NC State suffered a serious hangover from the Syracuse loss, losing to Clemson 73-56. There was a lack of energy, zero defense and just not much want-to out of a Wolfpack team that was playing with their backs to the wall.
I really am not sure what to say here. The breakdown is simple, NC State just didn’t want it as much as Clemson did. Maybe it was the unusual travel schedule or the fact that they felt cheated out of that Syracuse game, I don’t know. What I do know is the performance should be seen as unacceptable from Mark Gottfried. His team had a shot to make a move and sneak into the tournament, now they pretty much need to win out to secure a spot and with games at Pitt and against UNC, it’s not going to be the least bit easy. So really, what went wrong?
TJ Warren was off
Sure Warren put up his usual 20 points, but it wasn’t vintage Warren. He really struggled on offense and just couldn’t seem to get his game going. He had 7 turnovers by himself, many of which were just balls slipping out of his hands. There was a complete lack of focus early on in this one and caused the Pack to dig themselves a hole.
Defense was poor
There are going to be games when you really need to lock down on defense and this was one of them. If you pressure Clemson and really lock down, they’re not going to score. It really set the tone early when PG Rod Hall went right at Lewis early in the game. He got some easy buckets and State was forced to take out Tyler. Now, I know that is the trade-off you get with Lewis. He’s not a great defender due to his size, but he’s got to get better if State wants to succeed night in and night out with him on the floor. As crafty as he is on offense, he seems to not bring much of that to the game defensively. When guards drive on lewis he gets very handsy and is often called for the foul. As a small guard, your best defense is to make contact with your chest. Lewis does often stay in front of guys, but when they get physical with him and force their way in, he either gives way, or uses his hands. If he’d just make contact with his chest and keep his hands out, the refs wouldn’t be able to make this call. He also could take a page out of Barber’s book. Cat stays in front of his guy and when they try to force their way in, he allows their momentum to take him backwards, usually resulting in a charge. Lewis has got to get more crafty on defense if he wants to be the long term option for NC State at PG.
The team needs toughness
This team has been better than most expected, but their is a huge problem with lack of toughness and lack of ability to play through contact. Teams like Clemson, UVA, Duke and at times UNC are very physical. They invite contact and use it to their advantage. These are the type of teams that NC State is getting crushed by. The Pack is shying away from contact, and are timid when teams really get up in them. Now, we do need to realize that this team is young and that they are still learning how to play in this league, but going forward toughness and physicality is going to be the difference-maker in this team becoming a contender in years to come.
I know this team is down, but they need to get their chins up and come back with an attitude. I’m not sure where it starts who who is the catalyst for this type of change, but it needs to happen. They have seen success with teams that lay back and don’t apply pressure, but have wilted when teams got physical and upped the pressure. And yes, I’m mainly talking about the guards. The Wolfpack bigs have really played strong and with a ton of passion this season, but the guards have had a ton of trouble against teams that key on defense. If they want to make a run, the guards need to toughen up quick.
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