NC State travels north to take on Boston College Wednesday night at 9 PM with RSN providing coverage. Both teams are coming into the contest after losing on the road. Boston College couldn’t overcome turnovers to knock off the Blue Devils in Cameron Indoor. NC State suffered a lopsided loss to Carolina. Both teams are 1-2 in ACC play and will look to get to even their records with a win. What must NC State do to find their first road ACC win of the season?
NC State must take care of the basketball.
Wolfpack cannot afford to give up possessions as well as easy baskets that result from live ball turnovers. In their two road games at Miami and Carolina, the Pack averaged 20.5 TPG and 28 points off those turnovers. That cannot happen on the road in the ACC. It will take a total team effort to play within the framework of the offense and not go off script. NC State needs to have the discipline to outwork their defenders to get to their spots in the half court. Dennis Smith Jr. must be in control and not force the issue early in the shot clock. Mark Gottfried needs his group to be quick but not in a hurry. NC State Should win if they can play under control by taking care of the basketball.
Transition defense will be critical if NC State will win Wednesday.
Boston College is averaging 81.3 PPG in ACC play. They are getting out in the open court as well as pushing the pace on makes and misses. Ky Bowman has been electric during ACC play averaging 21 PPG. Bowman is aggressive at pushing the basketball up court because of his speed and athletic ability. Paired with Bowman is sophomore Jerome Robinson who is equally lethal on the break as he possesses smooth handles and length to finish in traffic. NC State’s guards have got to be aware of these two and get back on defense to stop the ball. Everyone in Red & White needs to sprint the floor to get back and thwart BC’s fast break attack. NC State can slow down the Eagles if they force them to have to execute in the half-court aginst a set defense.
NC State needs to make Jerome Robinson work on both ends of the court.
Robinson is having an excellent sophomore campaign averaging over 20 points per game. Boston College has found a go-to scorer who has the skill set to score in a variety of ways. Robinson loves to move without the ball utilizing ball screens to lose his defender. Another area that Robinson thrives at is keeping defenders off-balance by changing pace. NC State will need to keep him marked when he is off-ball as well as shade his direction on help-side defense.
Terry Henderson will be up for the challenge as he is familiar with Robinson’s game. Both players have played aginst each other in the Summer as Robinson trains in Raleigh in the off-season. Henderson must do his best to bait Robinson into tough contested jumpers off the bounce. Offensively whoever Robinson is guarding needs to work hard off-ball in order to wear him down. That means being physical with Robinson on screens and not letting him off the hook by shooting quick jumpers. The tone needs to be set early as allowing Robinson easy baskets early will fuel his confidence throughout.
The Wolfpack needs to display heart Wednesday night.
The adage is that a team is only as good as their last performance. That axiom rings especially true with NC State this season. Wednesday night is not as much about game plans, plays, as it is about heart and hustle. Each player should be counting down the seconds until tip-off Wednesday night to erase some of the pain from their last outing. Dennis Smith, Terry Henderson, Torin Dorn, Malik Abu, and Omer Yurtseven will need to set the expectation of playing hard from the start. That means diving on the ground, working hard off-ball, defending like their lives depend on it, and having positive body language. Wednesday night is NC State’s opportunity to play each game like it is their last because that is the only way to win in the ACC.