NC State will look to have more energy and focus as they square off aginst Syracuse tonight at 7 o’clock with coverage on ESPN2. The Orange have not won a single road game this season. NC State, on the other hand, has been solid at PNC Arena with an 11-2 record. What are the keys to the game for NC State to beat Syracuse?
NC State cannot be content to pass the ball around the perimeter aginst the 2-3 zone.
Syracuse uses a 2-3 matchup zone defense that leverages their length to force teams to beat them from the outside. NC State must be disciplined to penetrate the interior with the pass as well as the dribble. The Wolfpack will not be successful if they casually pass the ball around the perimeter settling for contested threes. Dennis Smith and company must be willing to attack the gaps to draw attention finding the open man. A lineup that has both Smith and Johnson could be helpful as that would give NC State two players capable of attacking the seams to draw extra defenders. Malik Abu must move constantly looking to find the soft spots underneath, also looking to attack the offensive glass.
Defensively NC State will need to stop Andrew White and Tyler Lydon.
At Lousiville NC State allowed Donovan Mitchell to have clean looks early, the result was devastating. Tonight they cannot allow White to get going early because he is capable of carrying the Orange. White is averaging 25.5 PPG over the last two games as Syracuse beat Wake and FSU. The scouting report on White is that he is a shooter the Pack must run him off the three-point line, leaving him open will be costly. Andrew White leads the ACC in made three-pointers per game at 3.2.
Tyler Lydon presents a different challenge with his ability to stretch the floor with his jump shot. NC State has struggled at defending stretch fours. Lydon is shooting 44% from the three-point line on the season and is playing with confidence. The strategy for the Pack has to be to sell out hard on Lydon, therefore, forcing him to dribble. If Lydon is allowed to catch and shoot NC State will be in for a long night.
Play with energy and emotion.
NC State can hang with any team if they play with fire and energy; however, too often they haven’t. It is frustrating that this is an issue especially at this point in the season. Syracuse will be desperate to notch their first road win of the season. NC State has got to come out with intensity to take the Orange out of their comfort zone. The Wolfpack need to be physical taking the fight to them. Attacking the rim on offense as well as extending pressure defensively. The Wolfpack must create some excitement early in order to get the crowd behind them Game time is at 7 o’clock with coverage on ESPN2.