NC State opens basketball season with visit from ACC foe Georgia Tech

Chase for the Championship

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – MARCH 13: Markell Johnson #11 of the NC State Wolfpack reacts after a play against the Clemson Tigers during their game in the second round of the 2019 Men’s ACC Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 13, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The N.C. State men’s basketball team will open its season Tuesday with a familiar opponent when it welcomes Georgia Tech to PNC Arena.

The matchup will mark the first time the Wolfpack has started the year against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent since the 1967-68 season. N.C. State would defeat Wake Forest 79-63 in that contest.

In year three of Kevin Keatts’s tenure, fans finally will see a bit of continuity among the team. The Wolfpack return three starters from last season and overall has seven returnees from last season — the most experienced team Keatts has coached since arriving in Raleigh.

The lone contest between the Pack and Yellow Jackets last season came down to the wire with Georgia Tech coming out victorious 63-61. This season’s presumed go-to guard Markell Johnson put the team on his back in that one, scoring 15 of his 17 in the second half and nearly leading the Pack to a win.

Forward D.J. Funderburk was a much-needed spark for the Wolfpack in last year’s contest, scoring 15 points off the bench while grabbing six rebounds.

Unfortunately, Funderburk will not be available for this contest due to suspension. In fact, nobody knows when Funderburk will return to action as his suspension was deemed indefinite.

Georgia Tech has had N.C. State’s number as of late as they’ve won four of the last five meetings, including a three-game winning streak when they travel to the state capital.

That means since Keatts has been the head man, a win against Georgia Tech has been elusive. The Yellow Jackets are one of three ACC teams Keatts has yet to defeat.

Keatts and the Wolfpack will look to start the year off on a winning note, as they’ve done in 24 of their past 25 season openers.

Georgia Tech and N.C. State will tip off at 8:30 p.m. from PNC Arena on the ACC Network.

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