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NC State started fast, but puttered through final half on their way to a 66-59 loss to Michigan.

It was a tough pill to swallow for Gottfried and company as Michigan was forced to play most of the game without their leader Derrick Walton Jr. who left with a sprained ankle in the first half and still won.

This is a young NC State team, but not a team void of experience.  There were some positives last night, but also some red flags and things that desperately need to be addressed if they want to be in tournament contention by the end of the season. Here are a few areas that NC State came up short against the Wolverines last night.

What’s going on with the bigs?

Abu, Anya and Freeman were being relied on for some major contributions this season, but this group has been largely underwhelming thus far. It’s not all their fault. The Pack is not playing as a cohesive unit. The guards are not feeding the posts enough. Then when they do, the Wolfpack bigs are forcing shots in fear that they won’t get the ball for a few more possessions. This has got to stop. The guards need to trust their bigs. When they get position, feed them the ball. The bigs, however, have to be quick to move the ball when a double comes or if they’re not in great positions to score.

Last night we saw some glimpses of what Beejay Anya could be if he was more aggressive and he was given more touches in the post. His frame, added quickness and length allowed him to get some really easy buckets. He was 4-5 from the field for 9 points (and added 7 boards and 3 blocks) but his free throw shooting was crippling. He was 1-6 from the stripe and has had trouble there his whole career. If he gets the ball in the post and keeps attacking he’ll get his points but may really hurt the Pack if he’s getting to the line and not knocking down the free ones.

Abu has gone missing. At the end of last season we were watching a future NBA star emerge. He was strong on the blocks, always in attack mode, and getting to the line at will. He was playing with tenacity, his emotion sparked runs and his play pushed the Pack into the sweet 16. This year has been puzzling. He has gone back to settling for jump shots, playing less aggressive and without the edge we’ve seen from him in the past. Gottfried says he’s not hurt, but you have to wonder why a kid with this much size and athleticism is shying away from contact and post play. Last night, the guy who many thought could be the centerpiece of the Wolfpack offense played 13 minutes, went 0-6, finished with 2 points and didn’t have a single rebound. This game is on the heels of another 14 minutes, 2 point performance against Winthrop in a game Abu should have absolutely dominated. We will monitor this situation, but we are as surprised as you are by Abu’s play of late.

Shooting (shot selection) Woes Continue

Last night we were made aware of a stat that said only Caleb Martin and Maverick Rowan have hit 3s for NC State this season. When we looked back, it was correct. And it’s not only the 3s that have been a problem for State. Cat Barber is shooting just 36% from the field (last on the team) after hitting nearly 44% last season. He’s also 0-8 from 3 so far. Last year Cat hit 38% of this 3s. 

So if State isn’t shooting well from 3 (31%) and their bigs aren’t getting touches, then how are they attempting to score? The answer is that they are relying on mid range contested jumpers far too often. They are forcing 3 points shots at times, which is hurting their percentage, and they are not getting to the rim with any consistency. At the end of they day they are shooting such a low percentage because they are taking such low percentage shots. That has got to change.

If this team wants to win it needs to play as a unit. They need to move the basketball, run the offense, cut with conviction and attack with authority. This team is playing too soft, too loose and too selfish to be considered dangerous in the ACC. Gottfried may say that this group is just missing their shots (video below), but it’s most certainly a deeper problem than that. It’s fixable for sure, but not just guys missing shots.

Find your Identity and Embrace it

The trend we’ve seen with Gottfried is that his teams get better as the season goes along, and are usually in contention by season’s end. That may be the what we’ll witness as the season unfolds, but if it does, it will be because this team found it’s identity.

This team’s identity won’t be it’s sharp-shooting, or it’s ability to spread the floor and let one person out athlete everyone else. No, if this NC State team wants to be great it’s going to have to start getting serious about it’s defense.

Now, denying the basketball and staying in the passing lanes doesn’t fill up the stat sheet. Boxing out and constantly communicating on help side aren’t exactly the sexiest things one can do on the basketball court, but these are qualities of teams that have an edge about their defense. Teams that take it personal when their man scores on them and are happy to expend most of their energy not trying to get open, but to get stops. These are the qualities of teams with a killer instinct. These are teams that want to win together. They’re not looking at points or rebounds or trying to make a highlight reel play on the break. These qualities are only found in teams that are playing for each other and for a common goal. Right now NC State isn’t close to being this type of team. Aside from a few spurts where Cody Martin has really locked down, and a couple possessions when Cat has decided to harass his man, this team has played passive defensively.

This team doesn’t have a Trevor Lacy. Maverick Rowan hitting more 3s isn’t going to change the game. Caleb Martin knocking down deep 3s isn’t going to make this NC State team a true threat night in and night out. However, buying into defense will. By forgetting about the box scores and the fans and the scouts, and by being obsessed with locking down their opponent, disrupting offensive sets, making it a chore for the PG to get down the court, this team could be a true disrupter in the ACC.

Great defensive teams make it difficult for the initiating pass to be made. They keep a hand in the passing lane. They see man and ball at all times.  They force teams to start their offense from further out by pressuring the ball handler. They never lose focus on the defensive end.  This is the type of teams that offenses are afraid to face. These are the types that get people out of their comfort zone and out of their rhythm. If this Wolfpack team is going to achieve greatness this season, it’s going to have to change is style and focus and start getting down to the dirty business of defense.

 

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wolfpack74
wolfpack74
7 years ago

ThatWiggaJigga Anyone with half a brain knows that this team does not have a chance in hell of going to a post season tournament.  Hype is good for selling season tickets, but I expected State fans to be a little smarter than the ordinary cool aid drinking idiot.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
7 years ago

Wolfpck741 What hole did you crawl out of?  I tell it like it is.  If you can’t take it, bite me.

Wolfpck741
Wolfpck741
7 years ago

Joflo apparently you don’t hear cat speak and you must not have heard ralston and Trevor last year! The most humble and thankful people you’ll probably meet. Stfu

ThatWiggaJigga
ThatWiggaJigga
7 years ago

This article is actually spot on.  The game needs to start from the inside out.  Almost every possession we have there is an open look to the post where we have decent positioning.  This draws help, help creates open men, which mean open shots or defenders having to chase our guards off the 3 point line, which in turn opens lanes to drive, thus creating chaos for the Defense.  If they don’t help on D, you have to rely on your bigs to be able to make something happen 1 on 1.  Worst case, you take a contested shot 3… Read more »

Wolfpck741
Wolfpck741
7 years ago

Hey wolfpck74 go fuck your self

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
7 years ago

This article is a bunch of crap.  No one expected this team to do anything but play.  The bigs can’t score (wishing Kyle was here), and the rest can’t shoot the three.  Good bye NIT.

PackJunky
PackJunky
7 years ago

I thought this team was already supposed to be more focused on defense, according to Gottfried. If defense is what we are going to have to rely on, and Gottfried is our coach, we are in trouble.

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 Basketball

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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NC State Basketball

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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