M College BB
Weekly lineup
 Tuesday, March 14
N.C. State vs. Purdue
By Jay Bilas
Special to ESPN.com

 Last season, North Carolina State was one of two ACC teams in the NIT that thought they should have been in the NCAA field of 64. However, the numbers that N.C. State put up in 1999 suggest otherwise. The Wolfpack went 6-10 in the ACC, but were an anemic 1-8 on the road. Nine of the Wolfpack's wins were against teams ranked below the top 150.

Given that the ACC is a difficult league to find wins, this game against Purdue provides an opportunity to gain a quality road win that will impress this year's selection committee.

Purdue was a Jekyll-and-Hyde performer last season, but showed how good it could be when it got to the NCAA Tournament. Gene Keady is one of the best coaches in America, yet gets little credit for his great success. Keady seems energized by this group, and through their hard work and conditioning, the Boilermakers have a chance to be very good.

When N.C. State has the ball
Herb Sendek has instituted more of a motion offense this season at N.C. State, instead of the set plays he opted for last season. Sendek has more quickness and depth, and the motion offense he ran while an assistant at Kentucky fits this group better.

Players to watch
Purdue's Jaraan Cornell and N.C. State's Anthony Grundy. Cornell is silky smooth and works off of screens very effectively. When he gets an open look, he has the ability to knock it down. Cornell has to hunt for his shot more --Purdue needs him to take more good shots.

Grundy is a long-armed guard with great ability. Grundy is one of the better defenders in the ACC, and can get steals and deflections as well as score.

N.C. State has a nice inside-outside mix of talent, and there are several first-year players who will have an impact on the Wolfpack. Kenny Inge and Damon Thornton return inside, and both are athletic and strong. Thornton is healthy for the first time in his career, and is a good offensive rebounder who can attack the basket when he receives the ball inside. Inge is a volatile talent, both emotionally and physically. He gets off of the floor in a hurry, and is an excellent finisher around the hole.

Freshman swingman Damien Wilkins is a strong wing player who can shoot or drive, and he adds scoring ability at the three spot. Justin Gainey, Anthony Grundy and Archie Miller are capable guards, and freshmen Clifford Crawford and Marshall Williams will both see significant time.

Watch for Wilkins' ability to get out in transition and take the ball to the basket. While he can shoot it, he is reputed to be best when he puts the ball on the floor. Also, keep your eye on Miller. While he may not look like much, Miller has the potential to go off and hit multiple threes if he gets open looks.

When Purdue has the ball
N.C. State will press in the fullcourt more this season, trapping primary ball-handlers to get the ball in the hands of those who do not normally handle it. When the Wolfpack trap, it may open up 3-pointers in transition for Purdue if the 'Pack fails to get back and identify shooters.

Purdue has played 94 feet over the past few seasons, but last season the Boilermakers did not run the floor consistently. It will be interesting to see if Purdue will continue to press fullcourt. On offense, Purdue runs a passing game with a few set plays that leads it into its passing game. Jaraan Cornell is the shooter who Keady wants to see with the ball in his hands as often as possible. A lefty, Cornell defends well and shoots with consistency.

Cornell had a bit of a shock last season when he and Brian Cardinal were the primary threats that other teams targeted in their scouting reports. The season before, Chad Austin and Brad Miller were the targets, and Cornell was able to find opportunities off of them. This could be a big year for Cornell because he knows exactly what to expect from the first day.

The guy that will get the ball to Cornell is Carson Cunningham, the transfer from Oregon State. Cunningham has put on weight and muscle, and will be looking to cut down on turnovers.

Cardinal plays with reckless abandon, and is the emotional leader on the court. However, Cardinal did not look to score as much as Keady would have liked last season. It's time for Cardinal to step forward to be a marquee player, and nobody wants him to do that more than Keady. Cardinal makes a huge impact on the game by doing the little things like diving on the floor for loose balls, making steals or playing great post defense.

Mike Robinson, Greg McQuay, John Allison and Rodney Smith all improved over the summer, and each of them needs to step forward and produce on the glass and when they get the ball. Robinson and McQuay have the ability to be solid Big Ten performers.


Bilas' breakdown: Wisconsin vs. Wake Forest

Bilas' breakdown: Duke vs. Illinois

Bilas' breakdown: Iowa vs. Maryland

Bilas' breakdown: Virginia vs. Minnesota

Bilas' breakdown: Michigan State vs. North Carolina

Bilas' breakdown: Michigan vs. Georgia Tech

Bilas' breakdown: Clemson vs. Penn State

Bilas' breakdown: Florida State vs. Northwestern