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NC State Readies for Matchup with Northwestern

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NC State Wolfpack vs. Northwestern Wildcats
Dec 4 (tonight) | 7:30 PM | Raleigh, NC | ESPNU
*This game is part of the ACC/Big Ten challenge

The Pack takes on Northwestern tonight at the PNC Arena at 7:30pm as they look to extend their winning streak to a season high 3 games in this ACC/Big Ten matchup.

It seems like State is starting to round into form over the past two games. They’ve made adjustments, gotten Vandy back from injury and have transitioned Cat Barber into the starting rotation. These things have definitely helped take this team to the next level and they’ll look to build on that tonight vs the Wildcats.

Get to know Northwestern
The Wildcats come into this game at 4-4. So far they’ve struggled with quality opponents taking losses to Mizzou, UCLA and Stanford, but this isn’t really a bad team. Their head coach is long time Duke assistant, Chris Collins. He’s in his first season as HC and is still trying to change the mindset of his team. Collins was the favorite to take over for Coach K when he retired, but the old rat is still lurking the sidelines of Cameron Indoor and it doesn’t look like he’s leaving anytime soon. Collins, who’s not getting any younger, decided to bolt, get some head coaching experience in hopes of building his resume for when K does decide to retire. As for his team this year, they’re ok but the Wildcats are really focused on the future. That being said, this team has a few really nice pieces and this will be no walk in the park for the Pack.

Northwestern Players to Watch:
Drew Crawford and JerShon Cobb are two guys that the Wolfpack need to key on. Crawford is really their go-to scorer…or at least he was supposed to be. A season ago, Crawford led the Wildcats at 13 PPG and was supposed to lead them again this year, but the emergence of JerShon Cobb has been a pleasant surprise for Collins and company. Cobb is averaging 15ppg and is currently up on Crawford (but only by a point). These two can really score it. Both are guards who can create their own shot and knock it down from distance. State will need to keep a close eye on these two, because after them there aren’t any true stars. The offensive system has changed some from the typical Northwestern 5-out spread offense that relied heavily on 3s. They still shoot the 3 at a nice clip, but this is a team that’s learning physicality and trying to get more of a fighter’s mentality. Right now they are still searching, but they’re not to be taken lightly.

Can the Wolfpack pull off the win?
Yes, in fact they SHOULD win this one. State is quicker, stronger and has talent than Northwestern, but defense will be key. State will need to use their D to not only shut down the Wildcat guards, but also to crank up the pace. Barber will be a huge piece to this puzzle. He’s likely going to matchup with either Cobb or Crawford and be asked to lock them down. With Dez Lee taking whoever Barber does not take, State has two really good defenders against two really good scorers. This is the first time in a long time that I can remember the Pack really having two good lock down guys on defense.

State also needs to control the boards. Northwestern has struggled in this area while the Pack has started to get it going. The return of Jordan Vandenberg has been monumental in this shift. The big Aussie has been the key cog in NC State recent uptick in productivity. He’s scoring, blocking shots and grabbing boards. Tonight he’ll face another 7 footer in sophomore Alex Olah. This kid is a lot like Vandy. He’s raw but he’s a pretty skilled 7 footer. While this could be a good matchup, I think Jordan (if he keeps playing the way he has been) will dominate it.

Player to Watch for NC State: 
I’m going to go with a no-brainer on this one. The key guy for State tonight is Warren. Northwestern doesn’t have anyone who can really matchup with him and he’s been on fire lately. Now, Cat Barber and Dez Lee will be huge as well, especially on the defensive end, but when it comes down to it, Warren is the key tonight.

Zone or No Zone?
The scouting report against State is to go zone. They haven’t shot well and they’ve looked sluggish at times against 2-3s. It will be interesting to see what Northwestern does. Chris Collins is a Dukie and if we know the Blue Devils, we know they will almost NEVER go zone. Is Collins as ‘man-to-man’ stubborn as K? We’ll see, but it would certainly help him, especially since his team isn’t 100% bought in on the defensive end.

For State, I think the more zone they see the better. They need work against it and last time out they really seemed to turn a corner with Warren and Barber in attack mode, dicing it up. If they keep standing around the perimeter and jacking up 3s they’re going to lose a lot of games, but if they can learn to really attack the gaps then they’ll be fine. They need more work against it, but I’m doubting they see much of it tonight.

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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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