NC State vs. Appalachian State
Raleigh, NC (PNC Arena)
Tonight | 7pm | ESPN3
NC State opens the season tonight at 7pm against Appalachian State. The Mountaineers come in hoping to put a 15-16 season from a year ago, behind them, however the Pack has other plans. Gottfried and company are opening the season with a nearly entirely different team. The only two returning players who will be suiting up for this game are Lewis and Warren, both of whom played big roles last season. They will be looked to for leadership, but this team still has more questions than answers. Let’s take a look at the 5 major questions we want answered tonight.
1) What is the starting lineup?
After a preseason of constantly changing the lineup, tinkering with combinations and allowing freshman to get comfortable, Mark Gottfried has to finally pick his 5. Coming into the preseason there was a question about whether Cat Barber would outplay Lewis and cause a PG controversy. Lewis put that theory to rest quickly, but where does Barber fit in now? He’s played well in preseason games but still needs to adjust to the 2 spot where he’ll see most of his minutes. Then you have Dez Lee. The juco transfer has come in and really impressed with his physicality and ability to score it. So who is going to get the nod tonight? I think it’s a sure bet that Ralston Turner and TJ Warren are in the starting 5, but who’s the 5th? Kyle Washington? I think Beejay Anya has played himself into a strict reserve role at this point and Lennard Freeman will see time, but likely won’t start. I think it will be interesting to see which way Gottfried plays this.
2) Can Turner, Lee and Barber score it?
Lewis is going to score a bit and we all know Warren is going to be the team’s leading scorer, but State isn’t going to win much with only two guys putting up points. They’re going to need Turner, Lee and Barber to produce in that category. Lee and Turner will be your most likely to help in this area, as they are more built to score, but Barber could also chip in at times. Turner and Lee are going to be the biggest keys to this season. If they are great, NC State has the chance to be a big surprise in the ACC, however if they struggle, it’s likely the predictions will come true and the Wolfpack will find themselves near the conference basement.
3) Is Kyle Washington ready?
I think the freshman has shown readiness in spurts, but there’s no time to guide him along. Washington has to be ready now. With Vandenberg out and Anya simply not ready to contribute, it’s going to be Washington’s position to lose. Sure, Freeman will be there for backup, but Kyle is going to have to really anchor the middle for the Wolfpack. He’s going to have to really rebound and really defend in the post or State is going to be killed in the paint night after night. Washington had a decent showing in the first exhibition game but really came alive in the 2nd. This is a kid who was very highly recruited, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him break out in this season opener.
4.) What’s up with Anya?
I’m not sure we’ll see enough of him tonight to really get this answered, but I’m confused. This is a kid who was highly touted coming in. Sure, he showed up a little overweight, but he’s been really outplayed by his own guys and opponents in every game so far. I know there is tons of potential there and he’s a big, big kid, but I wonder what’s going on there. State really needs him to become a star at some point, but I think step one is to get him into playing shape. We might not see the real Anya until midseason, however it’d be nice if he could get a little run in this one and show us something.
5. Can this team defend/rebound?
Sure, all we’ve seen is exhibition games and scrimmages, but so far neither defense nor rebounding has been great. At times I’ve seen really good defense, especially from Turner, Barber, Washington and yes…even Warren, but what about against real competition? UNCP did play hard, but they were undersized and most of their team was way under-talented. What happens when this team faces real teams with real size? Will they be able to match physicality of a stronger team? Will they be disciplined enough to block out and out rebound a bigger front line? Tonight they’ll face a team has some decent size (a front line of 6’8 guys) so we’ll learn something as we watch how they attack the boards.
NC State might not blow out Appalachian State, however they should walk out with a win tonight if they can address the questions above. Realize that there is going to be a learning curve with this team and there is going to be bumps in the road since they are so young, but this is a group with a great attitude and a bright future and I really believe that once they get a little experience that NC State is going to surprise a few people.
NC State is a Slight Underdog in ACC Opener vs. Boston College
NC State (4-2) will play their first ACC game of the 2023-24 season tomorrow on the road against Boston College (5-2), and they enter the game as slight underdogs. The Wolfpack are 1.5-point underdogs, and the Total is 150.5.
- NC State is 0-2 Straight Up as underdogs
- BC is 4-1 Straight Up as favorites.
- NC State is 2-4 Against the Spread.
- BC is 4-3 Against the Spread
- The Total has gone Under in 2 games for NC State, Over in 3 and Pushed in 1.
- The Total has gone Under in 3 games for Boston College and Over in 4.
- NC State is 6-4 in their last 10 games against BC Straight Up.
- NC State is 4–6 Against the Spread in their last 10 games against BC.
- The Total has gone Under in 5 games, and Under in the other 5.
#5 NC State 70 Vanderbilt 62: BOX SCORE (with notes)
The 5th ranked NC State Women’s Basketball team improved to 8-0 tonight, defeating Vanderbilt 70-62 in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge.
- Saniya Rivers scored 20+ points for the 2nd time this season, scoring 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting. She also chipped in 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
- River Baldwin posted her first double-double of the season. She scored 12 points and grabbed 10 boards.
- Aziaha James has now scored in double figures in 7 of 8 games, scoring 14 points tonight, shooting 6 of 10 from the field and 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.
- Freshman Zoe Brooks led the Pack in steals (4) and assists (4).
- NC State didn’t shoot well, making only 39% of their shots. Fortunately, they held Vandy to 34.3% shooting.
The Wolfpack will host Illinois State on Sunday at 2pm.
NC State Stat Leaders Heading into the ACC Opener vs Boston College
This Saturday, NC State heads to Boston College for the now-annual early ACC opener. The Pack will face off against the Eagles at 4pm on ACC Network. Here is where the team is statistically after 6 games.
- Casey Morsell leads NC State in scoring with 14.5 ppg.
- The Pack has 4 double-digit scorers this season. Morsell (14.5), Jayden Taylor (13.3), DJ Burns (13) and DJ Horne (11.2)
(Last season State had 4 double-digit scorers as well. Terquavion (17.9), Joiner (17), Burns (12.5) and Morsell (11.8))
- After their top 4 scorers there is a big dip. Parker comes in at 6.8, O’Connell at 6.3, and Middlebrooks at 5.5 ppg.
(Last season Jack Clark was 5th on the team in scoring at 9 points and Mahorcic was at 8.7. However, both guys missed a large chunk of the season.)
- Burns is leading NC State in rebounding this year at 5.3 per game. Diarra is next with 5.3 (but is currently hampered by an ankle injury.)
- O’Connell is leading NC State in assists with 3.3 per game, and Burns is up next with 2.5. PG DJ Horne is only averaging 2.
- LJ Thomas and Mike O’Connell are tied in leading the team at .15 assists per minute.
- Jayden Taylor is leading NC State in 3pt %, shooting an outstanding 45.8%, while Morsell is up next at 34.6%. Horne is close behind at 33%.
(LJ Thomas is shooting 50% from 3, but only has 2 attempts.)
- Burns is leading the bigs, shooting 56.5% from the floor, while Middlebrooks is close behind at 54.2%. Dennis Parker Jr is coming in at 45.2%.
- For the guards, it’s Casey Morsell leading the way at 44.6% from the floor, while O’Connell is next up at 43.4%. Taylor is shooting 42.4%, and DJ Horne is struggling a bit, shooting just 34.8% from the field.
- Jayden Taylor is turning the ball over the most at 1.8 times per game, while Burns is next at 1.7. Morsell is at 1.5 and O’Connell is at 1.2. DJ Horne has been doing a good job of protecting the basketball, turning it over just .3 times per game.
NC State 52 Ole Miss 72: Box Score (with notes)
NC State’s Men’s Basketball team lost it’s second straight game tonight, losing 52-72 on the road at Ole Miss in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge. Below is the Box Score with some notes below.
- Ben Middlebrooks posted a double-double, with 13 points and 12 boards. To be honest, Middlebrooks was the only bright spot in this game.
- Casey Morsell was the only other player to score in double figures (12 points), but it wasn’t pretty, shooting 5 of 14 from the field.
- One of the poorest statistical shooting performance I can remember.
- NC State shot 31.8% from the field and 12% from three (3-25).
- The Wolfpack’s DNA on defense is turning over their opponent, and they were unable to do so tonight, turning over the Rebels only 7 times.
- For comparison, the Wolfpack turned it over 13 times, giving them a Turnover Margin tonight of -6.
- Heading into tonight, they averaged a Turnover Margin of +7.8.
- Ole Miss scored 13 points off of turnovers, compared to NC State’s 4.
- This is the first time this season that NC State failed to force their opponent to commit at least 10 turovers.
- NC State was -25 when D.J. Burns was on the court, which was the worst on the team.
- NC State was +3 when L.J. Thomas was on the court, and +2 when Ben Middlebrooks were on the court. They were the only two players in the positive.
- Thomas and Middlebrooks should have earned themselves some more playing time going forward.
- Ole Miss’ length was problematic for the Wolfpack, blocking 9 of their shots.
There will be more analysis on this game coming tomorrow.