NC State @ Purdue
9pm | ESPNU & WatchESPN
ACC/Big Ten Challenge
NC State’s first road game of the season will also be their first true test. Purdue is 5-1 with quality wins over Missouri and BYU. Their lone loss came against a Kansas State team that been up and down so far this season.
The Wolfpack enter tonight’s game with a perfect 6-0 record, but without a true quality win to show for it. This actually was probably good scheduling on the part of Gottfried, seeing as this NC State team is one of the youngest teams in the nation. A fairly easy early season schedule gives this team a chance to figure out roles, gain chemistry and bolster their confidence. Tonight, however, all of that ends as the Pack will play a Purdue team that is favored at home and provides a very tough matchup for this young team.
Get to know Purdue
The Boilermakers are a big team with two 7 footers who both make it tough for other teams to get anything going in the middle. The better of the two is Isaac Haas who is a freshman averaging 12 points and 5 boards per game.
While their bigs are good, their go-to guy is quickly becoming freshman Vince Edwards who at 6’7 averages 13 points and 7 boards per game. Edwards dropped 25 on BYU last time out and is coming into his own for the Boilermakers. 6’6 guard Kendall Stephens is also a factor. The sophomore was their leading scorer before Edwards had his outbreak. Stephens averages 12 points per game but has been sort of inconsistent thus far with games of 24 and 21, but also games of 6, 9 and 4. They will also need to watch out for junior Rapheal Davis, who put up 22 on Missouri two game back.
This is a balanced team that can beat you from a lot of different places. Their one weakness however, has been their inability to take care of the basketball. They turn the ball over on over 21% of their possessions (averaging 15 TOs per game). That would seem like an area that State could take advantage, but the Pack is one of the worst teams in the nation at creating turnovers. That stat is strange thought, because State’s defense has been solid overall. The reason for this is that the Pack’s interior defense has been great, but their guards have not been able to disrupt enough to turn teams over.
Keys to the Game
State needs to set the tempo in this one. While Gottfried continuously preaches uptempo play, they have been slowed up a ton by opposing teams sitting back in a zone. The Pack will need to push the pace a lot like BYU did against Purdue last time out, however Purdue does have a good 2-3 that they will most certainly use often. State will also need Beejay Anya to stay on the floor. Anya is the one guy that is going to be huge in this game. With Purdue’s size and inside scoring ability, Anya will need to be the enforcer in the paint. Purdue only scores around 20% of their points from beyond the arc, so they’re not going to be bombing away against the Pack.
Another key for State is going to be rebounding. Purdue has size, and they have been a great offensive rebounding team thus far. Anya, Freeman and Washington are going to have to play physical in the paint and keep the Purdue bigs off the glass. (Purdue averages 12 second chance ppt). It will be interesting to see how they Pack fares here. Right now they are 4th in the nation in rebounding.
Lastly, State is going to need to score. The Pack has been up and down when it comes to putting points on the board. This team has loads of weapons but they are still learning to play together and still trying to get comfortable in the offense. Lacey absolutely needs to come out aggressive and force the issue. If he gets hot, Purdue could be in trouble. Turner, Barber and Caleb Martin will also need to provide him a little help in that category if they want to keep up. One problem could be getting good shots. Purdue’s interior defense has been tough to score on, allowing opponents to shoot only 37% from the field. The only team to get above that has been Kansas State who shot 44% (in Purdue’s only loss). Part of their success has been their ability to block shots. The Boilermakers are blocking 7 shots per game.
Players to Watch:
Again, Anya is going to be very important. Keeping him on the floor will be vital. He’s been foul prone when defending bigs who can stretch him out and bring him out of the paint. Luckily Purdue’s bigs aren’t quite as versatile as some he’s faced. They will need his shot blocking ability (he’s 2nd in the nation right now) and his big body to bang in the paint.
The other guy State desperately needs to get going is Lacey. The junior transfer has been their go-to scorer all season and is averaging 17ppg. In their recent close call against Boise State, Lacey only shot the ball 9 times. He did get aggressive and score two big buckets down the stretch but that won’t be enough against the Boilermakers. He will need to be aggressive and hunt his shot all night.
NC State 84 BC 78: BOX SCORE
NC State is a Slight Underdog in ACC Opener vs. Boston College
NC State (4-2) will play their first ACC game of the 2023-24 season tomorrow on the road against Boston College (5-2), and they enter the game as slight underdogs. The Wolfpack are 1.5-point underdogs, and the Total is 150.5.
- NC State is 0-2 Straight Up as underdogs
- BC is 4-1 Straight Up as favorites.
- NC State is 2-4 Against the Spread.
- BC is 4-3 Against the Spread
- The Total has gone Under in 2 games for NC State, Over in 3 and Pushed in 1.
- The Total has gone Under in 3 games for Boston College and Over in 4.
- NC State is 6-4 in their last 10 games against BC Straight Up.
- NC State is 4–6 Against the Spread in their last 10 games against BC.
- The Total has gone Under in 5 games, and Under in the other 5.
#5 NC State 70 Vanderbilt 62: BOX SCORE (with notes)
The 5th ranked NC State Women’s Basketball team improved to 8-0 tonight, defeating Vanderbilt 70-62 in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge.
- Saniya Rivers scored 20+ points for the 2nd time this season, scoring 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting. She also chipped in 8 rebounds and 2 steals.
- River Baldwin posted her first double-double of the season. She scored 12 points and grabbed 10 boards.
- Aziaha James has now scored in double figures in 7 of 8 games, scoring 14 points tonight, shooting 6 of 10 from the field and 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.
- Freshman Zoe Brooks led the Pack in steals (4) and assists (4).
- NC State didn’t shoot well, making only 39% of their shots. Fortunately, they held Vandy to 34.3% shooting.
The Wolfpack will host Illinois State on Sunday at 2pm.
NC State Stat Leaders Heading into the ACC Opener vs Boston College
This Saturday, NC State heads to Boston College for the now-annual early ACC opener. The Pack will face off against the Eagles at 4pm on ACC Network. Here is where the team is statistically after 6 games.
- Casey Morsell leads NC State in scoring with 14.5 ppg.
- The Pack has 4 double-digit scorers this season. Morsell (14.5), Jayden Taylor (13.3), DJ Burns (13) and DJ Horne (11.2)
(Last season State had 4 double-digit scorers as well. Terquavion (17.9), Joiner (17), Burns (12.5) and Morsell (11.8))
- After their top 4 scorers there is a big dip. Parker comes in at 6.8, O’Connell at 6.3, and Middlebrooks at 5.5 ppg.
(Last season Jack Clark was 5th on the team in scoring at 9 points and Mahorcic was at 8.7. However, both guys missed a large chunk of the season.)
- Burns is leading NC State in rebounding this year at 5.3 per game. Diarra is next with 5.3 (but is currently hampered by an ankle injury.)
- O’Connell is leading NC State in assists with 3.3 per game, and Burns is up next with 2.5. PG DJ Horne is only averaging 2.
- LJ Thomas and Mike O’Connell are tied in leading the team at .15 assists per minute.
- Jayden Taylor is leading NC State in 3pt %, shooting an outstanding 45.8%, while Morsell is up next at 34.6%. Horne is close behind at 33%.
(LJ Thomas is shooting 50% from 3, but only has 2 attempts.)
- Burns is leading the bigs, shooting 56.5% from the floor, while Middlebrooks is close behind at 54.2%. Dennis Parker Jr is coming in at 45.2%.
- For the guards, it’s Casey Morsell leading the way at 44.6% from the floor, while O’Connell is next up at 43.4%. Taylor is shooting 42.4%, and DJ Horne is struggling a bit, shooting just 34.8% from the field.
- Jayden Taylor is turning the ball over the most at 1.8 times per game, while Burns is next at 1.7. Morsell is at 1.5 and O’Connell is at 1.2. DJ Horne has been doing a good job of protecting the basketball, turning it over just .3 times per game.