Count North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried among those who are excited about the ACC's first 18-game schedule.
His 23rd-ranked Wolfpack have won seven straight as they begin conference play Saturday on the road against a young Boston College team that has won five in a row.
North Carolina State (11-2) completed the non-conference portion of its schedule by leading the nation in field-goal percentage at 53.5. The Wolfpack, whose 55.5 percent shooting the last six games is their best in any six-game span since the start of the 1996-97 season, were picked to win the ACC by league coaches and media, and were the conference's highest ranked team in the preseason at No. 6.
"Now it is time to get ready for an 18-game league schedule," Gottfried said. "Not a 16-game schedule like it has been in the past."
Although the Wolfpack played quality non-ACC opponents in Michigan, Oklahoma State — both currently ranked above them in the top 25 — and Connecticut, Gottfried is happy to have more teams from the conference on his schedule.
"It's going to be a little different for everybody," Gottfried said. "I'm a big fan of that, and I'll tell you why. There's more quality opponents across the board in the league. Those two extra games, when we are done this season, will give everybody a higher RPI."
NC State has five players averaging double figures in points, led by C.J. Leslie's 15.8 per game. Leslie scored 21 and Scott Wood and Lorenzo Brown each added 15 in Monday's 89-68 win over Boston College.
Wolfpack freshman T.J. Warren is second in the nation in field-goal percentage at 69.4 while Brown leads the ACC with 6.3 assists per game.
"Not really caring who scores the ball, I think that's what makes us dangerous," Wood said. "There's no particular one person that you can stop, and if you do try and stop those two, three people, then two other people have the ability to go for 20 in that game."
The Wolfpack won all three matchups with Boston College (8-5) last season, including a 78-57 victory in the conference tournament that handed the Eagles their school-record 22nd loss.
Boston College has already surpassed its six victories from 2011-12, using a lineup comprised of sophomores and freshmen. Those classes account for 94 percent of the Eagles' scoring this season.
One of those freshmen, Joe Rahon, made all six 3-pointers and scored a season-high 24 points in Monday's 79-58 victory over Dartmouth. Rahon is the brother of senior guard James Rahon of No. 19 San Diego State.
Ryan Anderson averages team highs of 15.9 points and 9.5 rebounds for BC. Anderson has topped 20 points five times this season after doing so three times as a freshman in 2011-12, including a 22-point, 12-rebound effort against the Wolfpack in the ACC tournament.
This figures to be a difficult matchup since the Eagles are allowing opponents to shoot 43.1 percent for the ACC's second-worst mark and a league-worst 34.8 percent on 3-pointers. NC State is second in the ACC in 3-point percentage at 39.3.
NC State last won eight straight when it opened 8-0 in 2004-05.
Boston College preview
Boston College (8-5) at No. 23 NC State (11-2)
Game time: Saturday, Jan. 5, 4 p.m. — Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
PG — 2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, Jr., 12.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 6.3 apg, 2.4 spg)
SG — 0 Rodney Purvis (6-3, 195, Fr., 9.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.9 apg)
SF — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 169, Sr., 11.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.0 bpg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-9, 200, Jr., 15.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.2 spg, 1.0 bpg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 257, Sr., 13.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.8 apg)
PG — 25 Joe Rahon (6-2, 195, Fr., 11.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.1 spg)
SG — 21 Olivier Hanlan (6-4, 188, Fr., 13.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.0 spg)
SG — 20 Lonnie Jackson (6-3, 180, Soph., 8.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.2 apg)
SF — 33 Patrick Heckmann (6-5, 205, Soph., 9.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.6 apg)
PF — 12 Ryan Anderson (6-8, 220, Soph., 15.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.3 apg)
Location: Chestnut Hill, Mass.
2011-12 record: 9-22 overall, 4-12 ACC
2012 postseason: None
Coach: Steve Donahue, third season at Boston College (38-40) and 13th overall (183-178)
Series: Boston College leads 8-6
Last meeting: NC State won 78-57 on March 8, 2012, at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
Boston College: Anderson has blossomed in his sophomore season, and has scored at least 23 points in five different games. He has 29 points and 17 rebounds in the season opener against Florida International on Nov. 11, and racked up 23 points, 19 boards and three blocks against New Hampshire on Dec. 16. Anderson shot 43.3 percent as a freshman last year, but has improved to 51.1 … Two freshman have solidified spots in the starting backcourt. Rahon is shooting 35.6 percent from three-point land. Rahon has scored at least 11 points in all bout five games … Hanlon had 22 points and went 15 of 19 from the free-throw line during Boston College's 73-61 win over Penn State on Nov. 28. He has cracked double figures in all but three games, and has one double-double with 17 pints and 12 rebounds in a 71-68 win over Providence on Dec. 22. He is shooting 32 percent from three-point land … Heckmann has started the last seven games for the Eagles. The native of Germany had 19 points, five steals and went 5 of 7 from three-point land in the win over Holy Cross on Dec. 29, and added 18 points and 4 of 6 from beyond the arc in a loss at College of Charleston on Nov. 18. Heckmann is shooting 41.2 percent from three-point land … Jackson has fallen off a tad in his shooting percentages, shooting an identical 33.3 percent from the field and on three-pointers. He has scored in double figures in five games, including a season-high 14 and four three-pointers against College of Charleston. Jackson has started nine out of 13 games this season, and all but seven games last year. He had a career-high 26 points and went 7 of 11 from three-point land against Bryant last year Dec. 18, 2011 … Sophomore center Dennis Clifford averaged 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game last year, but the 7-foot, 250-pounder has been battling injuries and hasn't started since the Penn State win Nov. 28. Clifford is averaging 5.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 19.3 minutes of action, and tallied eight minutes in BC's last game against Dartmouth. Clifford scored a career-high 16 points against Sacred Heart last year, and had 15 points in a pair of games against Clemson and Virginia Tech.