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Bball Gameday: 3 Things To Look For vs. Campbell

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NC State Wolfpack vs. Campbell Camels
PNC Arena | 7PM | ESPN3

I’m not sure what the fan base as a whole was expecting this season, but two games in we’re feeling pretty optimistic about this ball club. Sure, they couldn’t hold off a veteran and physical Cincinnati team in a hostile environment, but they showed a lot of guts in that one. Again, this is a very, very young team with only 2 returners in uniform right now from last years team (Vandy is still hurt). While there is definitely a lot to improve on, we think the foundation is there for a solid season. This team hustles, they play together and they play with heart. Those 3 things will take you further than you’d think.   Here are 3 things we’re going to watch for tonight when the Pack comes home to take on Campbell.

1) State must establish an inside game
Two games in and there really has been no sign of any true post play. Against Cincy there was some early foul trouble and guys might not have been used to the type of physical play they were facing, but this is important going forward. On defense I think they are where they should be. Yes, they have to move their feet a lot more and stay on their feet when teams shot fake, but the concern is on offense. You’re not going to beat a lot of teams if you have no real factor in the paint. Vandy’s return in a few games will be big, but Kyle Washington, Lennard Freeman and Beejay Anya NEED to start producing. Freeman and Anya are more raw right now. Freeman is a banger and Anya is still finding his way, but Washington has what it takes to be a scorer right now. I’m not talking about a go-to guy that this team is going to rely on, but I am talking about a guy who can put up 8-12 points per game down low and at least make the opposition respect State’s post game. If they don’t focus on this now and start building on this early, then teams are going to be playing one on one in the middle and will be able to harass and face guard the guards all night long.

 

2) Handle Pressure / Get in the offense
I’m putting these together because they kind of have the same remedy. These young guys need to start getting used to contact and physical play. It’s always hard early on when you play a few games against some lightweights and then are thrown into a game against a team of real men (like Cincy). All of the sudden you’re getting bumped on the dribble, they’re getting handsy and it’s not getting called and they’re riding your back when you’re sealing off for a pass or boxing out for a rebound. It’s understandable that right now this is all new to them, but they have to get tough and get used to this contact soon. State never looked comfortable breaking the press against Cincy and they never really got into a rhythm offensively because the guard were scared to dump the ball to the high post to initiate the offense. If Lewis or Barber have a hard time making that first pass to the high post, or if those initial wing passes are denied, then you see a lot of what you saw last game. The guard were just dribbling at the top with no where to go with the ball as the shot clock ticked down. This was because the Bearcats were denying the corner passes and were able to get around the seal from the guy at the high post.

To fix this you need to simply work harder. The guys on the wings need to cut harder, change speeds and make sure they can get open. They need to walk their guy down then explode out to the wing just to get this pass. It seems like hard work just to get a pass but they’ll start to see that just getting the ball to the wing can initiate the entire offensive set.

The same thing goes for the bigs who are at the high post. Cincy was cheating over top of them. If this happens you can do one of two things. You can get physical, really get a wide base and give your guard confidence that you’re not giving up position at the high post, allowing him to make that pass with ease. However, if the defender is really overplaying and cheating up over the seal off, and onto the side, then the high post man can slip to the rim on the backdoor cut.

Neither of these things were happening against Cincinnati.  The bigs were sealing soft and the guard were nervous to make the pass to them because they feared the defender would get around the seal and pick off the pass. They were also forced to make contested passes to the wing because the receivers over there weren’t making hard enough cuts. This was causing the offense to stand still and go stagnant.

 

3. Continue getting Dez Lee the rock…getting him acclimated
The biggest surprise so far for me this season has been Dez Lee. I’m not saying I haven’t been impressed with Ralston Turner, TJ Warren or Tyler Lewis, because I have. I just am saying that Lee has a lot of talent and it certainly translates to this level. This team needs him. They need a slasher who can shoot and pass. Warren and Lewis are a given for what they’ll give you, and State is heavily counting on them. However, those two guys aren’t going to win a lot of games by themselves. They need help and Dez Lee, in my eyes, is a guy who can be that help. He can be this team’s second leading scorer, he can be that guy at the end of games who has the ball in his hands. He can be that lock down defender.

At this point in the season it’s important to start grooming him for these roles. He needs to continue to get acclimated to this level and he needs to keep having the trust from his teammates. Sure, he’ll have off games as he gets used to high competition, but I think he is a true key to this team’s success and I’d love to see Gottfried nurture his maturation process.

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NC State Basketball

NC State 72 Georgia Tech 64: ACCDN Highlight Reel & Condensed Game

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NC State improved to 19-5 overall, and 9-4 in the ACC, defeating Georgia Tech 72-64 in PNC Arena. How did they win: By the Numbers. Box Score. The ACC Digital Network’s Highlight Reel and Condensed Game are below.

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NC State Basketball

NC State 72 Georgia Tech 64: BY THE NUMBERS

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Survive and Advance. Some days it’s just like that.

NC State found a way to win at home over Georgia Tech 72-64 with Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner combining for a whopping 10 points, shooting 3-17. They each had 5 points, and entered the game ranked 1st (Smith) and 5th (Joiner) in the ACC in scoring.

How did the Wolfpack find a way to victory?

Burns. Ross. Morsell.

DJ Burns carried the team on his back, scoring 24 points (11-21 FG) and grabbing 8 boards. Ernest Ross reminded us once again what he’s capable of, coming off the bench to score 16 points, shooting 4 of 8 from the field. Most importantly, Ross was a perfect 7 for 7 from the free throw line. He also had 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.

The shots might not have been falling for Smith and Joiner, but don’t forget about Casey Morsell. He scored 17 points, making 6 of his 9 field goal attempts, and 4 of 7 from beyond the arch. He also had 5 rebounds and 3 steals.

Smith’s shot might have been off, but his passing game wasn’t. His 10 assists were a new career high, toppling his former best of 7 against Miami back in December.

Once again, NC State managed to find a way to win a game in which the other team shot better (44.1/41.9) than them. Heck, the Yellow Jackets out rebounded them (37-36).

How you ask?

Well, NC State forced Georgia Tech to commit 17 turnovers, scoring 11 points off of them (Georgia Tech had 5 points off of turnovers). Also, the Wolfpack had more offensive rebounds than the Yellow Jackets (12-10), scoring 11 second chance points (The Yellow Jackets had 7 second chance points).

Georgia Tech entered today’s game having won 4 straight against NC State in PNC Arena, and the Wolfpack found a way to snap that streak.

A 14-3 run by NC State in the final 4 minutes was enough for the Pack to seal the deal.

NC State will have a chance to pick up a Quad 1 win over UVA on the road on Tuesday night at 9pm.

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NC State Basketball

NC State 72 Georgia Tech 64: BOX SCORE

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NC State’s Men’s Basketball team improved to 19-5 and 9-4 in ACC play today, defeating Georgia Tech 72-64 in PNC Arena.

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NC State Basketball

Where Does NC State Rank in Team Stats in the ACC Before Georgia Tech?

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Before NC State and Georgia Tech tipoff at 1pm, here’s a look at where the Wolfpack ranks in the ACC in team stats.

The Wolfpack lead the ACC in points per game, and rank 7th in points given up per game. As a result, NC State’s scoring margin is 10.13, which ranks 2nd in the conference.

The Wolfpack scores a lot, but it isn’t because they are one of the best shooting teams in the ACC, ranking 11th in Free Throw Percentage, 8th in Field Goal Percentage, and 8th in Three Point Percentage.

The reason that NC State leads the ACC in scoring is because of the way they attack the offensive glass, and the way they force turnovers. The Wolfpack forced 319 turnovers, which leads the ACC, and boast a 4.09 Turnover Margin, which also leads the conference. The Wolfpack also rank 2nd in the ACC in Offensive Rebounds. Not shockingly, they lead the ACC in steals, averaging 8.3.

The Wolfpack rank 9th in Assists, but rank 3rd in Assist/Turnover Ratio. NC State has turned over their opponent better than anyone else, and they also have done a good job taking care of the ball.

NC State ranks 2nd in Blocks and 3rd in Rebounding Margin.

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