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TJ Warren, NC State take down Boston College 78-68

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TJ Warren absolutely dominated Boston College, posting a career high 42 points (and added 13 boards) helping the Wolfpack trump the Eagles 78-68.

This win was huge for a number of reasons. For one, it gives State the 7th seed in the ACC Tournament. This allows them a bye on Wednesday and a likely matchup with Miami on Thursday. If they were to win both, they would face a struggling Syracuse team who still sits comfortably in the top 10 (#7).

Now, not to get ahead of myself here, but that would have State finishing the season with 21 wins, three of which would likely qualify as top 50 (Tenn, Pitt and Syracuse) and one that would qualify as top 10 (Syracuse). This would put State firmly on the bubble and with them playing well down the stretch, and TJ Warren looking like the second coming of Paul Pierce, the Pack would have a very good case for the big dance.

But that’s all hypothetical and is probably thinking way too far into the future. For now, let’s focus on the breakdown of last night’s win.

Warren is Legend
I had a conversation with another State fan at the midseason mark and I posed the question “If State just came down and let Warren shoot every time, would they be a better team offensively?” Now, I was semi-joking, but it’s not all that far fetched, and lately it’s been trending that way. Warren is shooting over 40% of the teams shots as of late. Against BC he took 23 and the team took 53 (he also went to the line 17 times). That might seem like a lot for one player, but he’s converting at an unseen rate. Last night he finished 61% from the field, which does not look too crazy if he were scoring everything out of the post, however, most of Warren’s points are coming from midrange jumpers. Sure, he does score a lot in transition and off of loose balls underneath, but for a wing to be this efficient is kind of crazy.

Warren is putting the team on his back right now and seems on a mission to take them to the tournament. If he can continue to shoulder the load and his teammates can step up like they did against BC, State actually has a shot.

Dominance on the boards
You think TJ wanted this game? The guy didn’t just drop in a career high 42 points, he also tied a career high with 13 boards. His game has been taken to the next level and all I can say is that I hope you are enjoying the show, because you may not see something like this again in your lifetime as a Wolfpack fan.

The Pack’s ability to control the boards was vital in this win. They collected 10 more than BC and limited their second chance points. Down the stretch this was key as Hanlan tried to match Warren point for point. The difference was that when Hanlan did miss, State came down with it. When Warren missed, State was physical on the O. boards, grabbing 14 of them.

Desmond Lee on the comeback
Lee seemingly hit a wall sometime around midseason. The guy who we though was going to be State’s second  leading scorer went invisible down the stretch and had a lot of people wondering if he was out of gas, hurt or was being bothered by something off the court. Turns out that Lee had just lost his confidence. A guy that was a very good shooter in the JUCO ranks, suddenly couldn’t buy a bucket.

That has been changing recently as Lee has started to emerge again as a scorer for State. While he couldn’t get it going against Pitt, he did have a breakout against Miami where he dropped 10 points and hit three 3s. Couple that with his strong outing (11 pts) against BC and Lee might be coming back around at the right time.

Point guard play at it’s peak
Speaking of broken slumps, it looks like the Wolfpack point guards are finally clicking on all cylinders. Lewis has found his stroke (6 for his last 10 from 3pt range) and Barber is learning how to protect the ball and run a basketball team.

Tyler is still Gott’s starter, but Barber is earning minutes back and that is great news for NC State. Lewis finished with 8 points, 5 assists and only 1 turnover in 24 minutes. Barber only played 16 minutes, but had 6 points, 3 assists and zero turnovers.In fact, over the past 4 games Barber has been magnificent. He’s totaled 11 assists, turned the ball over only 2 times, scored 23pts and shot 64% from the field.

Both guys are playing at their peak right now and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Give it up for Gottfried
You’ve got to give it to Gottfried. This team was picked to finish 10th and they finished 7th. This team was supposed to be an afterthought and they’re starting to make waves. It might be too little, too late, but this team doesn’t think so and that can be credited directly to their coach. He has them believing and he has them gelling at the perfect time.

Watch this team. Everyone is falling into their place. They are playing within themselves and they are excelling in their roles. Turner is taking smart shots, Lewis and Barber are managing games. Washington has become a threat from the short corner, Freeman and Anya are patrolling the middle and not trying to do too much offensively. Vandy has become a defensive presence and a quality passer on the offensive end. And Warren, well, he’s become the best scorer NC State fans have ever seen. This is how runs are made and how special things come together. There is still a lot of work to be done, but right now Gottfried’s stock  is way up in my book.

 

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NC State Basketball

NC State Men’s Basketball is Tied for the 20th Most NCAAT Wins Since 2020

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According to College Basketball Report, NC State’s Men’s Basketball team is tied for the 20th most NCAA Tournament wins since 2020.

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Yes, I’m fully aware that all 4 of those wins took place in this years NCAA Tournament, but I don’t care. STATS ARE STATS!

ACC Teams with the Most NCAAT Wins Since 2020

1. Duke – 8
2. UNC – 7
2. Miami – 7
4. NC State – 4
5. Clemson – 3

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NC State Basketball

NC State’s Men’s Basketball Team Produced 2 of the MOST Watched Games of 2023-24, College or Pro

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The Basketball season is officially over, collegiately and professionally. Looking back at the data of viewers for Men’s & Women’s Basketball, as well as the NBA, the NC State Men’s Basketball team played in two of the Top-10 most watched games of the 2023-24 basketball season.

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NC State vs. Duke in the Elite 8 was the 2nd most watched basketball game of the year with 15.1 million viewers, trailing only Iowa vs. South Carolina in the Women’s College National Championship game. The Wolfpack’s game vs. the Boilermakers in the Final 4 ranked 9th, with 11.5 million viewers.

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NC State Basketball

DJ Burns talks keys to recent weight loss during Pre-Draft Workout with Pacers

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Pack fans have been wondering how after 2 years in Raleigh, DJ Burns finally figured out how to drop weight, and keep it off. He spoke to reporters during his pre-draft workout with the Pacers.

“Playing at the pace we played today. Doing the work we did today. I probably would have left out with a full body cramp a couple months ago.”

“Keep on improving my pace. Adjusting to the level and speed I’m going to have to play at, at all times.”

“Lots of running. Lots of figuring out which foods I can no longer have, which were almost all of them that I liked. So, just finding new ones that I do like that go along with the plan.”

“This is the third (workout), and I actually travel to Milwaukee tomorrow to workout with the Bucks. And then some more stuff being confirmed that I won’t speak on just yet.”

Burns has worked out for the Lakers, Pacers and Hornets up to this point.

Plus more…

Listen to the full interview above.

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NC State Basketball

DJ Horne reads his new children’s book “Why Not Me? Why Not Us?” to Wake County Students

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DJ Horne was a huge reason NC State overcame the odds to win the ACC Tournament this past season. Now he’s trying to pass on the ‘Why not us!?” psyche to elementary school kids.

Horne was at Jones Dairy Elementary to read his new children’s book “Why not me? Why not us?” to students yesterday.

This is a pretty cool moment for Horne, who attended elementary school in Wake County (Reedy Creek Elementary School). He now gets to go back and tell his story, in hopes of inspiring the next generation.

The book is based loosely on his life growing up, and the adversity he overcame to become a champion.

Pick up the book today at Amazon.

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