As it’s happened so often in the past, NC State came out timid against rival UNC in the Dean Smith Center. I don’t know what it is, but you’d think in a rivalry game you’d come out of the gates wanting to knock your opponent in the mouth. You’d think that while shots may not fall because of nerves– toughness, hustle and attitude would be amplified. For some reason, this hasn’t been true for the Pack.
Carolina did come out with passion, toughness and attitude and while State was tiptoeing around the floor, UNC was building a 17 point halftime lead. They used a healthy dose of James Michael McAdoo (16pts…on 4 made FGs, mind you), who somehow got to the line nearly every time he touched the basketball, and a hot shooting Leslie McDonald (20pts) to fend off the Wolfpack.
It was a heartbreaking loss for this team who has been so good over the last 3 games. However there is some silver lining. State won the second half by 3 and really showed a lot more passion and focus. To get into detail,we’ll get into the game notes:
NC State came out soft
This team hasn’t always played great, but they’ve almost always played tough. So I’m really baffled with the way they came out against their rival. You’d think they’d be out for blood in a game this important, but they played soft and scared most of this game. This was reminiscent of both the Duke and UVA games where the opposition got very physical , denied point to point passes, and made State look like a confused high school team. I know these guys are young, but they have to get past that. They have to man up and come in wanting that type of physicality. They should come out hoping a team tries to get physical with them and then give it right back to them. Instead, State just looked young and confused early on, allowing UNC to force them into poor, rushed shots for most of the first half.
Punished on the boards
NC State had a bigger lineup on the floor almost the entire game. So can someone please tell me why State was beat down on the boards so mercilessly. It ended up 52-36..advantage Carolina. There’s really no way to say it other than, they wanted it more. They crashed the boards, State wasn’t focused on boxing out and when the ball was up for grabs, the Pack would rather swat it around than clear out space underneath with a box out rip down what belongs to them. The toughness on this team needs a check and that’s on Gottfried right now. I don’t know how, but he needs to put a mean streak into his front line, because something like this can’t happen again.
Poor Shots, No Flow…Too rushed
In games like this where the defense is literally denying entry passes into your offense and extending denial D all the way to near mid-court, you need to find ways to use that to your advantage. With the amount of overplay Carolina was doing, State should have had a field day on back door cuts. When a team is being that aggressive, it’s important to not allow that to rush you through your offense. That’s what Carolina wanted. Instead, State needs to slow down, make sure they’re setting up their screen and going off of them shoulder to shoulder. They need to change speeds to throw their defense off. Stopping and starting away from the ball will buy you more time to get open than if you’re going full speed all the time. These are the small things that end up being the difference in you getting a good shot, or you getting down to 5 on the shot clock and having to heave up a desperation 3.
Giant D. Lee
Ok, now that we got through the negatives, I think we should focus on a few positives…one being the fact that Dez Lee has finally arrived. This is the second time straight that he has taken over an entire game by himself down the stretch. Lee finished with 18 points (on 7-11 shooting), , 3 boards, 3 assists, and 2 steals. He’s got the passion, he’s got the skills and he’s shown the ability to put his team on his back when it’s crunch time. The problem is, Lee is only doing this when it’s almost too late. State needs him to accept the fact that he has to be a go-to scorer from the get-go if they are going to be successful. Lee can dominate at this level and as State fans, we should all hope this has clicked with Dez. He’s shown glimpses of being a star all season long, but he broke through a barrier these past two games. I think he’s starting to understand that it’s time for him rise up and start taking control of this team. No more timid first halves where he just takes what comes to him. It’s time that he starts getting aggressive, making plays and leading this team as far as he can.
Warren with another great game…but he can’t do it alone
It was a very quiet 20 points, that’s for sure, but TJ Warren once again led this team in scoring. He got off to a very slow start, like the rest of this team, but then came on late. Back to the previous point, State really needs Dez Lee to step up and get aggressive, because that is when Warren is so dangerous. Sure, TJ can score at will on the break or when he gets set up in the lane, but he doesn’t have much success when the team stands around and tosses to him, essentially telling him to just go to work. Remember, Warren is 6’8 and while quick and great off the dribble, he’s being guarded by smaller, faster players and he’s not able to get by them. This usually ends up being a floater with 2 hands in his face, or a fade away jumper from the corner. This isn’t the type of offense the Pack should be looking for. When they are clicking on all cylinders, they are attack from the guard position, dumping it down in the post, and allowing Warren to really move without the ball.
____ Interviews via WRAL _____
Next up is Feb. 8th at Miami….
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