Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pack goes big - real big

The most intriguing lineup option for an N.C. State team with excellent frontcourt depth puts four players 6-foot-8 or taller on the floor at the same time.

"It reminds me of the old UConn teams," said Gavin Grant, a senior forward from Big East country in the Bronx. "It’s kind of intimidating."

N.C. State used the big lineup for a brief stretch during Tuesday night’s 76-41 defeat of UNC Pembroke at the RBC Center. Grant, who’s 6-8, was playing shooting guard with 6-9 Brandon Costner at small forward, 6-9 J.J. Hickson at power forward and 6-10 Ben McCauley at center.

Costner, who led N.C. State with 61 3-pointers last season, is the key to the lineup. As long as Costner is not required to chase a very small player all over the floor, coach Sidney Lowe said he can handle the small forward position.

"It’s going to help us on the boards," Lowe said, "and we don’t lose anything on the perimeter (with Costner). ... We don’t drop off when we play him at the three."

And if opposing teams elect to play man-to-man against that lineup, somebody for N.C. State will be able to park in the post and use his height to score over a smaller defender.

-- Ken Tysiac