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How has UNC gotten so hot? Can the Wolfpack stop them?

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If State ever needed a big win against Carolina, it’s now. After a near win over #1 syracuse and then an egg at Clemson, the boys in red have their backs against the wall.

There is one hope, however.

Lucky for NC State, their arch rival UNC has been playing great basketball of late. I know that sounds like it’s a compliment to UNC, but in reality, State needed the Heels to build themselves up, so they can knock them down. Roy’s bunch is the talk of the NCAA right now, making a huge, late move in the ACC and beating teams handily while doing so. That sets the stage for the Wolfpack, who need a quality win against a quality opponent. How sweet would it be for that win to come against their rival in Raleigh.

For State to pull off this upset they’re going to need to play physical, focused and possessed basketball. UNC has gone from a team with no identity, to a group that is confident, athletic and hungry. Here is why UNC has gotten better:

McAdoo is playing physical and very aggressive…
McAdoo started off the season playing very weak against tough opponents. For whatever reason, he was settling for jumpers, attacking the rim soft and allowing other bigs to muscle him around.  Now, McAdoo is a team leader and a huge reason why the Tar Heels have turned into one of the most feared teams in the nation. The junior is reeling off big game after big game. He’s scoring at the rim, using his athleticism to face up dominate off the dribble, and owning the boards. He’s averaging 14.6 pts and 7 boards per game. For State he is going to be a tough matchup because of his versatility. Last time the teams met he played strong, putting up 16 points and 13 boards. Now, those stats might be a little misleading. McAdoo was living at the line for some reason. Every time he drove the refs blew the whistle. He went to the line 14 times that game, which is the most he’s gone in any ACC match this season.

Leslie McDonald is on fire….
The line you never thought you’d see written. McDonald, the on again off again shooting guard who really has never been a huge factor for UNC, all of the sudden is baking. 21 points vs. Duke, 19 more vs. Wake. Let’s be honest, no one is scared of McDonald, but he’s starting to make a case to be respected. He dominated off the bounce against Duke and knocked in five 3s vs Wake, so really he’s not just scoring one way. State needs to be cautious not to let McDonald get going.

Meeks is sporadically having huge games…
You might catch Meeks on a night when he does absolutely nothing offensively. You also might catch him on a night when he’s hitting fade away jumpers in your face. Meeks is going to be a player, but right now he’s inconsistent. He’s big and strong, but State definitely has the size to match him inside. The difference here is the motor. Meeks, when going good, plays very hard and is very aggressive on the glass. State needs to keep him off the boards if they want a chance in this one. He’s averaging 8 points and 6 boards, but put up 23 and 7 just three games ago.

Marcus Paige still cooking….
Dang. Honestly, I have to admit that I didn’t think Paige was ever going to be much of a threat. I thought he was just a poor man’s Kendall Marshall. I was wrong. Paige some how has turned into UNC’s leading scorer and leading assist man. He’s having big nights every time out. At 17 points and nearly 5 assists per game, this kid is a star. He put up 15 last time the teams met and he’s just going to be a tough cover for the Pack. Tyler Lewis has taken over the PG reigns for Mark Gottfried, but he still struggles defensively against opponents who are aggressive and like to score. Paige fits this mold and will be trouble for the Wolfpack.
So with all of this being said, do we think State can pull this off? Of course we do, we’re PackInsider.com. Seriously though, I do think State has a shot in this one, but they really have to be strong inside. Paige is going to get his, but if the Wolfpack bigs can control the middle they can certainly win this game. That means Washington, Vandy, Anya and Freeman need to step up and own the backboards. If Brice Johnson, McAdoo and Meeks get going, then State is in trouble, however this season the Wolfpack bigs have been a real bright spot.

Tomorrow we’ll get into more details on exactly how UNC is vulnerable and how NC State can expose them.

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NC State’s Week 1 Depth Chart Against UCONN (with Notes)

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NC State will kick off their 2023 Football season next Thursday night against UCONN at 7:30pm. The Wolfpack released their Depth Chart for the game today.

Image

Notes

  • Redshirt Sophomore Anthony Carter Jr. is listed as the starting Left Guard. If Redshirt Sophomore Lyndon Cooper wasn’t missing the first game due to injury, I wonder if Carter would be starting. Doeren did praise Carter in his press conference today. Also, he stated that Cooper should be back for the Notre Dame game.
  • Noticeably, Graduate Transfer Offensive Lineman Dawson Jaramillo is also missing from the Depth Chart. Unfortunately, Jaramillo has suffered an injury, and will miss the entirety of the 2023 season. This is a huge blow for Jaramillo, and a huge blow for the depth of the Wolfpack Offensive Line. Jaramillo was a Swiss Army knife, having the ability to play in numerous positions.
  • Very often, Doeren has stated that the “Or” in between two names means that the coaching staff sees both players as starters. There is an “Or” in between Chris Toudle and Trent Pennix at Tight End, with the former being listed first. Maybe it doesn’t matter whose name is listed first, but I’m shocked Pennix’s name wasn’t the one at the top.
  • I’m not shocked that Julian Gray and Keyon Lesane are listed as the starters at the X and Y Wide Receiver positions. They both have had a lot of buzz surrounding them in Fall Camp, and Lesane was named a captain. Obviously, with Gray’s speed, Offensive Coordinator Robert Anae is going to want to find a way to get the ball in his hands. With that being said, and this is no disrespect to the two of them, but both of them are 5’11”, which isn’t exactly the way you would sculpt your prototypical outside receivers. I expect Terrell Timmons and Bradley Rozner to both be heavily in rotation at the X and Y, to give the outside receivers a good dose of speed as well as height.
  • True Freshman Running Back Kendrick Raphael might be buried at the bottom of the Depth Chart at his position, but I bet he sees a carry before Mimms or Jones. Doeren mentioned that we would see Raphael against UCONN, but didn’t mention Jones or Mimms. Anae likes to run 2 Running Back sets, with one of them almost functioning like a Full Back. As a result, I’m not shocked to see Jones and Mimms where they are in the Depth Chart.
  • Props to True Freshman Kevin Concepcion for earning the starting job at the Inside Wide Receiver position. Get ready to hear his name a lot this year. KC is backed up by Redshirt Sophomore Jalen Coit, who Doeren spoke highly of today.
  • Junior Porter Rooks is no longer sitting behind Thayer Thomas on the Depth Chart. Doeren said that Rooks has had a great camp. The former 4-Star prospect has an opportunity to show that those stars meant something by his name. With that being said, he will be pushed by True Freshman Javonte “Juice” Vereen, who even has national media buzzing about him heading into the season.
  • Three True Freshman are on the Offensive Depth Chart: Left Guard Kamen Smith, IWR Kevin Concepcion and FLEXY Juice Vereen.
  • True Freshman Kamal Bonner is 2nd on the Depth Chart at the Will Linebacker spot, backing up Payton Wilson. What’s noteworthy, is that he’s ahead of former 4-Star prospect Jordan Poole in the Depth Chart. Bonner must have made a heck of a first impression.
  • As expected, ODU Graduate Transfer Robert Kennedy is starting at Nickel.
  • True Freshman Brandon Cisse is backing up Aydan White at Right Corner, and Doeren said we should expect him to contribute.
  • Redshirt Sophomore Jalen Coit will be filling in the shoes of Thayer Thomas at Punt Returner.

 

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Elliot Avent is interviewed on MLB Network about rule changes and Wolfpack Alums

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Elliot Avent gave a great interview on MLB Network.

Avent talks about the rules changes in baseball and doesn’t seem too pleaseed about them, while also breaking some news that they might be naming the hitting facility after Trea Turner and the Pitching lab after Carlos Rodon.

Give it a watch.

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NC State Basketball

Mady Traore Will No Longer Enroll at NC State

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This unfortunately seemed inevitable.

According to 247Sports’ Travis Branham, 3-Star Mady Traore is no longer planning on enrolling at NC State.

Traore was a member of the Wolfpack’s 2022 recruiting class, but wasn’t able to enroll in the Fall because of Visa issues and the English Competency Test.

Back on November 29th, I posted the following article, saying that Traore was set to join the team for the 2nd semester. Traore himself told me when I posted it, that he was expecting to join the team in December.

I received the intel 2 weeks prior to posting, and prior to things beginning to brew between NC State and Isaiah Miranda. In hindsight, I wish I would have posted it when I got the intel (haha).

4-Star Mady Traore Expected to Suit up for NC State Soon

Obviously, that didn’t happen, and isn’t happening.

When I posted the article, things were in flux, because there was one scholarship available. If Miranda came, he was going to get the scholarship, and the staff was hoping Traore would be willing to wait and enroll in April. If Miranda didn’t come, then the expectation was for Traore to join the team in December, in the way that Miranda just did.

I still believe my source’s info was solid, and there are always a lot of moving pieces in play that can change scenarios quickly.

From what I hear, the staff was genuinely hopeful they could add Miranda in December, and Traore in April, but it didn’t work out that way, and that’s the way it goes sometimes.

We wish you the best Mady! You’ve got a special future in basketball.

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NC State Football

Ben Finley After He Led NC State to a Win Over #17 UNC: BULLETED

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Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Ben Finley defied the odds and led NC State to a 30-27 win over #17 UNC yesterday. He spoke with the media after the game, and you can watch it here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.

  • I think he [Ryan Finley] went 2-0 here in Carter-Finley West [Kenan Stadium].
    • But just having my 1st start and being able to go out there with the guys and get the W, this is the greatest feeling ever.
    • 5 weeks ago I was the 4th-string Quarterback messing around on the Scout Team.
      • I was still getting better, and having those guys still trust me when I came back up.
      • It just means the world to have the support from the entire team. They just played so well.
      • The defense. The offensive line gave me so much time. It was like I was just camping back there. It was awesome.
  • My roommate [Matt McCabe], who starts on our artillery, which is just the PAT and field goal unit, we were like ‘dude, the 1st week against ECU, there’s no way we would have thought we both would have been starting at UNC.’ It’s unreal.
  • I was just running around trying to hug everyone. I grabbed an NC State flag and planted it on the field, as I should have.
  • The nerves go away when you take the 1st hit.
    • It helped to get that lead at 7-0.
    • Leading up to the game if you’re not nervous then something is wrong with you.
    • I was a little nervous, but it’s just football.
  • It’s his [Devin Carter] 1st week back in a while.
    • To be honest, I haven’t thrown a pass to Devin Carter in probably over a year-and-a-half.
    • It’s like that with Thayer Thomas and Darryl Jones.
    • I had never thrown a pass to Darryl until last week in Louisville.
    • It’s just kind of weird. It’s like I’m playing on an All-Star team or something. I’ve just got ballers everywhere.
  • We knew if we got this win at UNC that it would be a big old band-aid on the season. Any time you can beat your rivals, especially at their home on Senior Night, it’s just huge.
  • You can never doubt yourself.
    • To be able to persevere, that’s the biggest thing in life. Things are going to happen to you.
    • Just keep fighting and climbing up the hill. You never reach the pinnacle of the mountain.
    • You’ve just got to keep climbing and getting better. That’s what our entire team does. We’re just constantly fighting.
  • It [being on the Scout Team] definitely helped with some of the throw windows and being comfortable in the pocket.
    • It definitely doesn’t help with the speed.
      • I definitely thought the game was going to be pretty slow when I got out there last week in Louisville and this week, and it wasn’t. With the scout team you let up.
      • You don’t get tackled. I haven’t taken a hit in three years. It was just kind of getting back into that.
      • But my O-line, I don’t even look like I’ve played a game. My jersey is pristine white. Any time you can go and just camp back there and deliver the ball, it’s a privilege.
  • I wanted to graduate from NC State [didn’t consider transferring from NC State]. That’s huge.
    • I graduate in December. That’s going to be really important for me to get my degree here.
    • I never tried to get into UNC, but according to Drake [Maye] I couldn’t have. It’s good that I get a nice degree from NC State in finance and go from there.
  • I had to find my parents. I love them so much, and they’ve just been such a big part of my life.
    • They’re the best parents that anyone could ask for. They show constant support.
    • Even when I was fourth string they were coming to every single game. The last three years they haven’t missed a game. I love them so much.
    • The least I can do is go over and celebrate with them. I’m definitely going to be continuing that celebration when I get home.
  • It was Terrell Timmons [was his go-to receiver on the Scout Team], and then I got him moved up. We were just tearing up the defense. He was bumped up.
    • Then it was Jalen Coit.
    • My tight ends were ballers. We were balling. Wake Forest was fun with that slow mesh.
  • I’m glad I could do that, but it’s a team win.
    • I made some crucial mistakes that I wish I could get back that I’ll learn from.
    • It was the entire team, starting with Chris Dunn.
      Jack [Chambers] went in there and put that 1st touchdown in.
    • Our defense was making stops. It was so fun watching our defense out there.
    • This is a big-time NC State win no UNC’s Senior Day. It’s not a Ben Finley win.
  • Oh yeah [wants to be the starter at NC State next year].
    • I’ve got 3 years of eligibility to play, which is crazy that I’m going to be in college just as long as my brother and he was in college for like 20 years.
    • I want to keep playing football. I love this game. I love this team. I love this school.

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