Before I tackle the UNC game, I want to take a look at ESPNW's Power Rankings posted earlier this week and also at
Charlie Crème's bracketology posted today.
First the Power Rankings:
The Wolfpack climbed back into the Power Rankings' top five with double-digit road victories over Clemson and Boston College, led by senior guard Madison Hayes' combined 38 points and 23 rebounds. NC State trails four other teams in the ACC but is entering the "prove it" part of its league schedule: Four of its next five games are against ranked teams.
Note this: NC State trails four other teams in the ACC but is entering the "prove it" part of its league schedule: Four of its next five games are against ranked teams.
I see it "thataway".
With regard to Crème's bracketology, State is again a number 1 seed in Albany 4. There are four brackets which are Albany 1, Albany 4, Portland 3 and Portland 2. I presume that after the first two rounds of the 2024 NCAA Tournament, eight of the remaining sixteen teams will go to one site in Albany and eight of the sixteen teams will go to one site in Portland. I don't remember if this format was used last season but I knew it was coming. The main reason was to get more fans at the sweet sixteen games and at the elite eight games. Of course, UConn had no problem getting fans to those games in 2022 as the games were at their home away from home court; however, I remember Greensboro being mostly empty for many sweet sixteen and elite eight games even when State played there in 2019.
On to UNC!
State host UNC Thursday night, February 1st, at 8 p.m. The game is an ACC Network telecast. (By the way did anyone notice Mark Packer's reference to Lexington Barbecue on the Tuesday, January 30th ACC PM show? I think BTP fans have discussed best N.C. barbecue restaurants before. Lexington Barbecue is among the best, right?)
State's game against UNC is the first of three major home games those being against UNC, against Louisville in the "Play4Kay" game, and against VaTech. Even if all of these games are home games, having to play against the best in the conference for three straight games is daunting. I think that if State is to finish among the top four teams in the conference, State needs to sweep these games.
I am not going to detail who starts for UNC or who is the leading scorer or rebounder because it is UNC- fans of our women's team know those things. What I am just going to do is give the warrennolan stuff and the predictions and my point of view which is we win despite the fact that UNC is not going to want to lose two in a row. Did one notice that Coach Banghart almost was crying as her team went down to UVA. UVA! UVA!
UNC has a Live RPI of 25, an overall record of 15-6, a conference record of 7-2, a NET of 32, an ELO of 20, a SOS of 20, a NET quad 1 record of 4-5, and an RPI quad 1 record of 3-5. UNC's best win is that 61-57 road win over NET 10 Notre Dame. UNC also beat NET 22 Louisville at home by a score of 79-68.
State has a Live RPI of 5, an overall record of 18-2, a conference record of 6-2, a NET of 9, an ELO of 6, an SOS of 13, and NET and RPI quad 1 records of 4-2. State's best wins are the home win over NET 3 UConn and the NET 17 Colorado win in the Paradise Jam.
A note: UNC has played more quad 1 teams than State-wondering why their SOS is not better.
RP predicts State to beat UNC 70-60 with a win probability of 80%.
Herhoopstats surprisingly predicts State to beat UNC at home, on the road and at a neutral site (I figured UNC would get the nod for their home game). With the game in Raleigh, the site predicts State to win by a score of 70-61.5 and with a win-probability of 76.9%. We were lucky to have beaten UNC last season in Raleigh-if Ustby had played we would not have won.
Looking at herhoopstats ratings, UNC's value and rank are 26.5 and 31/360. State's are 33.9 and 13/360. For offensive ratings, UNC's value and rank are 105 and 48/360 while State's are 110.2 and 19/360. For defensive ratings, UNC's value and rank are 78.5 and 17/360 while State's are 76.4 and 7/360.
It better be a State win and I am happy we play Louisville next Monday instead of next Sunday. Playing Louisville on Sunday after a big game with UNC on Thursday night would have been "too soon".
I am looking forward to the Hayes/Ustby matchup, but not sure they will guard each other. I am thinking it will be Mimi guarding Ustby until Zoe subs in and River subs out. Ustby has better foot work and scoring inside than Hayes, but Hayes shoots the three and mid-range better. Both play really hard and are the glue for their teams.