North Carolina State University
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Head coach: Kevin Keatts, third season
2018-19 record: 24-12 (9-9 ACC)
Last time in NCAA Tournament: 2018, lost in first round to Seton Hall
Top three returning scorers: Markell Johnson, senior, guard, 12.6 ppg; C.J. Bryce, senior, guard, 11.6 ppg; Braxton Beverly, junior, guard, 9.4 ppg
Key loss: Torin Dorn, guard, 14 ppg, 7.2 rpg, graduated
Exciting newcomer: Pat Andree, a grad transfer forward from Lehigh, arrives in Raleigh after averaging 12.9 points per game and shooting 41.9% from three last season. At 6-foot-8, Andree adds some much needed size to a team that lacks depth in the front court.
Date of game: Wednesday, December 4th, 8:15 p.m. CT, ESPN2
Location: PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
Preview: For the second straight year, NC State and Wisconsin will play each other in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Badgers will travel to Raleigh to play a Wolfpack team that returns six of their top seven scorers from a season ago. Preseason All-ACC guard Markell Johnson is the clear leader of the team. The senior averaged 12.6 points per game, shot 42.2% from behind the arc last season and should be one of the top scorers in the ACC this year.
NC State is loaded at the guard position heading into the 2019-20 season. Along with Johnson, senior C.J. Bryce and junior Braxton Beverly return as starters in head coach Kevin Keatts’ three guard lineup. Junior D.J. Funderburk and grad transfer Pat Andree will be important contributors in the front court.
This game will no doubt be a challenge for the Badgers. The trip to Raleigh will be their first road game of the season and NC State projects to be one of the better teams in the ACC. This matchup will likely come down to which team’s guards can knock down three point shots, but forward Nate Reuvers has a great opportunity to take advantage of NC State’s limited front court talent. This is a true toss up game, but I like Wisconsin to squeak out a win behind a big game from Reuvers.
Prediction: Badgers win 77-75