NCAA Tournament 2014, first round: Xavier battles T.J. Warren, NC State

Streeter Lecka

Warren is capable of going off for 35-plus points on any given night, but he'll need some help if the Wolfpack hopes to beat Xavier tonight.

SB Nation 2014 NCAA March Madness Coverage

After barely sneaking into the field of 68, North Carolina State and Xavier will put on quite the show in the opening round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament tonight.

North Carolina State came on strong down the stretch, winning five of its final six games before losing to Duke in the ACC Tournament. The Wolfpack are basically a one-man team, and it's with good reason -- sophomore forward T.J. Warren is a freak.

Warren is one of the best scorers in the country at just over 25 points a game, and he also leads the team in rebounding in steals. He scored 42 points against Boston College on March 9 and 41 points against Pittsburgh on March 4, showing he can basically win a game by himself.

If Xavier lets Warren get hot early on, it's going to be a long night. If they can keep him at least somewhat in check, the Musketeers should have no problem advancing. North Carolina State shoots just 30 percent from behind the arc and 66 percent from the free throw line.

Xavier doesn't do anything really well, but there aren't many glaring weaknesses to Chris Mack's team, either. Sophomore guard Semaj Christon is the engine that makes the Musketeers go, while Justin Martin attacks from the wing and Matt Stainbrook holds down the paint.

If there is a big advantage for XU tonight, it's on the offensive glass. Martin, Stainbrook and the rest of the team do a nice job getting easy put-back opportunities, and the Wolfpack ranks 338th nationally in surrendering offensive rebounds. North Carolina State has to protect the glass if it hopes to win.

Tipoff from Dayton is scheduled for 9:10 p.m. ET tonight. TruTV will televise game.

More from

SB Nation Featured Video
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.