Mark Gottfried Press Conference Audio:
Cat Barber (19 pts) and TJ Warren (23pts) led the scoring and Lennard Freeman (13 boards) and Vandenberg (5 boards, 3 blocks) held down the middle as the Pack pulled away in the second half, beating Long Beach State 76-66.
Another game, another nice showing by this young Pack team. Although they struggled to get things going early in the first half, they made adjustments and took control later on. Here are a few takeaways that stood out to us:
– State still struggles some against the zone. In the first half State really didn’t move the ball that well. They were seemed slow and unsure of themselves. This shouldn’t be the case. Teams have and will be zoning State all season. This is an athletic group, but one that has struggled from beyond the arc. They shot 20% from downtown in this one and they still came out with the win. That’s not going to be the case when they go up against big time teams like Duke and Carolina. With that said, they did do a nice job of the second half of getting inside Lone Beach St.’s zone and making things happen. Vandenberg and Warren has some really nice interior passing that led to some really easy buckets.
– Cat Barber is turning into a star. This kid is really answering the bell early in this season. He was definitely the Pack’s player of the game against the 49ers and just keeps getting better week by week. He finished with 19 points and 4 assists on 7-15 shooting. He had some unbelievable moves off the dribble and really got State going against the zone in the 2nd half. Those, however, are not the reasons that Cat Barber logged 35 minutes in this one. His defense on Mike Caffey was the key. In the half court, Barber was able to really shut down the star guard. While he did get his average, most of his points were uncontested on the break. Barber’s defense is a huge plus for the Pack and something that is winning him minutes over Tyler Lewis right now.
– Lennard Freeman had 13 boards and is becoming a true force for NC State. The 17 year old freshman isn’t scared of anyone. He’s built like a man and plays like a man down on the blocks. I can’t help but think of Richard Howell when I watch him play. He fights for every loose ball and attacks every ball off the glass. He’s a hungry one and his offense is starting too come around as well. If and when that happens, this kid will become a superstar. As a freshman Richard Howell was lazy, overweight and didn’t care much about rebounding. Things drastically changed and he became one of the hardest working, beloved Pack players in recent memory, but what if he would have had 4 years with that outlook instead of just 2. Freeman does have those 4 years and if he keeps doing what he’s doing he could become the best rebounder State has had in a long, long time.
– TJ Warren did it again. 23 points, 10-18 shooting, 5 boards, just another game for the sophomore leader. I’m going to say that again…sophomore leader. It’s hard to believe TJ is only a sophomore. His game is so advanced, his scoring and game play is so fluid. He’s now averaging 22.6 ppg, leading the ACC. I’m not sure what else you can say about him, he’s a legit pro and probably the best scorer State has seen since Hodge.
– Vandenberg policed the middle against LBS and really caused problems. I wish ‘altered shots’ or ‘change of decision’ was a counted stat because Vandy would be a league leader. He only scored 2 points, had 5 boards and added 3 blocks, but his presence alone did so much more. Long Beach State didn’t really know what to do inside. They were forcing quick shots, changing their release and passing out in situations that they would usually shoot…and it was all because of Big V. He had big blocks early on that sent a message to the 49ers. They received that message and looked uncomfortable all night when they were in the paint.
Next up for the Pack (6-2) is the Detroit Titans, this Saturday at 2pm at the PNC Arena.
NC State’s Men’s Basketball Team is Having One of it’s Best Runs in the ACC Ever
Heading into tonight’s Top-25 matchup between #22 NC State and #8 UVA, the Wolfpack are in the midst of one of their best runs in ACC play since the conference was formed in 1953.
The Wolfpack are 9-4 in the ACC, but they have won 8 of their last 9 conference games.
The last time NC State went on a run like this in ACC Regular Season games was during the 1972-73 and 73-74 seasons, when the Wolfpack went 12-0 in ACC play.
12-0 (1972 & 73-74)
12 of 13 (1958-59)
8 of 9 (2022-23, 1961-61, 1954-55)
7 of 8 (1974-75, 1969-70, 1964-65, 1955-56)
6 of 7 (2005-06, 1979-80, 1960-61, 1957-58)
#22 NC State is a 7.5-Point Underdog at #8 UVA Tonight
#22 NC State is a 7.5-point underdog at #8 Virginia tonight at 9pm, and the Total is sitting at 137.
- NC State is 19-5 Straight Up.
- They are 11-11-2 Against the Spread.
- UVA is 17-4 Straight Up.
- They are 8-12-1 Against the Spread.
- The Total has gone Over in 13 of NC State’s 24 games.
- The Total has gone Over in 12 of UVA’s 22 games
- UVA is 15-2 as the Favorite.
- NC State is 4-4 as the Underdog.
- NC State is 4-1-1 in their last 6 games against UVA Against the Spread.
- The Total has gone Over in 5 of NC State’s last 7 games.
- The Total has gone Over in 4 of UVA’s last 5 games.
- The Total has gone Under in 5 of the last 6 games between these two in Charlottesville.
- NC State has won two in a row, and 3 of the last 4 against UVA.
- Kevin Keatts is 3-4 against UVA. He is 2-2 at UVA.
NC State vs. UVA
NC State is the ONLY Team in the Triangle Ranked for the 1st Time in 40 Years
NC State’s Men’s Basketball team is back in the AP Top 25 for the first time in 4 years, landing at #22 in the Week 14 AP Poll.
NC State is ranked. Duke and UNC are not. Last time that was the case? December 27th, 1982. Over 40 years ago. It’s only the 6th time in 67 years that this has happened.
Wolfpack was 17th that week. UNC was unranked in two polls all year, Dec. 20 and Dec. 27. Duke was not ranked that season (Dawkins, Alarie, Bilis, Henderson were freshmen).
Other *cough* ACC teams on Dec. 27: Virginia (4), Louisville (13), Syracuse (14).
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) February 6, 2023
Before that: The preseason poll in 1973, the final poll in 1970 and Dec. 5, 1955. So this is the sixth time in 67 years.
Happened pretty often between 1952-55. NC State was ranked during the entire 1950-51 season while neither Duke nor UNC was.
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) February 6, 2023
Anyone remember what happened that 1982-83 basketball season?
NC State won the National Championship.
NC State Breaks Into the AP Poll, Landing at #22
NC State is off to it’s best start in almost 2 decades, and they now finally have a number beside their name, landing at #22 in the Week 14 AP Poll.
— NC State Men's Bball (@PackMensBball) February 6, 2023
This is the first time that NC State has been ranked in the AP Poll since January 28th, 2019, when they were ranked 23rd.
ACC Teams in the Week 14 AP Poll
22. NC State