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The News & Observer, Ethan Hyman) MANDATORY CREDIT, Associated Press
North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried congratulates Lorenzo Brown (2) as he comes back to the sideline during the second half against Miami in an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in Coral Gables, Fla. N.C. State won 78-73.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — When North Carolina State travels to No. 7 North Carolina on Thursday night, the Wolfpack will be in the unusual position of looking down at the Tar Heels in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings.

N.C. State (15-5, 4-1) is off to its best start in ACC play in six years and entered the week tied with Duke and Florida State atop the league. The Tar Heels (16-3, 3-1) haven't finished behind the Wolfpack since Roy Williams' first season in 2004.

N.C. State senior C.J. Williams says he peeked at the standings to briefly savor the long-struggling Wolfpack's position atop the league.

Meanwhile, UNC sophomore Kendall Marshall said Wednesday "it seems like we're the underdogs" because of the standings even though the Tar Heels have won 10 straight meetings since 2007.