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Gameday: State’s 3 keys to Beating #2 Duke

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NC State vs Duke
1:30pm | CBS | PNC Arena

Duke is the #2 ranked team in the nation, and while they’re likely going to be going into this ball game with a high sense of confidence, there also is likely a little voice in the back of their heads saying “Watch out! This IS the PNC Arena.”

The reason for this is the fact that Duke has lost 2 of their last 3 road games to NC State and also lost their NCAA tournament game to Mercer in that very same arena. That means the Blue Devils have only won 1 of their past 4 games at the PNC.

“I’m 0-2 there, my sophomore year against N.C. State and last year against Mercer,” said Duke’s Quinn Cook. “I’m not going there thinking, oh Mercer, oh N.C. State, it’s a new team, a new year and hopefully myself and Amile and Rasheed can get our first win in there.”

While NC State certainly will be ready to take on rival Duke, they also will be facing a challenge that they have not yet seen this season – Jahlil Okafor.

That brings us to our 3 keys..

1 | Stop Okafor. The true freshman big is averaging 19pts, 9 boards and nearly 2 blocks per game. He’s unlike anything State has seen thus far. He has great hands, near perfect footwork and has the IQ and anticipation of an upperclassman. State needs to try numerous different looks to make him uncomfortable. Simply playing behind him and doubling down isn’t going to get State the win. Duke has too many shooters and the ability to make plays off the dribble. If State is constantly trying to recover from double teams then they’ll be playing from behind all night.

There is really no good answer for a player like Okafor. He’s 6’11, super skilled and the focal point of Duke’s offense. State needs to constantly give him different looks. Front him some with backside help, double down on him, go zone, try different defenders. None of these are going to stop him, but they could stop him from getting into a good rhythm.

 

2 | Protect the Basketball Duke’s defense has always been a problem for NC State. They push you out and make you run your offense from way beyond the 3 point line. This year State has 2 PGs on the floor for most of the game and has played a bunch of very strong defensive teams as of late. They need to be strong with the ball, come to passes, and not allows Duke’s pressure and physicality to get to them.

Gottfried has had success against Duke in the past because he’s understood how to exploit their lack of size and their constant overplays on the perimeter. He’s allowed his guys to go more 1 on 1 with them, break them down and get easy buckets. This year, while they may be able to exploit the overplays, there is now a beast waiting for them in the paint. How the Pack will handle that, I’m not quite sure.

 

3 | Bigs and Bench State needs more production from their bigs. And no, I don’t mean short baseline jumpers from Kyle Washington. They need to start punishing teams inside, at the rim, and getting to the foul line. Last game, aside from Washington the Pack got next to nothing in the paint. Abu is a guy we’re watching right now and is showing signs of breaking out offensively. The Pack desperately needs him to.

They also need to outlast Duke. Coach K likes to keep his rotation small, but that means that a deep, fresh State bench could take advantage. The Martin twins and Lennard Freeman will be big for State. You will also have either Abu or Anya coming off the bench. Whoever that is will also need to be very ready. Okafor is going to get these guys in foul trouble, so being deep in the paint is going to help big time.

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NC State Basketball

Men’s Basketball: NC State Ranked 55th in First NET Rankings of 2022-23

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The first NET Rankings of the 2022-23 Men’s College Basketball season are out, and NC State is ranked 55th after their first 9 games (7-2).

(NET)

This marks the 5th season in which the NET Rankings have been used to as the NCAA’s primary tool for evaluating teams, especially when it comes to NCAA Tournament selection time.

The NET includes more components than just winning percentage. It takes into account game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency, and the quality of wins and losses.

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. (how many years was isaiah written before jesus)

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NC State to Wear Throwback Jerseys Tomorrow Night in Heritage Game to Honor 1983 Championship Team

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The NC State Men’s Basketball team will wear vintage throwback jerseys tomorrow night when they take on Coppin State in the 2022 Heritage Game, paying homage to the 1983 National Championship team.

I know it’s just my opinion, but I wish they would simply play in these jerseys all year!

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Kevin Keatts Postgame Press Conference After Pitt: BULLETED

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NC State Head Coach Kevin Keatts met with the media in his postgame press conference after the Wolfpack lost their ACC opener to Pitt at home 60-68. You can watch it here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.

  • We didn’t play well or sharp offensively.
    • You can look at the numbers, and I think, at times because the ball wasn’t going in the hole for us, it affected us on the defensive end.
    • It was one of those gritty games where you’ve got to figure out how to win the game, especially when the ball isn’t going in.
    • Terquavion Smith carried us early in the game, but a couple of our guys never really got into a flow, and offensively we struggled.
    • When we struggled, I thought we gave up some easy baskets on the other end.
    • Obviously, today’s kids, when the ball is not going in offensively, sometimes it affects you on the defensive end.
    • It wasn’t our night offensively tonight.
  • When you look at our team, what’s made us special this year is that we’ve been consistent and have 4 guys in double figures, and tonight we didn’t have that.
  • We had some good play from DJ Burns. He came in and did a good job.
  • We’ve gotta get back in the gym and get better. We’ll work on some things.
  • I have to stand up, take accountability, and get us better on the offensive end, and we’ll figure out how to make some shots.
  • Not to take away from Pitt’s defense, I thought we missed shots.
    • Surely, give them credit because they won the game, and I thought it was a slugfest, and they won the game that way, but I just thought we missed a lot of easy shots that we normally would make.
  • I remember looking out there at the game as we played, and some of the shots that he [Joiner] normally would make, even his drives to the rim, he didn’t finish.
  • They [Pitt] did a good job getting back in transition. A lot of Casey’s [Morsell] shots have come with him running the floor and getting out in transition.
    • They stayed at home. When you’re shooting the ball as well as he is, they did a good job of staying at home.
    • The reason we got so many open looks to our post guys as we rolled, was because they stayed with our shooters a lot.
  • No [they didn’t take too many three’s], that’s who we are.
    • For example, I thought Jack Clark got some great looks.
      • None of them looked good as they came off.
    • Certainly, Terquavion was hot early from 3 and made some shots.
    • It was a weird night for us offensively, and we weren’t clicking as much as I’d hoped we would be.
    • Like I said, we’ve got to get back in the gym, and we’ve got to get some shots up.
  • We’ve got no choice. We’ve got to move on.
    • The great thing about this is that, while unfortunately we lost our ACC opener, we’ve got 19 more of them to play.
    • We’ve got to figure out how to get it back on the other end.
    • It doesn’t define us. It was a good game. Give Pitt credit.
    • We’ve just got to go to work and get ready for our next game and then our next one after that.
  • We hope we play better than we have been playing offensively.
    • You feel bad for our guys, because everything had gone well for them offensively this season.
    • We’ve had great numbers against great teams, when you talk about playing against Kansas, Butler, and Dayton, and tonight, for whatever reason, we didn’t shoot the ball well. We have to make each shot.
  • If you look back on all of Jarkel’s shots, he has taken those all year long.
    • He just missed some, and he is normally pretty good with his pull-up.
      • He didn’t make those, and typically, he would make it to the free-throw line, but he didn’t have many opportunities there.
      • He missed his three-point shots.
    • I know him, and many guys will get to the gym later on. It’s not a mandatory thing, but I know those guys, and they will be working on their shot.
  • We’ve got to flush it.
    • We have to figure out what we did offensively and get better defensively.
    • We have to get back to work and get ready for Coppin State.
  • Our home opener [ACC] here, we wanted to win it.
    • It’s an ACC game, and you know how important these are, but at the end of the day, you can’t put your head down.
    • We’ve got a lot more basketball to play. We have had a really great start to our season, and as I have told the guys in the locker room, don’t let one loss define us.
    • We didn’t let the Kansas loss define us. We moved on, and we’ve got to do the same thing with this one.
  • We’re very encouraging.
    • One thing about guys that miss shots that normally make them, they’re not trying to miss, and so we are trying to give them as much confidence as we can.
    • We’re asking them to do other things to affect the game.
    • One thing I told Jack [Clark], because he has been our best rebounder, was ‘go in there and get you an easy basket, or go in there and get you an offensive rebound.’
    • It’s something to get you going. It’s amazing how it works.
      • You get an easy basket, and then get to the free-throw line to make a shot. All of a sudden, you’ve got your shots going on.
    • I’m telling those guys to do a couple of other things to impact the game.

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NC State Basketball

Men’s Basketball: Pitt 68 NC State 60: ACCDN HIGHLIGHT REEL & CONDENSED GAME

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NC State lost their ACC opener to Pitt tonight in PNC Arena 60-68. You can check out the Box Score here. Below are the ACC Digital Network’s Highlight Reel and Condensed Game.

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