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Hosting #1

December 13, 2011

When the Wolfpack take on the Orangemen Saturday–or Orange if you want to be politically correct–it will mark only the second time in school history that State has hosted a non-conference opponent with a #1 ranking, the previous occasion being a 53-52 loss to Digger Phelps' Notre Dame squad in 1979.  Ten Atlantic Coast Conference teams have come to Raleigh to play the Pack while being ranked #1, two of those taking place against Duke at the RBC Center in 2002 and 2004.

The 2004 win over Duke is probably most remembered for Julius Hodge's comments in the post-game interview.

While it wasn't at home, another game that really sticks out in my mind is the game in Chapel Hill in 1998.

The CC Harrison game was one of my personal favorites because that was what made me get into State athletics.  My dad took me up to the game and on the ride he reminded me numerous times how we would probably get stomped.  I guess he was trying to curb the disappointment since I was too young to understand that Carolina was number one in the nation.  The Pack came out hot and it seemed like CC Harrison couldn't miss a shot.  He went 7-7 from 3-point range in the first half and took us into the half with the lead.

During the second half, when he wasn't making comments about the dance team, my dad kept warning me of an impending Wolfpack collapse, "Carolina's going to make a run; they always do." But on that day they didn't and we ended up beating the Heels comfortably by 14.  At the time that 14-point win was the largest margin of victory by an unranked team over a #1 team. 

Syracuse is a good team and it will take a much better effort from State than the one we saw Sunday in Reynolds to beat them.  This game is a chance to make up for the blown leads in the Indiana and Stanford games with a signature win.  State played well at the Carrier Dome last season and almost upset the then 7th ranked Orange.  Calvin had 13 points and 11 boards in that game coming off the bench.  I think we need another big performance from him to win on Saturday.  This is the first game for Boeheim's team outside of the state of New York this season and I'm sure a sold out RBC Center will provide a hostile environment. 

Syracuse won't be a nonconference opponent for long as they have already made the decision to leave the Big East for the ACC.  And what better way to welcome Jim Boeheim to the league than handing him an L on tobacco road.

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