Game Preview Predictions: N.C. State

Game Information
Western Michigan Broncos (8-4) at #23 North Carolina State Wolfpack (9-2)
Location: Raleigh, NC
Venue: PNC Arena
Capacity: 19,722
Saturday, December 29 at 12:00 p.m.
All-time series record: 0-0 (first meeting)
Broadcast Information
Radio: Bronco Radio Network
Announcer: Sean Fagan
Stations: WKZO - 96.5 FM: (Flagship) Kalamazoo, Portage, Mattawan; WMAX - 96.1 FM: Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon; WVIC - 94.1 FM: Lansing, Jackson, Battle Creek
Pre-game: Begins at 11:30 a.m.
Television: ESPNU
Talent: Lou Canellis & Dereck Whittenburg
Mark Gottfried's record at N.C. State 33-15 (2nd season)
Steve Hawkins' record at Western Michigan: 167-136 (10th season)
Additional Information
- The Broncos are 6-1 all-time against the Atlantic Coast Conference, including a 5-0 record against Virginia Tech and a 1-0 record
against Clemson.
- Shayne Whittington averaged 22.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last week on his way to earning MAC West Player of the Week.
- The Broncos received nine votes in this week's Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
- Darius Paul leads all freshmen in the MAC in scoring (12.0 ppg) and rebounds (6.6 rpg).
- Connar Tava is averaging 7.7 points off the bench in each of his last three games.
- Austin Richie recorded a career-high eight assists in the win against Mount St. Mary's, recording just one turnover.
- The Broncos recorded 21 assists in the win against Mount St. Mary's, the third-highest single-game total in program history.
- Shayne Whittington went 10-of-11 from the field against Mount St. Mary's, one of just five total 10-of-11 shooting performances in school history and one of the six best shooting performances in program history.
- The Broncos lead the Mid-American Conference in rebounding margin at +8.8
Staff Predictions
Brian Persky: This will be Western Michigan's biggest test defensively yet this season, especially on the inside. The Wolfpack provide a different kind of challenge offensively, and I'm not sure Michigan, Illinois State, or anyone else on their schedule has provided anything even close for the Broncos to get a taste of what they're going to see today.
If the Broncos are going to pull off the upset in Raleigh, they'll need big games defensively from Shayne Whittington and Darius Paul. On top of that, Bronco guards Austin Richie and Brandon Pokley will need to have solid days as well. Even then, I'm just not sure Western Michigan can keep up with N.C. State offensively.
Score Prediction: N.C. State 87, Western Michigan 63
David James: This is the Broncos' last chance to make a real splash in non-conference play, but the stars don't seem aligned for WMU. N.C. State has been solid all year with discouraging results against similar opponents to the Broncos.
It's unlikely WMU catches the Wolfpack on a letdown, either, as they're coming off of an easy win over St. Bonaventure and face UNC-Greensboro next. I'm just not seeing the opportunity for a win, although it should be closer than the debacle at Michigan.
Score Prediction: N.C. State 78, Western Michigan 60
D.J. Duckett: It's always tough playing ranked teams at this point in the season. Especially on the road, I can't see WMU getting the victory. Keeping it close may be hard, but I think the Broncos have a shot to do so.
Score Prediction: N.C. State 82, Western Michigan 67
Brandon Fitzsimons: WMU should be well over-matched in this game, and to make things worse, it's on the road. N.C. State was a top 10 team for a reason, and they show it right before conference play starts. Still, WMU has a decent showing to help enter the toughest MAC opening duo of games.
Score Prediction: N.C. State 84, Western Michigan 66
Additional Links
WMU vs. N.C. State: Q & A with the Wolfpacker ($)
The Wolfpacker: Gottfried, players meet with media (audio)
WMU Athletics: Broncos Close Non-Conference at #23/25 N.C. State
WMU Athletics: Official Game Notes
MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette: Western Michigan basketball's Shayne Whittington now 'game-changer,' team faces test today at No. 23 N.C. State (analysis, prediction)
N.C. State Athletics: No. 23 Wolfpack Take On Western Michigan Saturday At Noon
Western Michigan Vs. NC State Preview: Lack Of Depth, Skilled Guards Likely To Doom Broncos
N.C. State vs. Western Michigan: Three to know
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