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’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