NC State at Virginia Tech
2pm | Cassell Coliseum | RSN/ESPN3
The Wolfpack are on their last legs today as they take on last place Virginia Tech at 2pm.
After a heartbreaking loss to Syracuse and the debacle at Clemson, NC State’s tournament hopes are bleak, but not completely gone. Winning out would certainly give State a great shot at getting an at-large bid, but that means winning today against Virginia Tech. Now sure, the Hokies are only 2-11, but remember, we just saw a 2-10 Boston College team knock off undefeated Syracuse just a few days ago and this State team isn’t exactly setting the world on fire right lately. So, let’s take a closer look at the keys to the game.
Must stop Jarell Eddie
Yep, Eddie is still at Virginia Tech even though it seems like he’s been there a full century. Now a senior he’s leading their team in scoring at 13 point per game. At 6’7 he’s a wing guy that can cause some matchup problems for some teams. However, I think State matches up well with guys like this. They did a good job shutting down the 6’8 CJ Fair and then really didn’t give up much to the 6’6 KJ McDaniels at Clemson.
Guards need to get their act together
Coming into the season you’d have probably though NC State would have most of their trouble inside. With a group of freshmen and Jordan Vandenberg manning the middle, it didn’t seem like this would be an area of strength. We’re not 3/4 of the way through the season and the Wolfpack bigs are really the story of this team. Warren of course is their go-to guy, but Washington, Freeman, Anya and Vandy have provided a huge lift and really haven’t been dominated since early in the season. Where State is getting killed is at guard. Lewis, Barber and Lee are all really struggling right now. Lewis is playing smart, but just isn’t able to defend bigger, strong guards. Barber is playing hard but is still suffering from freshmen brain cramps and his decision making at the point, while Lee has simply gone missing. Dez hasn’t been aggressive and hasn’t played with that type of fire and explosiveness we saw early in the season.
Really your biggest problem of all is that these guys are shooting worse from 3 than any guard group we’ve ever seen. Combined they are only knocking down 22% from beyond the arc. This on it’s own is crippling the Wolfpack’s ability to compete against the zone on most nights. What’s crazy about the whole thing is that Lewis, Barber and Lee are all decent shooters but for whatever reason they have absolutely lost confidence in their ability to shoot from the outside.
Where’s the fire?
Where’s the ‘us against the world’ attitude that this young team should be taking on? I see it every night from Kyle Washington. I see it from Lennard Freeman when he’s out there. I see it from TJ Warren while he’s carrying the team, but outside of that it’s non-existant. Is anyone else out there aware that they were picked to finish near the bottom of the ACC. That no one thought they had a shot at even sniffing the NCAA Tournament. But here they are with hopes still slightly alive. With the ability to take a group that has no business playing in March on paper, but who are a few wins away from doing just that. Where is that chip on their shoulder? Where is that hunger to disprove doubters? I don’t see it collectively from this team and with their backs against the wall, that is a huge problem.
State’s kind of Game
Now having gotten a lot of criticism out of the way, I really think this game against VT is tailor made for NC State. It’s a team that really can’t shoot it. They don’t defend well and they don’t really play as a team. What they do however, is rebound the basketball. They really get at it on the boards and they have some good size. With that said, State should be able to match them on the boards if Vandy plays strong and Washington stays hungry. The only way State loses today is if they play absolutely flat like they did against Clemson. Play that way and you won’t beat anyone in the ACC, not even VT.
NC State 84 BC 78: BOX SCORE
NC State is a Slight Underdog in ACC Opener vs. Boston College
NC State (4-2) will play their first ACC game of the 2023-24 season tomorrow on the road against Boston College (5-2), and they enter the game as slight underdogs. The Wolfpack are 1.5-point underdogs, and the Total is 150.5.
- NC State is 0-2 Straight Up as underdogs
- BC is 4-1 Straight Up as favorites.
- NC State is 2-4 Against the Spread.
- BC is 4-3 Against the Spread
- The Total has gone Under in 2 games for NC State, Over in 3 and Pushed in 1.
- The Total has gone Under in 3 games for Boston College and Over in 4.
- NC State is 6-4 in their last 10 games against BC Straight Up.
- NC State is 4–6 Against the Spread in their last 10 games against BC.
- The Total has gone Under in 5 games, and Under in the other 5.
#5 NC State 70 Vanderbilt 62: BOX SCORE (with notes)
The 5th ranked NC State Women’s Basketball team improved to 8-0 tonight, defeating Vanderbilt 70-62 in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge.
- Saniya Rivers scored 20+ points for the 2nd time this season, scoring 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting. She also chipped in 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
- River Baldwin posted her first double-double of the season. She scored 12 points and grabbed 10 boards.
- Aziaha James has now scored in double figures in 7 of 8 games, scoring 14 points tonight, shooting 6 of 10 from the field and 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.
- Freshman Zoe Brooks led the Pack in steals (4) and assists (4).
- NC State didn’t shoot well, making only 39% of their shots. Fortunately, they held Vandy to 34.3% shooting.
The Wolfpack will host Illinois State on Sunday at 2pm.
NC State Stat Leaders Heading into the ACC Opener vs Boston College
This Saturday, NC State heads to Boston College for the now-annual early ACC opener. The Pack will face off against the Eagles at 4pm on ACC Network. Here is where the team is statistically after 6 games.
- Casey Morsell leads NC State in scoring with 14.5 ppg.
- The Pack has 4 double-digit scorers this season. Morsell (14.5), Jayden Taylor (13.3), DJ Burns (13) and DJ Horne (11.2)
(Last season State had 4 double-digit scorers as well. Terquavion (17.9), Joiner (17), Burns (12.5) and Morsell (11.8))
- After their top 4 scorers there is a big dip. Parker comes in at 6.8, O’Connell at 6.3, and Middlebrooks at 5.5 ppg.
(Last season Jack Clark was 5th on the team in scoring at 9 points and Mahorcic was at 8.7. However, both guys missed a large chunk of the season.)
- Burns is leading NC State in rebounding this year at 5.3 per game. Diarra is next with 5.3 (but is currently hampered by an ankle injury.)
- O’Connell is leading NC State in assists with 3.3 per game, and Burns is up next with 2.5. PG DJ Horne is only averaging 2.
- LJ Thomas and Mike O’Connell are tied in leading the team at .15 assists per minute.
- Jayden Taylor is leading NC State in 3pt %, shooting an outstanding 45.8%, while Morsell is up next at 34.6%. Horne is close behind at 33%.
(LJ Thomas is shooting 50% from 3, but only has 2 attempts.)
- Burns is leading the bigs, shooting 56.5% from the floor, while Middlebrooks is close behind at 54.2%. Dennis Parker Jr is coming in at 45.2%.
- For the guards, it’s Casey Morsell leading the way at 44.6% from the floor, while O’Connell is next up at 43.4%. Taylor is shooting 42.4%, and DJ Horne is struggling a bit, shooting just 34.8% from the field.
- Jayden Taylor is turning the ball over the most at 1.8 times per game, while Burns is next at 1.7. Morsell is at 1.5 and O’Connell is at 1.2. DJ Horne has been doing a good job of protecting the basketball, turning it over just .3 times per game.