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Pack Heads to the Garden to Take on #22 WVU

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NC State vs. #22 West Virginia
9:30 PM | Madison Square Garden, NYC | ESPN2

In arguable the most historic basketball venue, NC State is getting set to face off against West Virginia tonight at 9:30pm.

The Bob Huggins led Mountaineers are off to a great start. Ranked #22 in the nation, these guys are 9-1 and already have a win over #17 UConn and bring to the table the #1 ranked defense in the nation. Averaging 13.7 steals per game and forcing turnovers on over 30% of their opponents possessions, the Mountaineers will be a tough challenge for the Pack.

The good news is that NC State is coming off of a hard fought win over another very physical, very defensive team in Tennessee. But West Virginia isn’t just a one sided coin. They also have an offense that ranks 28th in the nation in points per game. They do it with the help of All-American PG Juwan Staten. Staten is a 6’1 senior who averages 15 points and 4 assists per game. He does it by creating off the dribble, getting to the rim or knocking down a midrange jumper. He’s only shooting about two 3s per game, so he’s not trying to beat you from beyond the arc. State will have to limit Staten’s penetration if they want a shot in this one.

How West Virginia does it…
WVU isn’t a one man show by any means. They have 3 guys averaging in double figures and two more guys getting more than 7 per game. They are led by Staten, but they also have 6’7 senior Jonathan Holton and 6’9 senior forward Devin Williams. These guys are strong, active and talented. Like any Bob Huggins led team, they are going to be scrappy, in your face and very physical. They like to generate offense off of their turnovers, so protecting the basketball is going to be paramount. They also aren’t going to shoot you out of the gym. Their best options from the perimeter are Staten and Daxter Miles Jr, both of whom are shooting a pedestrian 35% from 3. Stopping the penetration and keeping their bigs from getting too deep should be two areas of emphasis for the Wolfpack defense.

How State can win…
Stopping Staten will be a start. He’s a shoot first PG who is trying hard to become more of a floor general. If State can can keep him from going off, they will have a real shot at winning this game. Defense is going to be huge, but getting going offensively is going to be the bigger task. WVU plays crazy defense. They are in passing lanes, going for steals and playing very physical basketball. The Pack did a great job of handling this kind of defense from Tennessee, but the Mountaineers bring it to the next level. Cat Barber, Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner are going to have to be very strong with the basketball. No weak passes, no letting their guard down, because the minute they do, the Mountaineers will jump all over them.

Huggins group is also a big, strong rebounding group and the Wolfpack bigs are going to need to step up tonight. Anya needs to stay out of foul trouble and Abu, Washington and Freeman are going to have to ready to fight on the glass. Meanwhile, this might be a nice matchup for Abu. He has been coming on strong and this is a game where his motor and physicality can really come in handy.

State is holding opponents to around 36% shooting, which is really good and they have a chance to do that again against the Mountaineers. As a collective group they simply are struggling shooting the basketball. If they aren’t getting to the rim or controlling the offensive glass, they can go through long stretches of sloppy offensive basketball. State needs to make sure this happens tonight by pestering the guards and really not backing down to the physicality of the bigs.

 

Key Players for State….
Cat Barber‘s play is going to be huge. I thought he played the best game of his young career against Tennessee. It wasn’t so much the stat line, although he did have 8 assists and only 1 TO, but he also played smart basketball and made good decisions all night long. Barber only shot the ball 3 times, and all 3 were good shots. This is the type of game we’ll need to see out of him tonight. Sure, there will be times when he needs to score it, but he is starting to understand his strengths and weaknesses and play accordingly. Protecting the ball and getting it to the right people at the right time will go a long way in leaving NYC with a victory tonight.

Trevor Lacey is another guy who obviously will be big for the Pack. State is doing a better job of running their offense and getting good looks, but against WVU it’s going to be tougher. They’re not going to be getting a ton of clean looks like they did against Tennessee last time out. They’re going to have to work for their buckets and when things get out of control (and they will with the frantic pressure of the Mountaineers) it’s going to have to be Lacey isolating and scoring.

Anya/Abu – These guys were a great combo against Tennessee and they’re going to be a big part of whatever happens tonight. West Virginia is going to attack inside and Anya and Abu need to be physical enforcers who both protect the rim and own the glass. If the guards can slow down Staten and the Abu and Anya can match the intensity and physicality of their bigs, State has a great shot at this one.

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NC State Basketball

NC State Men’s Basketball 2024-25 Scholarship Breakdown

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With the announcement of the addition of Forward Ismael Diouf this morning, here’s a look at the Scholarship Breakdown for the Men’s Basketball Team for the 2024-25 season.

Senior (1 Year of Eligibility)

Forward/Center Brandon Huntley-Hatfield
Forward/Center Ben Middlebrooks
Forward/Center Ernest Ross
Forward Guard Dontrez Styles
Guard/Forward Jayden Taylor
Guard Michael O’Connell
Guard Marcus Hill
Guard Breon Pass

Junior (2 Years of Eligibility)

Forward/Center Ismael Diouf
Guard Mike James

Sophomore ( 3 Years of Eligibility)

Guard/Forward Dennis Parker Jr.
Guard/Forward MJ Rice

Freshman (4 Years of Eligibility)

Guard/Forward Paul McNeil Jr.
Guard Trey Parker

 

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NC State Basketball

NC State Commit Ismael Diouf: VIDEO VAULT

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NC State just landed a MASSIVE commitment from Canadian Forward Ismael Diouf (6’9″/215). Here’s a VIDEO VAULT of the new NC State big man.

 

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A post shared by Dylan (@_shotbydylan)

 

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A post shared by Rouge et Or (@rougeetor)

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NC State Basketball

NC State Lands a Commitment from Canadian Forward Ismael Diouf

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NC State’s Men’s Basketball Team has landed a commitment from Canadian Forward Ismael Diouf (6’9″/215).

 

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A post shared by Ismaël Diouf (@ismadiouf11)

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Below is a translation of the post:

2022. The year the Rouge et Or welcomed me to its great team at Laval University. I have deep gratitude to the Rouge et Or organization for supporting and encouraging me over the past two years. Laval will have had a significant influence in my sporting and academic progress.

And ending with a victory at Nationals, those moments were unforgettable. Thanks once again to the fans who have encouraged us all these seasons.

A new project now calls me to North Carolina, where I will continue my studies while wearing the uniform of NC State University.

I would like to thank the team for the rigorous work in each training and each match, I wish you only the best for your next seasons.

Ishmael

Diouf played collegiate ball at Laval in Quebec City.

This past season, Diouf averaged 10.1 points and 6.2 rebounds for Laval, and then went on to average 18.3 points and 11.7 rebounds in the Final 8 Tournament, where the Victors won the National Championship. Diouf earned the MVP title in the Tournament.

According to a source, this recruitment was kept under wraps because several Big Ten schools were getting involved. Wolfpack Assistant Coach Levi Watkins ran point on Diouf’s recruitment.

While NC State is out of scholarships, in the world of NIL, funds are available to make this happen.

Diouf has 2-years of eligibility remaining. He was the #1 Draft Pick this year in CEBL, but didn’t sign with the team, making him eligible to still play college ball.

 

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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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