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Preview: No. 6 Indiana and No. 2 NC State face off in battle of one-loss teams

NC State has looked unbeatable in its last six games and Indiana has struggled in its last pair of games. Will the Wolfpack continue their top form or will the Hoosiers surprise the higher-ranked team?

NCAA Womens Basketball: Indiana at NC State
Mackenzie Holmes (with ball)
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

An ACC vs. Big Ten showdown is happening on Thursday with No. 6 Indiana facing off against No. 2 NC State. The Hoosiers will be trying to solidify their place as a Top 10 team in the country after their disappointing loss against Stanford last week. The Wolfpack will be looking to extend their six-game winning streak.

NC State has been dominant this season. During their current winning streak, they’ve won by an average of 30 points. Speaking of domination, Elissa Cunane has been as good as advertised. She’s averaging 14.4 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting 56 percent from the field. Rutgers transfer Diamond Johnson has been a great fit with the Wolfpack. She’s averaging 13.3 points and 5.9 rebounds coming off the bench.

The Hoosiers struggled last week. They lost against No. 7 Stanford in a 69-66 thriller and squeaked out a slim victory against Miami 53-51. Thursday will be another difficult test against NC State in a matchup where they will be the underdogs.

One of the challenges the Hoosiers are facing is a lack of production coming from the bench. In the past two games, their bench has managed to score five points. Hard to win games with so much reliance on your five starters.

The starters have been incredible, however. The backcourt of Ali Patberg and Grace Berger has been explosive and they are two of the main reasons the team only has one loss so far this season. Big performances from them will be needed if they want to avoid their second loss of the season on Thursday.

Game Information

No. 2 NC State Wolfpack (6-1, 0-0 ACC) vs. No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers (5-1, 0-0 Big 10)

When: Thursday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Bloomington, Indiana

How to watch/listen: ESPN 2, Go Pack All-Access (NC State), WHCC 105.1 FM (Indiana)

Key to the matchup: Indiana will have to find a way to get some more production from its bench. It doesn’t have to be tremendous production, just more than it has been the last couple of games. Indiana’s defense will also need to step up and force NC State to earn everything they get. The Wolfpack are a high-scoring team and if the Hoosiers can’t make things difficult for them it could get ugly quick. NC State will have to try to contain the starting guards of Indiana and force them to rely on their bench for backup as early as possible.