What Texas Tech basketball fans need to know about NC State

Texas Tech fans likely don't know too much about the NC State Wolfpack so here is a quick souting report.

North Carolina v NC State
North Carolina v NC State / Greg Fiume/GettyImages
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The Texas Tech basketball team doesn't play the ACC much. To be exact, in 99 years of competition, the program has faced teams currently in the ACC only 36 times.

Unfortunately, Tech has just an 11-25 record in those games. That includes a loss to Duke in the 2022 Sweet 16, a loss to Virginia in the 2019 National Championship Game, and a first-round loss to Boston College in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

The Red Raiders now have the task of facing NC State, one of the hottest teams in the nation, to open this year's March Madness. That's an opponent most Texas Tech fans are rather unfamiliar with.

Sure, the Wolfpack just rattled off five wins in five days to claim an improbable ACC Tournament crown and earn an automatic bid into the field of 68. But are the Wolfpack really that good? Or, did they just get hot for a week?

Overall, they were just 17-14 in the regular season. That mark included losses to the likes of Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Pitt, and Wake Forest, all teams that missed the NCAA Tournament.

In the NCAA NET ranking, you have to drop all the way down to No. 63 to find the Wolfpack. What's more, in Quad-1 games this year, they are just 3-8 and that includes their miracle run through last week's conference tournament where they beat Duke and North Carolina on a neutral floor to account for two of their Quad-1 wins.

On the other hand, NC State did just rattle off five wins in five days beating three NCAA Tournament teams in the process. That's a feat that is tough for any team to pull off. So they are certainly peaking at just the right time.

So let's go deeper inside the NC State season and find out just what type of team Tech may encounter on Thursday night. As we do, we may get a better understanding of what type of opponent Grant McCasland's team could be dealing with in round one.

NC State features an dynamic guard

The Red Raiders are no stranger to dynamic guards this year. After all, the Big 12 season saw the Red Raiders tangle with Max Abmas of Texas, Jama Shead of Houston, Tamin Lipsy of Iowa State, Ja'Kobe Walter of Baylor, and Jaylin Sellers of UCF.

However, you could make a case that NC State's DJ Horne might be the most dangerous guard Tech has faced all year. That's especially true given how he's been playing as of late.

The senior from Raleigh, N.C. averages 16.9 points per game to go along with 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He's not large at just 6-foot-1, though, so Tech's smallish guards might be able to match him in stature.

Twice this year, Horne has topped the 30-point mark with both instances coming during ACC play. Also, he hung 29 on North Carolina in the championship game of the ACC Tournament.

Horne is a do-it-all guard. He can attack the rim but he also shoots just over 41% from 3-point range. In fact, he's already canned 93 shots from beyond the arc this season.

Look for Joe Toussaint to draw the defensive assignment on Horne for most of the night. That will be a fascinating individual matchup to watch and one that could tilt the balance of this game. But make no mistake, while NC State big man DJ Burns gets plenty of attention for his unusual body type, it is the other DJ, DJ Horne who is NC State's most dangerous player.