NC State Wolfpack vs. Boston College Eagles
Wed. February 27 | 8 pm | Raleigh, NC
Television: ACC Network
NC State takes on BC tonight at 8pm in a game that’s a lot more important that people are making it out to be. Think about this, if the Wolfpack don’t show up and somehow lose to the Eagles they are going to have an uphill battle to finish 4th place in the ACC and would have to play on Thursday in the ACC Tournament. They also will put themselves squarely on the bubble, right at the wrong time.
However, let’s not get too caught up in the negative. There are a ton of positives to look at with this Wolfpack team. For one, they’re 14-1 at home this season with their only loss coming at the hands of Miami (by 1) while Lorenzo Brown was out. Sure, they haven’t met expectations set by the media in the preseason, but I think those expectations may have been too great. Two things were overlooked…this team simply doesn’t play great defense and they don’t have great jump shooters. Let’s go a little more in-depth:
Put up or shut up on defense
NC State has one of the top 10 best offenses in the nation. The problem is, their defense is pretty bad. They play at a fast pace and they understand how to score at that pace, but they don’t seem to have the energy , or maybe it’s the ‘want-to’ to defend at that pace. This can’t happen. This team needs to show better defense before postseason play, and time is running out. There’s no switch to flip on when the ACC Tournament comes or when the NCAAs arrive. This team is going to need to get into a habit of practicing good defensive fundamentals. They simply need stops. Teams are playing right with them, no matter their talent level. Almost every game this ACC season has been back and forth with the Wolfpack. They’ve only had one real blowout and that was last week against FSU. They need to start taking the defensive end as serious, or more serious, than they take their offensive output and they need to start tonight.
The lack of jumpshooters
Now, this isn’t something that’s talked about much, but although NC State is scoring at a pretty good clip, but they’re getting mostly all of their points from either inside or outside. Watch the best teams in the nation and you’ll see that they’re scoring from inside and outside too, but they have guys that can beat you in the midrange. How valuable is a guy like Seth Curry for Duke. He can consistently hit 3s, drive to the basket or drive and pull up with a midrange jumper. He’s so tough to guard, especially at this level. The Wolfpack doesn’t have a guy like this and I think this hurts them. Warren is someone who could become this guy, but right now he’s just not to the point where he’s a true factor off the dribble. The point is, this team is getting a little too predictable. They need to spread the defense and make them respect the pull-up. Last March you saw Brown, Howell and Leslie all knocking down their midrange jumpers and this made the Wolfpack hard to beat.
Keys to the game against Boston College
- Take away their confidence early and get the crowd involved. This is a team with only one ACC road win, and one that is young. If it gets loud or State gets a big, early lead, they could run away with it.
- Get Leslie involved. This team is going to go as far as he takes them, like it or not, so they need to keep him involved, keep him active and get him to start playing the way we all know he can…at a dominant level.
- Get Purvis rolling. They need him in March and they need him bad. This might be the perfect chance to get him back in the groove and get his swagger back in action.
- Stop Ryan Anderson. This is the ONLY guy who has the capability of beating NC State single handedly. He’s BC’s go-to guy so they’ll need to neutralize him. He’s averaging 16 and 8, so stopping him isn’t the easiest thing.
- Freshman Oliver Hanlan has also been good as of late for the Eagles. He’s scored over 20 points twice over his last 5 games. He’s going to be a player and right now is riding with some good confidence. State needs to do a good job of limiting his looks.
- Defense and Focus. That’s really it. It State can put together one game of complete focus where they defend EVERY possession for 40 minutes then we’ll see what they’re really capable of. I think the closest you saw to this was the Duke game in Raleigh. State played a pretty complete game. They also ALMOST did it in Raleigh against UNC, but seemed disinterested and tired towards the end. When will we see this team put it all together? Hopefully soon…time is running out.
NC STATE VS. BOSTON COLLEGE
NC State will be looking to even the all-time series with Boston College, when the two teams face off for the second time this season Wednesday night at PNC Arena.The Eagles currently hold a slight 8-7 edge in the overall series which dates back to 1967-68, but 14 of the 15 meetings have come since 2002-03.The series is deadlocked 3-3 in Raleigh, with all six games played at PNC Arena.
NC State has won the last four matchups in the series, and six of the last seven overall. The Pack won at BC, 78-73, on Jan. 5 in its ACC opener, and NC State won all three matchups last season by an average of 13.3 points.
EARLIER THIS SEASON AGAINST BC
NC State won its ACC opener on the road for the first time since 1997 by beating Boston College, 78-73, on Jan. 5, thanks to 12 quick points by senior Scott Wood in the game’s final four minutes.Wood, scoreless because of foul trouble in the contest, came off the bench with 3:45 to play to hit a pair of 3-pointers and six straight free throws for the Wolfpack, which made 21 of 24 shots from the charity stripe in the second half.Wood was one of six Wolfpack players to hit double-figure scoring on the night, as freshman Rodney Purvis had a career-high 19, senior Lorenzo Brown had 14, senior Richard Howell and Wood had 12 each and junior C.J. Leslie added 10.
NC STATE IN THE RPI
In the current RPI, NC State sits at No. 24. The Pack posts three wins against teams currently in the RPI top-50. The Pack currently holds the 17th-toughest strength of schedule.In the current BPI rankings, the Pack is 22nd.
NC State enters Wednesday contest against Boston College with a 14-1 home mark this season, including 6-1 in ACC games.The Pack will be looking to win 15 home contests for the first time since 2005-06, and if NC State closes out with home wins over BC and then Wake Forest next week, the Pack will reach 16 home wins for the first time since 1999-00 (17).In 15 home contests this season, the Pack is averaging 84.8 points per game, compared to 69.8 in the 12 road/neutral games.