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Sloppy Pack Squeaks By FSU 72-63

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NC State came out firing. They looked like a team that just convincingly beat Duke and then took UNC to the wire. They were hungry on defense, they were knocking down shots on offense. It looked like we were about to witness a pretty bad beat down, but then things got weird.

FSU’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes got hot and knocked down a few contested jumpers, but instead of locking down, refocusing and competing, it was like the Wolfpack just went into coast mode. They stopped running the offense, they started taking poor shots and they stopped playing physical. FSU climbed all the way back from a 19 point deficit to tie the game at 60 late in the second half before Ralston Turner hit a 3 that gave the Pack the lead for good.

Let’s take a look at what happened:

State Needs Barber
Cat was in street clothes due to the death of his younger brother. He had only found out the night before the game, so it makes sense that he probably was not mentally ready to take the floor. But make no mistake, State needs this kid. Barber hasn’t quite been the dominant PG State fans were hoping for (yet), but he’s gotten better as the season has progressed. He’s started to understand his role and that is a role that the Pack has no backups for.

Lacey was given the reigns at PG in this one but as you could see, that’s not where he’s most comfortable. To be honest, I don’t really think Gottfried wants him to get comfortable there. Coach has worked hard to turn Lacey from a pass first makeshift point guard into one of the top scoring shooting guards in the country. With Cat out he struggled to find the balance between scorer and creator. This was apparent when shots stopped falling as the Pack was never really able to get into their offense to get the bigs some easy looks.

Ralston Turner Has Arrived
Turner has always been a good shooter, but this year he’s turned the corner. Turner has become elite. He’s asking for the big shot and knocking it down. He’s hitting 41% of his 3s this season which is about the career number Scott Wood finished at. Turner has become a guy you not only expect to knock down shots but also someone this team counts on and needs to be successful. As teams start to scout him and attempt to take away those looks, he’s moved his range out further, quickened his release and even added a mid range jumper. Ralston Turner has been and will continue to be a huge piece of the puzzle for the Pack.

Against FSU he was as advertised. He can get a bit streaky, but seems to focus in and hit shots when State needs him to. Case in point, FSU has mounted a big comeback and the Pack looked lazy, tired and without answers as the Noles tied it at 60. That’s when Gottfried turned to Turner to end the drought. They found him in the corner and with hands in his face he hit the shot that stopped the bleeding. That 3 gave State the momentum they needed to close this one out.

Where is the Defense?
Washington had 8 and 6, Freeman had 7 and 6, and Anya finished with 7 and 5. The FSU bigs had a total of 17 points (thats all 5 of their bigs combined). State out-rebounded FSU 38-34. The bigs pulled their weight in this one.

Sure Lacey had 17 and Ralston added 15, but the FSU guards went for 20, 11 and 15. They were killing State all night. Now maybe this was all due to the fact that State really didn’t have any depth at the guard position with Barber out. Maybe they were tired and therefore allowing open looks and allowing their men to get into the paint. Maybe that is why then went zone, to conserve energy.

Whatever it was, they need to fix it. Their zone is weak, soft and full of holes and if the FSU guards can expose it, anyone can. Their guards are decent, but Lacey, Turner and Lee needed to do a better job of limiting open looks. This, again, is one of those little things you don’t realize that Cat does. he limits drives and limits open looks that his man gets. Lacey and Turner looked too slow, or too tired to do that in this one.

To their defense, Turner was being asked to guard someone quicker than he usually does (a 2 guard), and so was Lacey (a PG), this seemed to create a lot of mismatches, but State needs to figure that out if they are going to go far this season. They can’t be just one injury away from collapsing.

Martins Maturing
These kids looked great again. They still need that offensive refinement, but overall they are hustling, making plays and defending as good as anyone on this roster. They combined for 15 points and 4 boards while also providing good defense most of the game.

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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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NC State Basketball

NC State’s Men’s Basketball Team Produced 2 of the MOST Watched Games of 2023-24, College or Pro

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The Basketball season is officially over, collegiately and professionally. Looking back at the data of viewers for Men’s & Women’s Basketball, as well as the NBA, the NC State Men’s Basketball team played in two of the Top-10 most watched games of the 2023-24 basketball season.

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NC State vs. Duke in the Elite 8 was the 2nd most watched basketball game of the year with 15.1 million viewers, trailing only Iowa vs. South Carolina in the Women’s College National Championship game. The Wolfpack’s game vs. the Boilermakers in the Final 4 ranked 9th, with 11.5 million viewers.

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NC State Basketball

DJ Burns talks keys to recent weight loss during Pre-Draft Workout with Pacers

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Pack fans have been wondering how after 2 years in Raleigh, DJ Burns finally figured out how to drop weight, and keep it off. He spoke to reporters during his pre-draft workout with the Pacers.

“Playing at the pace we played today. Doing the work we did today. I probably would have left out with a full body cramp a couple months ago.”

“Keep on improving my pace. Adjusting to the level and speed I’m going to have to play at, at all times.”

“Lots of running. Lots of figuring out which foods I can no longer have, which were almost all of them that I liked. So, just finding new ones that I do like that go along with the plan.”

“This is the third (workout), and I actually travel to Milwaukee tomorrow to workout with the Bucks. And then some more stuff being confirmed that I won’t speak on just yet.”

Burns has worked out for the Lakers, Pacers and Hornets up to this point.

Plus more…

Listen to the full interview above.

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NC State Basketball

DJ Horne reads his new children’s book “Why Not Me? Why Not Us?” to Wake County Students

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DJ Horne was a huge reason NC State overcame the odds to win the ACC Tournament this past season. Now he’s trying to pass on the ‘Why not us!?” psyche to elementary school kids.

Horne was at Jones Dairy Elementary to read his new children’s book “Why not me? Why not us?” to students yesterday.

This is a pretty cool moment for Horne, who attended elementary school in Wake County (Reedy Creek Elementary School). He now gets to go back and tell his story, in hopes of inspiring the next generation.

The book is based loosely on his life growing up, and the adversity he overcame to become a champion.

Pick up the book today at Amazon.

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