Usually it is Davidson who hopes to use the bigger school as a springboard for down the road goals, but the roles have reversed at least for this season.
NC State plays at No. 22-ranked Davidson today at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, with the chance to help itself. The 4-0 Wolfpack are looking for their first big win of the season, which can help with their postseason resume come March. Defeating 5-1 Davidson, which is led by star junior guard Stephen Curry, is the perfect opportunity.
"I think it definitely [will help] at this point, it won't tell us our destiny or the outcome of our year," NC State coach Sidney Lowe said. "I think this is a good game for us to see where we are. We are playing against a nationally ranked team with a great player. A team that plays hard and a team that executes. You have to play well to beat this team because they don't seem to have bad games.
"Yeah, it will tell us a little something about where we are, how far we have to go to get to where we have to be. This is a great test."
NC State played at New Orleans to open the season in front of less than 1,500 fans, but Davidson will give the Wolfpack a chance to see how they fare on the road and at a pro arena.
"We're going to get into conference play soon, as you said hostile environments. I think definitely as I just said, I think it is good, it is good that we get this game," Lowe said. "It is early, so hopefully it will work out for us, hopefully it does give us some experience of going on the road. We went on the road the first game at New Orleans. Now we're in a different environment, different type of team. This would be a great opportunity for us to do something good."
NC State defeated Davidson last year 66-65 on Dec. 21, 2007, which wasn't considered much of an upset at the time. However, when Davidson got hot at the end and were one Jason Richards' three-point attempt from a Final Four berth, the win ended up being a reminder of how NC State played at its best.
A win over Davidson this year would bring a different reaction.
"I think our mentality would be just that, we got that win, it's a great win, now let's keep moving on and take the next one," Lowe said. "We get this win, we won't look down the road and say, 'Well, we should do this now.' We got to get the next one.
"We're still working to getting to a certain level as a team. We're not quite there yet, but we're definitely moving in that direction, and certainly if we go down there and get that win, that would be a big bump, a big bump for our team."
NC State (4-0) at Davidson (5-1)
Game time: Today, Dec. 6, Noon — Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte
Television: Fox Sports Net South
PG — 10 Javier Gonzalez (5-11, Soph., 4.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.0 apg)
SG — 21 C.J. Williams (6-5, Fr., 1.5 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 1.0 apg)
SF — 4 Courtney Fells (6-6, Sr., 16.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.0 apg)
PF — 33 Brandon Costner (6-9, R-Jr., 11.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.5 bpg)
C — 34 Ben McCauley (6-9, Sr., 15.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, 2.0 spg)
PG — 30 Stephen Curry (6-3, Jr., 29.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 7.0 apg, 3.0 spg)
SG — 24 Bryant Barr (6-4, Jr., 11.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.7 apg)
SF — 14 Max Paulhus Gosselin (6-6, Sr., 4.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.0 apg, 2.3 spg)
PF — 23 Stephen Rossiter (6-7, Jr., 8.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.5 spg)
C — 41 Andrew Lovedale (6-8, Sr., 14.8 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 0.5 apg)
Location: Davidson, N.C.
2007-08 record: 29-7
2008 postseason: Lost 59-57 to Kansas in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament
Coach: Bob McKillip, 20th season overall and at Davidson (345-226)
The all-time series with NC State: NC State leads 69-13
Last meeting with NC State: NC State won 66-65 on Dec. 21, 2007, in Raleigh, N.C.
Davidson: The Wildcats have won 30 of their last 32 games dating back to Jan. 3, 2008, and are playing at Time Warner Cable Arena for just the third time, losing to Duke and North Carolina last year … Davidson defeated Winthrop 97-70 on Nov. 21, while NC State defeated the Eagles 74-48 on Nov. 25 … Lovedale has posted a double-double in three straight games … Curry has hit the 20-point mark in 52 games, the 30-point mark in 19 contests, and the 40-point plateau three times in his career … Curry dropped a career-high 44 points, shooting 12 of 29 from the field, against Oklahoma on Nov. 18. He also scored zero points on three shot attempts when Loyola (Md.) decided to double team him and play 3 on 4 against the other Wildcats' players Nov. 25.
NC State: The Wolfpack expect to gain back redshirt junior point guard Farnold Degand, who has missed the last three games because of tendinitis in his knee area … Degand's replacement, Gonzalez, is second in the ACC in assist-to-turnover with 4.0 … The last time NCSU won at a ranked non-conference opponent was in 2001-02 against Syracuse … The Pack leads the ACC in scoring defense, giving up 53.8 points per game, and no opponent has scored more than 59 … NC State's needed two Gavin Grant free throws with 3.9 seconds left to defeat Davidson 66-65 last year. Grant scored a team-high 15 points and Costner had 13 points and six rebounds.