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#3 Cavs Outlast Wolfpack 61-51

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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.

 

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Wolfer96
Wolfer96
8 years ago

Well it turned out pretty much as I expected. We again got out-physicaled by another team. Cat looks like he needs to add about 30 pounds to his frame. On offense and defense he is getting pushed around by the opposing player. The lack of inside game exposed this team yet again. Anya showed again that he is incapable of passing or scoring from the blocks. While Kyle’s stats looked decent, practically every shot he took was a bad one. Long jumpers, against double teams, etc. He’s just lucky to have made those buckets. If Kyle had been scoring as… Read more »

NC State Basketball

NC State’s Ebe Dowuona Enters Transfer Portal

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NC State Junior F/C Ebe Dowuona has entered the transfer portal, with two years of eligibility remaining.

This year, Ebe played in 30 games, averaging 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 10.9 minutes per game. As a Sophomore, after the injury to Manny Bates in the first game of the season, Dowuona went on to start in 27 of the 31 games he played in, averaging 4.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

I’m not shocked. I don’t blame Dowuona for wanting to find a place where he would get more playing time.

Nonetheless this is a hit to the Wolfpack’s front court. While he didn’t offer much on the offensive end, he continually altered shots on the defensive end.

Ernest Ross will be a Junior next year, and fans will likely get to see Freshman Isaiah Miranda for the first time after redshirting after arriving to Raleigh midseason. Greg Gantt will be a Redshirt Junior next season as well.

Other questions loom for the Wolfpack front court as well. Will DJ Burns and Jack Clark return for their final year of eligibility? Will Dusan Mahorcic be granted a medical waiver for an additional year of eligibility?

Time will tell.

We wish Ebe all the best!

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NC State Ranked in Top-25 in Men’s Basketball Attendance in 2022-23

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When it was all said and done, the NC State fans represented in 2022-23, ranking 20th amongst Division-1 teams in Men’s Basketball attendance. The Wolfpack ranked 4th in the ACC, behind UNC, Syracuse, and Virginia.

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Wolferetti: Feed me my crow. NC State lost to Creighton and I’m here to break it down (and admit I was wrong)

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I was wrong.

I thought this matchup was a good one for NC State. I watched a lot of Creighton this year and to me, they looked like a team that NC State could roll over. Let me explain why.

I knew a few things. I knew Nembhard was a PG that could get a little out of control if sped up. I knew with a little defense and physicality, Sheierman could be made uncomfortable. I knew Kalkbrenner was a good defender but was going to sink on the pick-and-roll to protect the basket.

Joiner’s pull up just wouldn’t fall

I figured that Joiner, the pull-up king would be taking that DJ Burns screen, getting to the middle, and pulling up as Kalkbrenner sank. I figured Smith would exploit this as well. Well, turns out Joiner was off and couldn’t get his pull-up game going and Smith, well yeah Smith did exploit this pretty well.

Burns didn’t look like Burns

The other thing I’d figure would happen is that I thought DJ Burns would really frustrate Kalkbrenner. If you’ve looked at games where Kalkbrenner had to face a really good, physical back-to-the-basket big man, those bigs usually had pretty good games in the scoring column.  I honestly don’t understand what happened to Burns in this one. Sure he got a few stupid early fouls, but before he even picked up a foul he looked out of it. With no double teams coming, Burns is usually calculated, slowly backing you down and hitting you with a flurry of head fakes, pump fakes or spins. If the big doesn’t bite, Burns can fade away, go with a contested hook shot, or pass out.

In this game, Burns looked sped up for some reason. The first time he got the ball he quickly backed in and threw up a hook that rattled out. Not awful, but usually you see him probe a little more. Then the next time he didn’t even look for contact, instead, he threw up a little floater that didn’t fall. While neither were awful shots, both were uncharacteristic of Burns. On top of those things, he looked absolutely gassed within minutes of coming in. My guess is that it was the altitude, but either way, it took a toll on him.

Whatever it was, it had him frustrated and he had two really bad fouls where he just shoved Kalkbrenner (he also had a phantom foul that was ridiculous). That said, it just wasn’t his night and this made NC State a lot more one-dimensional.

Casey Morsell came to play, but this NC State roster just wasn’t built to get a guy like him going, which is a shame. Jarkel Joiner was a huge reason why NC State got to where they got. His scoring ability, his speed and his toughness and leadership skill were huge. But Joiner is a scoring guard, and great basketball teams need POINT guards.

What is a point guard, and why can’t we have one?

A point guard isn’t just a guy who dribbles it down. It’s a guy who understands the games within the games. Guys who dictate pace, call plays (sets) and are essentially coaches on the floor. NC State and Kevin Keatts never had that this season, and while you can get a long way with scoring guards and good big men, you’ll never compete for anything of worth until you prioritize the skill set of a true point guard. I think that has been NC State’s problem for years, and I find it kind of insane that coach after coach falls into this idea of having a scoring guard play as a PG for more offense to get on the court.

This is no shot at Jarkel, either. The guy was one of my favorite players to watch on this team, but it just is what it is. He is a scoring guard who happens to be slotting in at PG. When you see Keatts bring in a guy whose priority is getting his guys open and dictating pace, then you can start to believe that this program may be close to arriving. Until then, sneaking into the tournament and hoping guys get hot hands is as good as it gets.

Look at Kihei Clark (Virginia’s PG). I know it’s not a great time to be talking about Clark, whose errant pass ended up losing the game for Virginia on Thursday, but look at Clark’s build.5’10, 170lbs. Look at his stats. Mid-30s shooting % from 3. Hight 70s from the FT line. The guy is nothing special when it comes to the numbers, but he’s a leader and he distributes the basketball to the right guys at the right time. Tony Bennett has started Clark for 4 years despite the fact that he’s coaching a team that is always in the running to win the ACC and won a national championship less than 5 years ago.  He could replace Clark with an elite, tall, athlete at any moment. But he doesn’t. Why? Because he understands what I’m talking about. It’s a puzzle that coaches need to put together, and one piece of that puzzle is a guy like this.

I was wrong about this game. I thought things would play out differently. They didn’t. I’m not blaming anyone in particular, but the makeup of this team vs. the makeup of teams that play deep into March are different. Maybe this is step one to getting there. We’ll have to see how the roster shapes up next season.

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VIDEO: NC State falls to Creighton 72-63 in first round of NCAA Tournament | Extended Highlights & Box Score

NC State came out flat, DJ Burns looked gassed, and for the most part, the Pack looked shell-shocked vs. Creighton from the opening tip. However, Terquavion Smith is excluded from all of that. He was amazing and in what was likely his final game at NC State, he kept the Pack afloat, dropping 32 points on 12-25 shooting. In the end, it wasn’t enough as their big man, 7’1 Ryan Kalkbrenner went for 31.

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NC State came out flat, DJ Burns looked gassed, and for the most part, the Pack looked shell-shocked vs. Creighton from the opening tip. However, Terquavion Smith is excluded from all of that. He was amazing and in what was likely his final game at NC State, he kept the Pack afloat, dropping 32 points on 12-25 shooting. In the end, it wasn’t enough as their big man, 7’1 Ryan Kalkbrenner went for 31.

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