It's all a part of basketball. We're used to having to change up the gameplan a lot. We'll just come out and play.

"It's going to be tough to get baskets. But it we execute our offense and get them to move, that's going to be the key to us winning. We just have to screen better, move the ball around and get the defense moving so we can find open shots. I know Georgetown likes to run a lot of zone, so we have to penetrate the gap and look for people on the perimeter or attack."

N.C. State isn't particularly familiar with Georgetown. The two played last season, an 82-67 loss, and most players did not watch the Hoyas' 74-59 win over Belmont Friday.

"We'll look at video, and we also in practice, when we have walkthrough, our coach goes over every team's player and we go over their personnel and what they do best and what they can do and what they like to do," sophomore C.J. Leslie said. "That all goes with later on tonight we'll watch film."

Leslie was one of the few players that watched a bit of Georgetown's second-round win.

"If I picked a team out of the ACC, [they remind me of] Boston College," Leslie said. "But to go away from out of the ACC, a team we played is Princeton that they remind us of. So that's a very good comparison.

"We know that they like to stay in the 50s with the game, and we're kind of an up tempo team. So our main thing is just to get our flow going and just get a fast paced game going."

The Hoyas like to use backdoor cuts and a Princeton-style game that is hard to prepare for if you haven't seen much of it.

"Sometimes that backdoor cut, it just hurts worse [to get beat by it]," Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. "So mentally you've got to understand that they're going to do what they do. That's what they've practiced every day. We're going to do what we do every day.

"We're not going to shut them out. They are going to score and they are going to score the way they score, but what we have to do is figure out how to take certain things away, disrupt them just like they're trying to do with us, the same things you do every game. But that Princeton style offense, it gets us a little bit woozy every now and then because it's such a unique thing."

The team the controls the tempo will have a big advantage Sunday. The Hoyas will want to slow it down; N.C. State will do whatever it can to pick things up.

Junior forward Richard Howell remembers the game from last year, and says it can be "very frustrating" to play Georgetown, because of their ball-control offense.

"They're the type of team who doesn't want to score 80 or 90 points," Howell said. "They don't want to get up and down the floor; they just want to play a very slow paced game. That's something we don't want to do. We want to get up and down.

"I feel like our defense is something that's going to have to step up again like last night and stop the backdoor cuts and all of those other things that they do."


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