[9:05 PM] North Carolina State @ Illinois

Who will WIN this matchup?

North Carolina State Wolfpack (5-1)

@ Illinois Fighting Illini (4-3)


North Carolina State looks to pass its first true road test of the season when it faces Illinois as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday. The Wolfpack have won back-to-back games following a 79-77 victory over Loyola-Chicago, but have struggled on the road during the showcase against Big Ten opponents, dropping six of their last seven games away from Raleigh, and they hope to notch their first victory in the competition in almost three years.

The Fighting Illini have lost three straight games, including a shocking 84-80 overtime setback to Winthrop at home, to put fifth-year coach John Groce directly on the hot seat; they hope to ease the pressure by beating the Wolfpack for the fourth consecutive time.

Freshman guard Dennis Smith Jr. poured in a game-high 30 points to go along with seven assists and six rebounds in the win over Loyola-Chicago on Sunday. Torin Dorn added 20 points and pulled down five rebounds while Terry Henderson had 19 points as the trio accounted for 69 of the Wolfpacks’ 79 points against the Ramblers. Sophomore guard Maverick Rowan, who scored 17 points in the season opener, missed his fifth straight game due to a concussion while senior forward BeeJay Anya’s night was cut short when he was poked in the eye early in the first half; he’s is expected to suit up on Tuesday.

Senior guard Malcolm Hill scored 18 points and added eight rebounds in the loss to Florida State to finish in double figures for the third time in his last four games. Leron Black provided a huge lift off the bench as he produced 15 points and 11 rebounds while Lucas added a career-high 10 points. Senior forward Tracy Abrams, who has missed the last two seasons with various injuries, took an inadvertent elbow in the face against Florida State but is expected to play against the Wolfpack on Tuesday.

N.C. State has dropped eight of its last nine road games dating back to last season.


StreakSmarts Pick: Illinois Fighting Illini

Confidence: 4/10

StreakSmarter Pick