NC State coach Kevin Keatts will be looking to sweep the Tar Heels in the regular season when the Wolfpack travel to Chapel Hill on Saturday.
Keatts said UNC has improved since the first meeting.
“They’ve gotten a lot better. (Caleb) Love and RJ Davis are playing really good basketball. They’ve becoming a little bit more confident. Love is shooting the ball a lot better. RJ, I think they settled him down by bringing him off the bench, which gives him a chance to see the flow of the game.”
“Any time you play Carolina, one of the things they hang their hat on is they’re a tremendous rebounding team,” Keatts continued. “(Armando) Bacot has become a really, really tremendous low-post scorer. He’s done a really good job. They’re playing with a lot of confidence. They’re shooting the ball a lot better than when we played them. I also think they’re taking care of the basketball.”
NC State, meanwhile, is dealing with injury and a battle with COVID that has kept the Wolfpack off the floor.
“Obviously, we’ve been off for 10 days,” Keatts said. “I hope we don’t play like we’ve been off for 10 days. … We’re rusty. We haven’t had a full group of guys to practice every day. … I don’t know how my team will react with 10-12 days off and not really having everybody on the floor at the same time. This will be a tough game to judge anything from.”
State also hopes to have one of its big men back.
“Manny Bates was able to go through some individual workouts the last couple days,” Keatts said. “We’re going to try to throw him into some live action to see how he does. A lot of that will determine if he plays in the game. He had a grade two ankle sprain. One of the biggest things we battle with him is trying to keep the swelling down.”