Howard, Kentucky looking for Sweet 16 bid

By JOEDY McCREARY
Posted 3/24/19

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State has been nearly perfect in NCAA Tournament games in its hometown.Standing between the Wolfpack and another Sweet 16 appearance is Kentucky and its …

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Howard, Kentucky looking for Sweet 16 bid

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State has been nearly perfect in NCAA Tournament games in its hometown.

Standing between the Wolfpack and another Sweet 16 appearance is Kentucky and its turnover-forcing press.

Third-seeded N.C. State (27-5) faces the sixth-seeded Wildcats (25-7) on Monday night in a second-round matchup with the winner advancing to the semifinals in the Greensboro Region.

These teams want to play in drastically different ways. Kentucky wants to speed things up, ranking eighth in Division I by forcing a Southeastern Conference-best 21.4 turnovers per game.

N.C. State's path to victory involves controlling the glass: The Wolfpack rank 13th in the nation with an average rebounding margin of plus-8.8.

"One way to slow it down is to get stops, and a big part of that is making sure they only get one shot a possession, and that we continue to do a great job on the boards," N.C. State coach Wes Moore said Sunday. "It definitely creates a big challenge for us."

The Wolfpack, who are ranked 10th in the national rankings, have been tough to beat in NCAA Tournament games in Raleigh, improving to 15-2 all-time while not losing one since 1983. N.C. State also hasn't lost at home to any non-Atlantic Coast Conference opponent since 2015, running the streak to 28 in a row with a 63-51 first-round victory over Maine.

Kentucky, which is ranked 17th, figures to present a formidable test. The Wildcats have been tournament regulars, with their run of eight consecutive appearances ending last year.

But leaving Lexington for the opening weekend brings a new set of challenges. Kentucky's first-round victory over Princeton marked its first out-of-town tournament game since 2014 and its first NCAA victory outside the commonwealth since the regional semifinals the year before. The current team is 6-3 in road games.

"I feel like we've been playing really well on the road this year, and we're ready for the challenge," guard Jaida Roper said.

Some things to know about the Kentucky-N.C. State matchup:

STAR FRESHMEN

Both teams have impact freshmen getting their first taste of the tournament. Kentucky's Rhyne Howard, the SEC's newcomer of the year, averages a team-best 16.3 points and scored 15 in her NCAA Tournament debut. For N.C. State, Elissa Cunane has bolstered the front line, averaging 13 points and 5.9 rebounds with at least nine rebounds in three of her past six games.

WHISTLE STOP

N.C. State is one of the least foul-prone teams in the country. Only Colorado State averages fewer than the Wolfpack's 12.3 fouls per game. They were called for just six fouls against Maine and the Black Bears did not attempt a free throw. So do the Wolfpack get all the calls? Guard Aislinn Konig says one key to their success is something Moore frequently preaches. "Never foul a jump shooter," she said. "Always allow them to miss."

CONNECTIONS

The schools haven't met since 1995 but Moore and Mitchell are familiar with each other. Mitchell was a graduate assistant to Pat Summitt at Tennessee about 20 years ago when Moore took the Chattanooga job, and Moore said he wound up paying Mitchell $100 to help lay the sod at his house. ... Retiring N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow coached at Kentucky from 1976-80 and went up against her sister — late Hall of Fame coach Kay Yow — in the 1980 AIAW Tournament in Raleigh. The Wolfpack won 71-63.

QUICK CHANGE

N.C. State also was hosting a men's National Invitation Tournament game Sunday night, and that meant a busy day at Reynolds Coliseum. Shortly after the Wildcats and Wolfpack finished their afternoon practices, workers were to begin removing the NCAA logos from the court and affixing new lines for the NIT's experimental rules — an extended 3-point line, a wider lane — for the second-round game against Harvard. The Wolfpack men played at Reynolds because the other tenant at PNC Arena — the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes — was playing Montreal on Sunday night.


NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament 

GREENSBORO REGIONAL

First Round

Friday, March 22

At Charlotte, N.C.

South Carolina 74, Belmont 52

Florida State 70, Bucknell 67

At Iowa City

Iowa 66, Mercer 61

Missouri 77, Drake 76, OT

Saturday, March 23

At Waco, Texas

California 92, North Carolina 72

Baylor 95, Abilene Christian 38

At Raleigh, N.C.

Kentucky 82, Princeton 77

N.C. State 63, Maine 51

Second Round

Sunday, March 24

At Charlotte, N.C.

South Carolina 72, Florida State 64

At Iowa City

Iowa 68, Missouri 52

Monday, March 25

At Waco, Texas

Baylor (32-1) vs. California (20-12), 9 p.m.

At Raleigh, N.C.

Kentucky (25-7) vs. N.C. State (27-5), 7 p.m.

Regional Semifinals

Saturday, March 30

At Greensboro, N.C.

Baylor-California winner vs. South Carolina (23-9), TBA

Kentucky-N.C. State winner vs. Iowa (28-6), TBA

Regional Championship

Monday, April 1

At Greensboro, N.C.

Semifinal winners

PORTLAND REGIONAL

First Round

Friday, March 22

At Starkville, Miss.

Clemson 79, South Dakota 66

Mississippi State 103, Southern University 46

At Coral Gables, Fla.

Arizona State 60, UCF 45

Miami 69, Florida Gulf Coast 62

At Eugene, Ore.

Indiana 69, Texas 65

Oregon 78, Portland State 40

Saturday, March 23

At Syracuse, N.Y.

South Dakota State 76, Quinnipiac 65

Syracuse 70, Fordham 49

Second Round

Sunday, March 24

At Starkville, Miss.

Mississippi State 85, Clemson 61

At Coral Gables, Fla.

Arizona State 57, Miami 55

At Eugene, Ore.

Oregon 91, Indiana 68

Monday, March 25

At Syracuse, N.Y.

South Dakota State (27-6) vs. Syracuse (25-8), 7 p.m.

Regional Semifinals

Friday, March 29

At Portland, Ore.

Mississippi State (32-2) vs. Arizona State (22-10), TBA

South Dakota State-Syracuse winner, vs. Oregon (31-4), TBA

Regional Championship

Sunday, March 31

At Portland, Ore.

Semifinal winners

CHICAGO REGIONAL

First Round

Friday, March 22

College Station, Texas

Marquette 58, Rice 54, OT

Texas A&M 84, Wright State 61

Saturday, March 23

At Notre Dame, Ind.

Notre Dame 92, Bethune-Cookman 50

Michigan State 88, Central Michigan 87

At Ames, Iowa

Missouri State 89, DePaul 78

Iowa State 97, New Mexico State 61

At Stanford, Calif.

BYU 73, Auburn 64

Stanford 79, UC Davis 54

Second Round

Sunday, March 24

College Station, Texas

Texas A&M 78, Marquette 76

Monday, March 25

At Notre Dame, Ind.

Notre Dame (31-3) vs. Michigan State (21-11), 7 p.m.

At Ames, Iowa

Missouri State (23-9) vs. Iowa State (26-8), 9 p.m.

At Stanford, Calif.

BYU (26-6) vs. Stanford (29-4), 11 p.m.

Regional Semifinals

Saturday, March 30

At Chicago

Notre Dame-Central Michigan-Michigan State winner vs. Texas A&M (26-7), TBA

Missouri State-Iowa State winner vs. BYU-Stanford winner, TBA

Regional Championship

Monday, April 1

At Chicago

Semifinal winners

ALBANY REGIONAL

First Round

Friday, March 22

At Louisville, Ky.

Louisville 69, Robert Morris 34

Michigan 84, Kansas State 54

At Storrs, Conn.

Buffalo 82, Rutgers 71

UConn 110, Towson 61

Saturday, March 23

At Corvallis, Ore.

Gonzaga 68, Little Rock 51

Oregon State 80, Boise State 75, OT

At College Park, Md.

Maryland 73, Radford 51

UCLA 89, Tennessee 77

Second Round

Sunday, March 24

At Louisville, Ky.

Louisville 71, Michigan 50

At Storrs, Conn.

UConn 84, Buffalo 72

Monday, March 25

At Corvallis, Ore.

Gonzaga (29-4) vs. Oregon State (25-7), 9 p.m.

At College Park, Md.

UCLA (21-12) vs. Maryland (29-4), 7 p.m.

Regional Semifinals

Friday, March 29

At Albany, N.Y.

Louisville (31-3) vs. Gonzaga-Oregon State winner, TBA

UCLA-Maryland winner vs. UConn (33-2), TBA

Regional Championship

Sunday, March 31

At Albany, N.Y.

Semifinal winners

FINAL FOUR

At Tampa, Fla.

National Semifinals

Friday, April 5

Greensboro winner vs. Portland winner, 7 or 9:30 p.m.

Albany winner vs. Chicago winner, 7 or 9:30 p.m.

National Championship

Sunday, April 7

Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.

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