NC State Wolfpack vs. Pitt Panthers
12 noon | PNC Arena | Raleigh, NC | TV: ACCNetwork
The Wolfpack open up ACC play against the Pitt Panthers. Pitt is a newcomer to the ACC who is looking to make an early splash, and come into this game with only one loss on the season.
The Panthers opened up this season on a 10 game winning streak before falling to Cincinnati by 1, in an ugly 44-43 matchup. Their wins of note have been Texas Tech, Stanford and Penn State.
Player to watch
Pitt’s big-time scorer is senior guard Lamar Patterson. This kid is 6’5 and can score it in a variety of ways. You might list him as a forward on some nights because he really is more of a tweener, but that doesn’t stop him from dominating. He’s averaging 16. 8ppg, nearly 5 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. He’s a do it all guy that can score in the middle or knock down the 3 ball. He’s hitting 43% of his 3s.
Home Sweet Home
One thing Pitt hasn’t done this season is win on the road. The reason is because this is their first road game. That will be a factor because Pitt is a pretty young team overall, even though their leaders are seniors.
By the Numbers
Pitt is currently averaging 76.9 points per game, 38.6 rebounds per game and are shooting 48% from the field. Compare that to NC State’s 75.3ppg, 36.5 rebounds per game and a FG% of 48.3. That final number for State is a little skewed because of their abysmal 3 point shooting. Actually, State is one of the best teams in the nation in FG% inside the arc. State is 14th in the nation in that category at 55.3%. Then you need to add in the fact that they are #1 in the nation in 2-point scoring distribution at 65%. That means NC State scores a higher percentage of its points on made 2-point field goals than anyone in the nation.
Both of these teams like to get out and run. Usually that isn’t the case with Pitt, who is known as a ‘grind-it-out’ type of team. This year, however, they have been productive on the break. They are, like usual, very big and very strong. NC State is certainly going to have a tough time matching up with them size wise. Most guys on the Wolfpack are fresh out of high school or a year removed, while Pitt has a team that looks like a group of grown men. Pitt is also very, very good defensively. They are always in passing lanes and very good at help and recover.
The key for the Pack is to take care of the ball. It will be interesting to see how the game is officiated, because Pitt likes to use their muscle to dictate the game. They like to bump, nudge and push on defense so the ball handler can’t get to where he wants to go. This year the refs have been very tight on the bumping calls, so we’ll have to wait and see. This will be a big game for Barber, Lee and Lewis who will need to make sure they can get to their spots against a well-coached defensive team.
NC State’s 2023-23 Men’s Basketball Schedule Has Arrived
NC State’s 2023-24 Men’s Basketball schedule has arrived!
NC State to Honor David Thompson with Statue Outside Reynolds Coliseum
RALEIGH – NC State University will pay tribute to three-time All-American David Thompson with a statue sculpted in his honor that will be placed outside of Reynolds Coliseum.
The unveiling will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6, the day of the Wolfpack men’s basketball team’s annual Heritage Game at Reynolds Coliseum, and will be open to the public.
“This is such a deserved honor for the greatest basketball player to ever wear an NC State jersey,” NC State Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan said. “He is one of the most iconic players to ever play in the ACC and our hope is that this statue will ensure that generations of NC State students and fans will always remember the legacy and contributions of David Thompson.”
Thompson is widely recognized as one of the greatest players in college basketball history. A 2008 ESPN story ranked him as one of the ten best college basketball players of all-time, and he is regarded as one of greatest athletes in Atlantic Coast Conference history.
The Boiling Spring, N.C., native played three seasons at NC State from 1972-75 and was a unanimous first-team All-American at the conclusion of all three seasons. He was also named the ACC Player of the Year all three seasons.
He was named the Associated Press National Player of the Year in 1974 and 1975 and remains one of just five players in college basketball history to win multiple AP National Player of the Year honors.
Thompson immediately made his mark on the Pack, helping lead NC State to an undefeated season (27-0) in 1973. The Pack dominated the 1972-73 season and was at the top or near the top of the polls all season as Thompson averaged 24.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
Thompson returned in the 1973-74 season and led the Wolfpack to a 30-1 record and the school’s first NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball National Title.
In the Final Four, Thompson and the Wolfpack met up with UCLA, the seven-time reigning National Champions and the only team to have defeated NC State that season. The Pack trailed 74-67 in the second overtime when Thompson’s heroics helped lead NC State back. Thompson pulled down a defensive rebound and made the go-ahead basket with under one minute remaining and then made two free throws with 38 seconds to go to give the Pack a 78-75 double overtime win in a game that is still considered one of the greatest Final Four games ever played.
Thompson finished the game with 28 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Bill Walton and the Bruins.
Two nights later, the Pack won the National Title over Marquette, 76-64, behind 21 points from Thompson. Thompson was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
To make it into the NCAA Tournament, the Pack defeated fourth-ranked Maryland, 103-100, in overtime in the 1974 ACC Championship, in a game that is routinely considered one of the best games in college basketball history.
As a senior, Thompson averaged 29.9 points, still the highest single season average in NC State history. He scored an NC State and ACC record 57 points in an early season win over Buffalo State. The Pack started the season ranked No. 1 in the nation and never fell out of the top-10, but lost in the ACC Championship game to end its season. The Pack finished the season ranked seventh in the nation but because the NCAA Tournament at that time only allowed the conference champion into the tournament its season was over.
Thompson closed his career with 2,309 points in 86 career games. He led the ACC in scoring all three seasons and was NC State and the ACC’s career scoring leader when he graduated.
Former NC State Basketball Player Torin Dorn Joins Coaching Staff of G-League SLC Stars
Former NC State basketball player Torin Dorn has joined the staff of the Salt Lake City Stars, the G-League team for the Utah Jazz. Dorn’s title is Player Development Associate/Assistant Coach.
After playing 3 seasons at NC State, Dorn went on to play professionally overseas in Poland and Czech Republic, before joining the Wolfpack coaching staff last season as a Graduate Manager.
Dorn will be working under newly appointed head coach Steve Wojciechowski (former Duke PG), who was the head coach at Marquette the past 7 seasons.
NC State Guard MJ Rice Will Be Returning Soon After Stepping Away for a Period of Time
NC State Guard MJ Rice (6’5″/215) announced yesterday that due to personal reasons, he had to step away from the basketball program, but was excited to be back with his teammates soon. He was clear that his commitment to NC State hasn’t wavered.
Life is much bigger than sports. These young men are human beings first and foremost, and as we all know, this life is never simple and easy.
Rice transferred to NC State this offseason from Kansas with three years of eligibility remaining. The former High School McDonald’s All-American didn’t get a lot of playing time in his Freshman season at Kansas, averaging 7.6 minutes per game in only 23 games played.
Coming out of Prolific Prep in California, Rice averaged 20.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a Senior. Rivals ranked him as a 5-star prospect, ON3 ranked him 24th nationally, and ESPN ranked him as the #1 player in the state of North Carolina.
Whatever Rice is working through, we value him as a person more than we do a player.