In what was one of the best basketball games ever played in the PNC Arena, NC State tragically let one slip away at the hands of Marcus Paige and UNC.
Another chapter has been written in the NC State/UNC rivalry and even though it ends badly for the Wolfpack, it’s a chapter that NC State fans won’t want to forget. This game was the epitome of the rivalry. Two teams that refused to lose, who fought hard from opening tip to closing buzzer. There’s a lot to say about this one, so let’s get to our notes:
TJ Warren has reached legendary status
State fans never forget a great individual performance against UNC. They’ll never forget CC Harrison’s eight 3s, or Lakista McCuller’s big night in 1995. Just as they talk about those games, they’ll talk about this game and the epic performance by TJ Warren. Warren was magnificent, especially at the end of regulation and in overtime. Warren scored nearly every time he touched the basketball. He was so hot that NC State just stopped playing offense and started isolating Warren to go 1 on 1. TJ finished with 36 points and did everything in his power to win this game for NC State, he just came up 1 point short. It was truly one of the best performances by a Wolfpack player that I’ve ever seen and one for the history books.
Defense was smothering
How was NC State able to slow down one of the hottest offensive teams in the nation? They played physical, they cut off passing lanes, they were focused and didn’t take any plays off. The defense really was the story of the first half, where they held UNC to 26 points and turned them over 11 times. One reason they were able to do this is that the refs finally let them play. State wasn’t being called for every bump, nudge or flop. The refs really let both teams play and NC State was the more physical team in the first half.
When’s last time a UNC team looked rattled by N.C. State’s defensive pressure? It’s happening now
— Jim Young (@ACCSports) February 27, 2014
Now, the second half is a different story. I went back to look at the tape and I do not understand why this changed. In the second half the game was called extremely tight and not only did it get NC state in foul trouble, but it made them tentative on defense which ended up really hurting them. That being said, it was still an awesome job by the Pack, who held McAdoo to 8 points and Leslie McDonald to 2.
Beejay Anya went beast mode
Sure, Anya could still stand to get in much better shape, but good lord, the kid is starting to become a factor for this team. Beejay played great position defense and his offense is starting to come around. The big freshman 10 points and 4 boards, while also adding some massive dunks that had the crowd in a frenzy.
Strange calls at the end….
I’m not going to complain about the reffing because I think it got real weird on both ends in this one, but the ACC refs need to just chill out at the end of games. They are way too obsessed with having their calls factor in the end of games. For one, the loose ball foul on Tyler Lewis that put Paige to the line with about 3 seconds (when the game was tied) was absurd. Now, Lewis may have touched his arm, but Paige controlled the ball and it really had no bearing on the play, but the ref blew the whistle and basically tried to decide the game (note that this is AFTER the refs missed an obvious foul call on the Warren shot). Then, with 1.5 seconds left and the game looking like it was all but over, they put Warren to the line because of the Tokoto holding call. (Now, there is no doubt that this was a makeup call for the missed Warren call and then the foul called on Paige). Even though I’m a State fan and this call went our way, I hate that this had to be called. This isn’t basketball, it’s a glorified whistle blowing festival where the refs try to make the most entertaining TV they can by attempting to up the drama. It’s sickening. Let the kids play.
And don’t even make me get into the bogus ‘out of bounds’ call on Warren…
And again, I’m not going to complain about this because of course they fixed it with their makeup call with 7 seconds left and Warren basically running through McAdoo to try to get a call, which he did. Look, there’s nothing wrong with what Warren did. He baited for a few calls and he got them because the refs had already made serious mistakes on the other end. I just hate basketball games being micro-managed by a bunch of ego-maniacs with whistles. I want to watch basketball that is decided by the players, not the zebras.
Marcus Paige, I hate you…but I respect you
Why did you ruin this for us? Why did you pick this game to have your career high? Why was this the night that literally everything you threw up late in the game, went in? In all seriousness though, this kid was freaking amazing (35 pts, 7 3s, 6 pts, 5 assists). He refused to lose and was the only Heel that really wanted this one. State did lose him a few times, but overall Paige just hit tough, tough shots, including the game-winner. It’s such a shame that this game and that TJ Warren outburst went to waste in the W/L column. This was a game for the ages and one that would have catapulted this young Wolfpack team to the next level. It still may, but it’s going to be hard to erase the memory of how this one ended.
State needs to take away the positives from this one. Look how good you can be. Look at what you’re capable of. Remember this is a very young team and they have a ton of ability when they play like they did against UNC. The question is ‘Can they sustain this effort?’ Can they rebound from this type of heartbreak? Well, they’ll need to if they want to make any kind of magical run. They play Saturday at home against 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