N.C. State-Wake Forest: Can Wolfpack Down In-State Rival?

Allen LoppCorrespondent IFebruary 19, 2010

The N.C. State Wolfpack have in-state rival Wake Forest coming to town—and the Demon Deacons are looking to add another victory to their resume.

Wake is coming off a tough loss against a very good Virginia Tech team, and they will be looking to vault back into the top of the ACC to gain a first-round bye in the ACC tournament.

N.C. State is also coming off a disappointing loss against another good ACC team in Maryland. The Wolfpack once again played a very good and efficient first half of basketball, but they once again failed to finish the game.

In the first game of this series, the Wolfpack failed to shoot the ball effectually—not only from the field, but also from the free-throw line. The Wolfpack as a team shoot 33.9 percent from the field and 57 percent from the free-throw line.

Tracy Smith was in foul trouble the majority of the game until he fouled out—and once he did, the Demon Deacons pulled away. It is going to be very important that he stays out of foul trouble and attacks the basket and scores.

I know that I might sound like a broken record, but somebody is going to have to step up and score on a consistent basis. I would really like to see Scott Wood get hot again and score similar to how he did at Florida State.

Although it was nice to see Dennis Horner get more involved, it was a little disheartening to see Smith get complacent against Maryland.

Obviously, Wake Forest is a team with a lot of height, and it is going to be difficult to defend them unless players like Jordan Vandenburg and DeShawn Painter see more playing time on Saturday.

Sticking with the topic of Wake's big men, limiting Al-Faroug Aminu's touches will be vital in pulling off this upset. Unfortunately, Wake isn't as one-dimensional as N.C. State is, and Wake's point guard Ishmael Smith is another weapon in its arsenal.

"Ish," as he is commonly referred to by Wake Forest fans, is arguably the fastest player in the ACC. He can not only slash his way to the basket, but he can also on occasion step back and make some threes.

With saying all of this, Wake is not an invincible team and could beaten for the upset. The Wolfpack did only lose by eight the first time around, and they played very poorly.

This will be another interesting ACC game. Despite N.C. State being in the cellar of the ACC, it is a talented team—and any team the Wolfpack plays should be on full upset alert.