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Duke Exposed Pack’s Weaknesses, But Lessons Can Be Learned

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They Had Time to Prepare
Coach K is probably the best coach…maybe ever. He also has one of the most talented teams in the nation which is currently peaking at the right time. The last time these teams met, State faced a Duke team that was still trying to figure out who they were and how to use their pieces. Last night they faced an entirely new team with a ton of new dimensions. Gottfried pretty much had 12 hours to game plan for an entirely new team that is one of the most talented in the nation. Duke on the other hand had 5 days to focus and game plan for this game and it showed.

They Took Away State’s Strengths
Duke came out in a zone, but this was not your usual sagging 2-3. They pushed up on the guard and left a gaping hole in the middle, allowing Lenard Freeman to catch the ball in space. This was smart. Freeman has been a great addition to the starting lineup, but he’s far from being a factor offensively. When he caught the ball in the middle he was forced to make a decision. He had a wide open jumper (not his game), he could drive into the trees and try to either score or distribute (not his game), or he could kick it back out. The problem with this was that Duke never pressed up or never collapsed on Freeman. They left him wide open. They covered the kick outs and invited him to drive into Okafor. Freeman was rendered useless. Gottfried was much too late in realizing this. He needed someone who could catch and create in the middle, but State really doesn’t have that type of player. Last year TJ Warren would have been dominant in that type of space, but this year who do you go to? Caleb Martin could have been a factor there, or even Washington. By the time State tried this, it was too late, and as soon as they did, Duke went back to man. K basically disarmed State’s most dangerous weapons and made them to play outside of their comfort zone.

Too Much Adrenaline, Not Enough IQ
Instead of pulling back and trying to understand what Duke was doing, State just steamrolled full speed ahead, jacking 3s and taking contested shots. They were trying to make something happen but simply kept running head first into a brick wall. By the time they started to get comfortable it was already a 25 point game and Duke wasn’t taking their foot off the gas. This is where they needed Barber and Lacey to step up and not so much in a scoring role, but more in a leadership role. These guys needed to recognize what Duke was doing, adjust, and attack where Duke was allowing them to. Part of this also falls on Gottfried as they’d need the right personnel in there to get this done.

Defense Was Awful
State’s over compensation, slow rotation and no communication made life easy for Duke. The Blue Devils had 4 guys on the floor that could create off the dribble and that killed the Pack. State had Barber and Lacey who were able to stay in front of their men (at times), but after that it was easy blow by’s for K’s crew. They drove the lane, saw the help coming and quickly found the open man. Ralston was getting beat at will, Freeman had no business guarding Winslow and Okafor demands doubles no matter who he plays. This put State at a huge disadvantage and by the time Gott got a smaller, quicker team on the floor it was much too late.

Throw This Game Away?
You heard the announcers saying you just flush this game because there is nothing to learn from it. That, to me, is a huge mistake. Duke laid the blue print for dominating the Pack. Granted, they have the right matchups to be able to do what they did, but teams everywhere should take note. State needs to be able to adjust quicker, have guys ready to slot in at multiple positions when teams go small, and understand what the opposition is trying to do. Now, do I really think Gott and company aren’t going to examine this tape? No. I think they are going to have some long nights looking over this, but I think what they implement in the next week will be the difference between State losing early in the tournament and them making a nice little run. The best teams in the nation have guys that cause matchup nightmares and they expose those matchups. State needs to be real with themselves and understand where they are vulnerable, then make sure they have a plan in place to find a counter attack.

This was a nice dose of reality for the Wolfpack. This team was riding high after their flawless performance against Pitt. They now have to regroup and get ready for the big dance. No hanging heads, no questioning talent, just pure preparation. On Sunday we find out State’s first matchup and both teams will have the same amount of time to game plan. This gives State an advantage as they are not an easy team to figure out. They will likely see more zone than usual in the tournament, so Gottfried and company should be ready. This means maybe you see less Freeman against zones and more Martins. Or maybe you work on Abu’s ability to attack from the high post. Either way, you have to find a way to pick apart zones. Barber should be fine for the tournament (at least that’s what we’ve heard) so State should be at full force come tourney time.

 

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gdtann
gdtann
9 years ago

PackInsider Staff superhl or a Brandon Ingram type guy 😉

gdtann
gdtann
9 years ago

Wolfer96 gdtann There was nothing we could do defensively.  It was either let Okafor beat you or pray Duke misses threes.  Duke wasn’t missing threes so if we doubled he’d just kick it out.  No defense for that, of course it went downhill from that and they lost all defensive discipline.  But we wasn’t stopping them unless they stopped making threes.  Thank God Okafor is one or done.  Next year you can single cover Plumlee and put pressure on their three point shooters.

PackJunky
PackJunky
9 years ago

And I should add, the Martin’s play great D with full intensity every minute of every game. They don’t take plays off, they don’t take halves off, and they don’t take games off…

PackJunky
PackJunky
9 years ago

Gott was totally outclassed last night. No adjustments in the first half. The Martins make our offense go when they are out there bc they can penetrate, pass, see the court, they are aggressive and they have no fear. The rest of em were playing scared. They looked like the pretenders that they are. They don’t play offense, they don’t know how. They dribble around and jack up junk early in the shot clock with a hand in their face. Every time this year that they came up against a tough, physical, defensive team that takes the perimeter away, they… Read more »

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
9 years ago

DanielHargreaves I know I did. They are consistently inconsistent.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
9 years ago

gdtann The way this team was defending it wouldn’t have mattered if Washington played 5 minutes or 40 minutes. Our offense was off but the defense was horrible.

PackInsider Staff
9 years ago

superhl I dont think giving Freeman the green light is a winning strategy. I could be wrong, but his shot leaves a lot to be desired. Washington or Caleb Martin COULD be options, but a TJ Warren type mid-range guy is the key.

gdtann
gdtann
9 years ago

I thought Washington should have been inserted way earlier than he was.  Then you can run the high post offense that Gottfried is known for.  And if they go to man then you adjust and go back to the same game plan as before, bring Freeman back in and let the guards go to work.  Next year I hope Washington can improve whatever the coaches need for him to get more time on the court.  Abu needs to have his jumpshot more refined too next year, which would give us 2 scoring bigs and 2 defensive bigs.  That type of… Read more »

superhl
superhl
9 years ago

Freeman was wide open and I would have given him the go to shoot not drive. He can’t drive on Okafor. Same for Abu. You cannot win again Duke playing outside in. Our big guys need to learn to shoot.

DanielHargreaves
DanielHargreaves
9 years ago

Wolfpack will learn the lesson and win first NCAAT game.

Then, forget everything get blown out in the second NCAAT game. 

Wolfpack fans also learned some lesson.

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 yesterday, and news breaking that MJ Rice and Ernest Ross are no longer with the team 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 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.

Freshman (4 Years of Eligibility)

Guard/Forward Paul McNeil Jr.
Guard Trey Parker

NC State now has 1 scholarship available for the 2024-25 season. 

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NC State Basketball

Ernest Ross is No Longer on NC State’s Roster

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According to a source, Senior Forward Ernest Ross is no longer on NC State’s roster.

On April 17th, Ross entered the Transfer Portal. On May 10th, Ross verbally committed to UTSA. Then on May 15th, Ross announced that he would in fact be returning to NC State for his final year of eligibility.

Ross played in 14 games this past season, averaging 3.4 minutes per contest. After playing in 34 games last season, averaging 11.4 minutes per contest, Ross saw his participation dip to a career low this season, but that didn’t for a second break his infectious personality.

Ross was a consensus 4-star player in NC State’s 2021 recruiting class, with 247Sports ranking him as the #60 overall player nationally. ESPN ranked him as the #5 overall player in the state of Florida.

According to a source, Ross is leaving the program for personal reasons, that are non-basketball related.

Ross has 1 year of eligibility remaining.

 

 

 

 

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NC State Basketball

MJ Rice is No Longer on NC State’s Roster

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According to a source, Sophomore Guard MJ Rice is no longer on NC State’s roster.

Rice transferred to NC State last offseason from Kansas, and only played in 9 games for the Wolfpack this past season, averaging 4.1 points in 8.8 minutes per game.

On January 24th, it NC State announced that Rice would be sitting out the remainder of the season, and that they would be submitting a waiver for the season to count as a Redshirt year.

Prior to the beginning of the  season, Rice stepped away from the program for personal reasons, and missed the first 7 games, before joining the Wolfpack against Maryland Eastern-Shore.

The Kansas transfer played in 23 games for the Jayhawks as a Freshman, averaging 2.2 points in 7.6 minutes per game. ON3 ranked Rice as the #24 overall player nationally in the 2022 recruiting class. They also ranked him as the #2 overall player in the Transfer Portal.

It was always ‘iffy’ whether or not Rice would be on next years roster, but he didn’t enter the Transfer Portal, and remained with the team on their magical run, and even after.

According to a source, Rice is leaving the program for personal reasons, that are non-basketball related.

Rice has 3 years of eligibility remaining.

 

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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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