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Gameday: NC State’s Keys To Beating #25 Mizzou

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NC State Wolfpack vs. Missouri Tigers
8pm | ESPN2 | Raleigh, NC

In what will be the toughest test so far this season, NC State is readying for their matchup with #25 Missouri.

State is riding an impressive 7 game winning streak and has not dropped a game since Cat Barber and Jordan Vandenberg have been inserted into the starting lineup. Today’s matchup, however, is going to be a true challenge. #25 Missouri comes into Raleigh having only lost one game all season.

As we broke down in our Missouri scouting article, the Tigers have two very dangerous guards. Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown. Both are bigger than anyone the Pack has in their backcourt, and both will require constant attention all night.

If you want to know more about Missouri as a team, click over to our ‘Scouting the Competition’ piece on them from Thursday. In a nutshell, they are a Frank Haith coached team that likes to push the pace. They take a lot of quick shots, but they’re usually open shot in transition. They have a lot of good shooters and they’re mostly all pretty good athletes. They play solid D and they really hustle. This is not going to be a walk in the park for the Wolfpack by any means.

Let’s take a look at the keys for NC State:

TJ Warren needs to get going. He’s coming in averaging 24 points per game and they’re going to need him to hit that mark if they want to keep up. This Missouri team can put up points in a hurry if they’re on, but so can the Wolfpack. Missouri will likely guard Warren with Earnest Ross, a big, strong wing player who is a good defender. The problem with Ross, however, is his mental lapses. Warren is crafty and will need to find ways to frustrate Ross and throw him off his game. There are only a few defenders in college basketball  that can outright stop TJ Warren. As good as he is, Earnest Ross is not one of them.

Protect the basketball. This is going to be key. Both teams like to run and gun, but Missouri sometimes gets going a little too fast. They have a tendency to turn it over quite a bit. This is an area that the Wolfpack can really have an advantage. They need to capitalize on Missouri’s mistakes. On the other hand, and really more importantly, is that State doesn’t follow suit. Barber, Lewis and Lee will really need to be smart on the break and make strong passes when rotating the ball. Missouri likes to jump the lanes and cause havoc, but if State can limit turnovers they can win this game.

Use your advantage inside. Missouri is thin in the middle. They’re relying on underclassmen Jonathan Williams III, a freshman, and Ryan Rosberg, a sophomore, for their paint points. While they aren’t that bad, they aren’t game-changing players. State has recently looked extremely impressive inside thanks to the play of Jordan Vandenberg, Lennard Freeman, Kyle Washington and Beejay Anya. I think this will be key for NC State. They need to continue to dominate inside and rule the boards against smaller, weaker Missouri front line.

Transition defense is key. Missouri spends most of their games in transition and they’re at their worst when they’re setting up in the half court. State needs to slow them down if possible. One way to do that is to make shots, but when shots don’t fall they need to get back and find their men. Missouri let’s guys leak out to get an advantage on the break. They also like their shooters to flair to the corners for transition 3s. The Wolfpack needs to be aware of this at all times. They also need to respect the 3 ball. When the Tigers are knocking it down from beyond the arc, they are hard to beat. Closing out on guys like Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross is vital. Both guys are certainly more dangerous shooting the basketball than they are driving.

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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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