Winning fourteen in a row against your rival makes you happier at work and when you see friends who are fans of the opposing team. However Saturday night is just as much about solidifying your spot in the ACC as it is beating rival NC State. North Carolina is 3-2 in the ACC with three other teams in the league and NC State can distance itself from the middle of the pack with a win over UNC.
The Wolfpack are 4-2 in the ACC behind number one Miami who sits a top of the standings at 5-0 after their demolition of the Duke Blue Devils this past Wednesday. If NC State can beat North Carolina convincingly at home on national TV the Wolfpack can silence some of the critics for their play. The loss to Wake forest and the lackluster performance against Clemson have analysts questioning how far the Pack can go in March. As Jay Bilas says they have talent to reach the final four in Atlanta, but no one would be shocked if they made an earlier exit from the “Dance.”
For North Carolina who started 0-2 in the ACC and Tar Heel fans were jumping off the ship quicker than Jimmy V could make a room laugh, they have an opportunity to move to 4-2 in the ACC good for second place.
This game has always been important in the triangle and once was game of national importance year in and year out. Mark Gottfried has NC State back in that position and Saturday night the rivalry will be as intense as ever before, but result will impact the standings this season more than it will friendships in the office.