ACC Tournament Semifinals
NC State Wolfpack vs. Duke Blue Devils
3PM | Greensboro, NC | ESPN/ACCN
The last time these two teams met it was a blowout. Duke did whatever they wanted and really just controlled every aspect of that basketball game. They shot over 50%, knocked down 11 3s and got double-digit scoring from Parker (23pts), Hood, Cook, Parker and Sulaimon.
One HUGE key for NC State will be protecting the basketball. They’ve been great as of late, holding their TOs to single digits throughout this tournament. Last time out against the Blue Devils, they turned it over 21 times. That led to multiple run-outs by Duke and tons of transition points. Duke lives off causing turnovers, but this State team is a lot different than they were during that first matchup. All of the sudden Barber is maturing and Lewis is playing stronger. The Wolfpack bigs a lot more physical than they were early in the season…but most of all, this team isn’t scared anymore. This team is hungry and they are looking at Duke like they’re their next meal.
Another key will be to slow down Jabari Parker. You can’t let him get into a rhythm. Sure he’s going to come out and take some forced shots early and try to get into takeover mode and try to prove he should have been the ACC POY, but you can’t allow easy buckets. He has to work for everything. I think State will have a much better matchup this time around as they will be able to put Lennard Freeman on him. Freeman was out last time the teams met and will be much better at staying physical with Parker and keeping him off balance.
Vandenberg might be playing his best basketball at the right time. Duke doesn’t have a quality big man so if Vandy can play like he did against Syracuse he can have a huge impact on this game. He needs to be physical on the boards and confidence on offense against a Duke team that is going to take it right at him.
Reffing needs to be solid. I just pray for an evenly called game.I know the ACC can’t stand the thought of not having a blue team in finals, but if State can keep up this run, they might have to make an exception. You saw the Pitt/Carolina game, right? When Pitt took over that game and UNC was dead in the water, the whistles really picked up. Now you might think I’m exaggerating, but it as actually the 5th most foul calls in ACC Tournament history. I’m not calling conspiracy, but all I’m saying is that the stripes get REAL controlling when one of the big dogs have an off night. Just a heads up….
So does a win get State in?
Yes, but I actually think State has a very real shot to already be in. With FSU losing and Clemson losing last night, State might have played themselves into a tourney berth. Their RPI took a huge jump last night in the win over Syracuse. They also will get a nice boost from Pitt’s win over UNC. Then you take into consideration the fact that they are red hot down the stretch and have the ACC player of the year and you might have yourself a pretty good case for an at-large bid. Heck…Dickie V thinks so….
NCSU with a big big W over Syracuse – NCAA dancing baby – hey Jimmy V jumping with joy in Heaven !
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) March 15, 2014
NC State NET Rankings Report After Syracuse Loss
NC State lost to Syracuse 83-87 last night, and as a result, the Wolfpack fell 5 spots in the NET Rankings to #80. The Orange moved up 6 spots to #84.
NC State is now 9th in the ACC in the NET rankings.
For a refresher on how the NET Rankings are calculated:
Using the quadrant system, which was in its fourth season in 2020-21, the quality of wins and losses will be organized based on game location and the opponent’s NET ranking.
Quadrant 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-353, Neutral 201-353, Away 241-353
The number of Quadrant 1 wins and Quadrant 3/4 losses will be incredibly important when it comes time for NCAA tournament selection and seeding. (NCAA)
Thoughts on NC State’s 83-87 Loss to Syracuse
NC State’s (16-10/8-7) 83-87 loss to Syracuse this evening might have been the nail-in-the-coffin when it comes to the Wolfpack’s NCAA Tournament aspirations. They were barely on the bubble as it was, but this game and the next two games against Boston College and Florida State were “must wins.” On top of that, the Wolfpack probably needed to beat Pitt in the regular season finale, and beat either Duke or UNC.
With this loss, NC State will need a miracle. They will need to win the rest of their regular season games, which concludes with 3 consecutive Quad 1 games.
In regards to this evenings game, it’s hard to beat a team when you allow them to shoot 61.3% in the first half, and allow a guy who averages 11.3 points per game (Chris Bell) to sink 8 of 9 three’s at the halfway mark. Sure, you could make the excuse that they were just hitting everything they threw up, but the defense was lackluster, and they failed to adjust to a player with a hot hand.
What I’m about to say isn’t meant to describe a moral victory for NC State. With that being said, this team didn’t give up, and clawed back from a 15-point halftime deficit (16-point at one point in the 2nd half), to take a 1-point lead with 3:15 left in the game. That was the first time the Wolfpack had led since it was 2-0.
Senior DJ Horne was sensational once again, scoring 25+ points for the 5th straight game, matching what Cat Barber did back in 2015-16. Horne finished with 32 points, hitting 11 of his 20 field goal attempts, and an insane 6 of 8 from three.
Could you argue that Horne was fouled on the last play? I guess, but I wouldn’t have called it.
Three other Wolfpack players scored in double figures: Ben Middlebrooks (12), DJ Burns (12) and Jayden Taylor (10). Honestly, they all shot well. Middlebrooks had a double-double, with 10 rebounds.
Mohamed Diarra was solid with 7 points (3-6) and 8 boards.
Syracuse came back to reality in the second half, and ended up shooting 51% from the field, but the Wolfpack shot 47%. Both teams shot well. In fact, NC State actually scored more points off of turnovers, had more second chance points and had more free throws.
You simply can’t put yourself in a position to dig yourself out of a 16-point deficit. You can’t allow a guy to make 8 of 9 three’s in the opening half, with 6 of them being practically uncontested.
The Wolfpack have lost 3 of the last 4, and all 3 losses have been by 4 points or less. I wouldn’t say the Pack lost any of those three games due to a lack of effort. Rather, I would say it was primarily due to inconsistency, a lack of discipline and poor decisions in timely moments (Jayden Taylor’s TO with 1:13 left with the game tied).
With Wake Forest beating Pitt tonight, a Wolfpack win would have put them in 4th place in the ACC.
A big missed opportunity for the Pack this evening.
NC State 83 Syracuse 87: BOX SCORE
DJ Horne is Looking to Continue His Streak of 20+ Points or More
NC State is trying to stop a 6-game losing streak to Syracuse tonight, but Senior Wolfpack Guard DJ Horne is trying to continue a streak.
Currently, Horne has scored 20+ points in 5 straight games, which is tied with what Terquavion Smith did last year. If Horne scores 20+ points tonight, his 6-game streak will be the longest since 2015-16, when Cat Barber strung together 7 straight games of 20+ points.
Horne also has scored 25+ points in 4 straight games. If he does so again tonight, he will be the first player to do so since Barber did so in 2015-16, when he scored 25+ in 5-straight games.
What Horne has done in his coming home campaign has been nothing short of remarkable. He is shooting 43.4% from three, which ranks 2nd in the ACC. In his last 18 games, Horne is shooting 46.6% from deep. In ACC play, Horne is averaging 19.3 points per game, which ranks 2nd in the conference.
Here’s what Horne’s numbers look like over his 5-game streak of 20+ points: 26.6 points/51.8 FG%/48.8 3PT%.