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N.C. State vs. Florida State

Thursday, March 10, 2005; Page D12

7. N.C. State [17-12] vs. 10. Florida State [12-18], 2 p.m.

Regular Season Meeting: Florida State 70, (at) N.C. State 64, Jan. 26 Leading scorer: Von Wafer, FSU, 23 points. Leading rebounder: Gavin Grant, N.C. State, 10. Records in ACC tournament: N.C. State, 75-41; Florida State, 5-13. Vs. each other in ACC tournament: N.C. State leads, 2-0

Back court: The Wolfpack have two big guards in sophomore Engin Atsur, from Turkey, and junior Tony Bethel, a transfer from Georgetown. Both can shoot the three-pointer and handle the ball decently well. Bethel, who was sidelined for a stretch this season with colitis, has regained his strength and is willing to take big shots. Julius Hodge, the reigning ACC player of the year, has looked to distribute the ball more and isn't shooting as much from the wing. The Seminoles play a lot of guards, with junior Todd Galloway and Von Wafer starting. Galloway is a good ballhandler and Wafer is among the league's better perimeter shooters. Wafer, a sophomore from Homer, La., is the team's most consistent scorer.

Front court: N.C. State was dealt a big blow in the regular season finale against Wake Forest when senior center Jordan Collins, from Hyattsville, separated his shoulder. He will probably miss all of the postseason. The Wolfpack will turn to three 6-foot-10 players -- senior Levi Watkins and freshmen Cedric Simmons and Andrew Brackman -- for help in the post. Junior Ilian Evtimov, from Bulgaria, has good size, rebounds well and can shoot the three-pointer. The Seminoles' post players have largely been a disappointment. Sophomore Alexander Johnson didn't build on an outstanding freshman season, and junior college transfer Diego Romero rarely leaves the bench. Sophomore Al Thornton is a potent scorer, and forwards Andrew Wilson, Adam Waleskowski and Anthony Richardson are all veteran players.

Coaching/Intangibles: The Wolfpack has plenty of motivation: Despite its 7-9 record in ACC play, N.C. State is still probably in contention for an NCAA at-large berth. Even though he has led N.C. State to the NCAA tournament three consecutive seasons, Coach Herb Sendek seemingly lives on the hot seat. The Seminoles have to win the ACC tournament to keep their season alive.

-- Mark Schlabach

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