A road game against the #3 ranked team in the country and one of the nation’s toughest defensive units didn’t look too good for the Wolfpack coming into Wednesday’s showdown in Charlottesville. The Pack, however, came out and had a pretty decent performance.
Early on NC State was hot. Ralston Turner started 4-4 from beyond the arc while Trevor Lacey and Kyle Washington were hitting as well. State jumped out to an early 8 point lead, but that run was short lived, as the Cavs muscled their way back in and eventually wore out the Wolfpack.
Here are some of our post game thoughts on what happened to the Pack.
Soft in the Middle
State had to work hard for their buckets. Virginia will allow you to shoot semi-contested jumpers all day long, but they’re not going to let you pack it in and beat them in the paint. They also did a great job at stopping penetration, allowing their team defense to stay in tact and make it hard for State to get any true, clean looks.
Kyle Washington did have 13 points but he had to work hard for those. It was either severely contested baby hooks or midrange jumpers .Virginia rarely gave up a layup all night long. But that was really it for State. Anya, Abu and Freeman combined for 0…yes that is ZERO points on the night. That was a combined 34 minutes on the floor and zero points.
To be honest, State fans should be a little disappointed in this group. Especially in Freeman and Anya. Abu only played 4 minutes due to foul trouble, but the other two played regular minutes and were man handled by the Virginia bigs. Anya couldn’t even muster a single rebound in that time.
The takeaway here is that State needs to get some sort of offense going near the basket. I think the guy you look to right now is Abu. He’s the most equipped to step into a scoring role. Washington hasn’t seen a shot he doesn’t like, so that’s never a problem, but for him it’s more of a ‘pick your times’ type of situation. All in all, State has to become more balanced or they’re going to have a tough go of it during ACC play.
Get Clean Looks
If you want to gripe about State’s offense, I think you have the right. Sure they are having games where they put up points, but they are doing it the hard way. Every shot is over the top of somebody or very contested. Very rarely is the Pack getting a wide open look or a clean layup. That is the fault of the offense. ONCE last night, State ran their offense and got a nice little curl and layup by one of the Martins. Other than that it was Washington shooting with sometimes 2 hands in his face, Ralston forcing (and hitting) conetested 3s, and Lacey pulling up and shooting over the top of his defender. This is great that they can hit those shots, but that isn’t the type of basketball that is going to win many games.
State HAS to buy into the offense. They HAVE to start doing the little things that will create them space. They HAVE to start slowing down, understanding spacing and understanding how to read their defenders. If they don’t, to put it harshly, they are doomed.
Cat Not Clicking
Just when we thought he was turning the corner, Cat comes out and plays a game like this. Not that it was all that bad when you look at the stat line or what him play defense, because those things were so-so. I’m talking about him playing point guard. Watching Virginia play was pretty refreshing to be honest with you. They were smart basketball players. They drove to the lane, not simply to score, but to disrupt the defense, draw them in and then kick to the open man. Did you watch how they actually were dumping it into the post in hopes of State bringing the double team. As soon as the 2nd man committed, and the back side man began to rotate, Virginia’s big skip passed to a wide open shooter. Their guards were constantly in the paint or under the basket looking to hit a cutter or kick it out.
This is where Barber needs the most work. Last night he wasn’t doing much of anything. He wasn’t creating, he wasn’t making plays, he wasn’t creating havoc. With his quickness he should be a pest on the court. He should be slippery and crafty, getting into the lane, drawing defenders and kicking it to the open man. That part of his game doesn’t exist yet and without it, State is in trouble.
Not All is Lost
Obviously. But what I’m saying here is that, yeah, we’re being tough on the kids in this piece and yeah, Virginia is the #3 ranked team in the nation, but this stretch that State is facing right now is the toughest I’ve ever seen in the ACC and a losing streak is out of the question if they want to make the tournament this season.
This team is young and they are showing it, but now is not the time to hang their heads and sulk. Now is the time to understand theirs shortcomings and work on minimizing these mental mistakes. Because that’s what a lot of this is. Mental. This team has the talent, they have the scorers, but they’re just playing mindless basketball right now. They need to step back and slow down. They need to buy into Gottfried’s offense and start creating opportunities for themselves.
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.