– First off, I want to say that this is easily the most fun Wolfpack team to watch in the past 10 years. The teamwork, the hustle and the heart is a real breath of fresh air for State fans who are used to season’s collapsing or expectation unmet thanks to suspect chemistry. It’s a real testament to Mark Gottfried. You could tell as soon as he got here that he’s trying to create a family atmosphere where trust and loyalty play big roles. It also shows you that it’s not only the coach having to preach and teach this type of buy in, but also a group of players that are team first. One player with a bad attitude can turn things sour. As Wolfpack fans, we’ve seen it. But this year is different, and it’s trickling down from their leader, TJ Warren who is a team player that is even tempered and isn’t demonstrative to his team after mistakes.
Now, let’s get into the ECU game….
– TJ Warren set a career high with 32 points. He was everywhere against ECU and they really had no way to stop him. His ability to change speeds, his footwork, body control and quick/soft release makes scoring look so simple. We’re watching one of the best all-around scorers in NC State history. He’s not going to be around next year, so enjoy every minute of what you’re witnessing. Anyways, we mentioned in our pregame piece that ECU was going to really struggle to stop TJ and that certainly was the case. I think that’s going to be a huge factor in the ACC. Does the opposing team have a swingman who can lock down on defense and stop TJ. If they don’t then NC State walks in with a pretty hefty advantage.
– Jordan Vandenberg has been absolutely huge for this team. Since he’s gotten back on the court NC State has reeled off 7 straight wins. That is not a coincidence. Vandy is not only helping a ton on the defensive end and with rebounding, but he’s a giant factor on offense and on the break. Jordan set a career high with 18 points on a bunch of his usual dunks, but also on a few nifty hook shots and post moves. As he keeps playing well, he keeps gaining confidence, and if the Wolfpack can run out a confident Vandy on most nights, then they have a good shot at a W.
– I think the career nights by TJ and Jordan kind of overshadowed an outstanding performance by Cat Barber. This kid is coming into his own and is showing why he was so coveted as a recruit. Remember, Barber is a freshman, so it’s amazing to see all of this come so easy. He finished the game with 16 points, 8 assists…but the big stat here is his 1 turnover. I know we came into this season thinking Tyler Lewis would be the leading man, and I do kind of feel bad for Lewis, but Barber has just been too good to take off the floor. He did it against Tennessee and he did it again against ECU. When State goes stagnant and the offense gets sluggish, it’s Barber who can simply make things happen off the dribble. He’s an elite scorer who is just learning how to play in this league. It’s scary to think what he can become.
– Oh my, Beejay Anya. The guy is becoming an instant fan favorite (and for good reason). He still needs to get his body in shape, but with that wingspan he’s becoming a real enforcer. 12 minutes, 2 points, 4 boards and 5 blocks. That kind of production from a big coming off your bench is something not many teams have. Anya shut down ECU in the final 5 minutes of the first half and single handedly changed the momentum of this game. He’s becoming a monster.
– I think we all can tell that Tyler Lewis is likely feeling a bit under appreciated. I mean here’s a kid who was billed as the leader of this team and we’re not even in conference play and he’s struggling to get 10 minutes per game. It’s tough, because he’s a great story and so exciting when he’s playing well. I just think a lot of his game is based on confidence and right now he’s fighting hard against the notion that he’s a backup point guard. But the faster he comes to terms, accepts his role and gets back to playing his game, the faster he’s going to find success again. No one has soured on him. He’s still a huge part of this team and there are going to be games where the play of Tyler Lewis will be the difference in a win and a loss for State, but he’s really hurting himself by trying to find his shot and prove he can score with Barber. He needs to be that change of pace back, that guy who makes no mistakes and protects the basketball. He’s not going to fill the scoring shoes of Barber on a nightly basis and he’s not going to be a lock down defender, so instead of trying to do things he’s not built to do, he needs to focus on his strengths and bring those to the table every time out. Doing that will not only make State better, it will get Lewis back in the rotation with a bigger role.
– Meanwhile, Ralston Turner is shooting 42% from beyond the arc. That’s only 2% lower than Scott Wood last season. He’s also providing defense and some rebounding, so really he has done a good job of replacing the senior shooter. Turner finished with 11 points on 3-4 shooting from 3.
– Lennard Freeman is still doing work. 4 points, 6 boards and infinite amount of hustle.
– Next up is a real test for the Pack. They have a week off before they face their first ranked opponent, #23 Missouri next Saturday Dec 28 at 8pm.
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