The Tar Heels played one of their best defensive games of the season - if not their best - even without Dexter Strickland, the junior guard who suffered a season-ending knee injury.
The key for North Carolina was keeping N.C. State point guard Lorenzo Brown out of the lane and eliminating his ability to penetrate. For that matter, the Tar Heels didn't allow much penetration from anybody.
North Carolina's Reggie Bullock effectively guarded the Wolfpack's leading scorer, Scott Wood, who made 4 of 12 shots and finished with 11 points. Bullock allowed Wood just a single open look during the first half - a 3-pointer from the baseline that Wood missed.
The key to defending Wood, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said, was making sure defenders had a hand in his face.
As poorly as N.C. State shot overall (36.8 percent), the Wolfpack did convert 9 of 20 3-point attempts. Inside the paint, though, the Wolfpack made 10 of 21 shots. North Carolina outscored N.C. State in the lane 42-20.
The Tar Heels used a deep rotation, even without Strickland and with the promotion of Bullock to the starting lineup. Williams often inserted Stilman White into the lineup before TV timeouts, which allowed point guard Kendall Marshall additional time to rest during breaks.