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NC State vs. #20Duke
2pm – PNC Arena – CBS

NC State is coming off their most impressive outing of the season, crushing a ranked Pitt team 78-61. Today they take on their next challenge, a #20 ranked Duke team that has dropped their last 3.

Now, don’t go thinking that this Duke team is going to lay down for NC State. They have had a week off and are starving for a victory. You know that Coach K will have his group ready. On the other hand, this NC State team is starting to gel and starting to trust each other. These factors should make for a very hard fought and intense matchup at the PNC.

Let’s take a look at the advantages NC State will have coming into this game…

Momentum rides with the Pack
State is coming off their biggest win of the season while Duke is looking for their identity after dropping 3 in a row. Look closer, however, and it become a lot deeper than the wins and losses.

State’s last two games have looked much different. They’ve gone with Cody Martin at the 3, giving them a true do-it-all guy who is willing to do the little things. Cody has been good at attacking the lane and not settling for jumpers. He’s also a good passer, and has helped move the ball in what was once a pretty stagnant offense. This has taken some of the pressure off of Barber, who needs to really keep his focus on scoring. The slight change in the lineup has also shifted NC State away from taking unnecessary 3s and allowed them to focus on getting the ball in the paint, which has ignited a surging Malik Abu. Cody Martin has also been vital on defense. In the past two games the Pack has looked much more aggressive and a ton more physical. He was able to shut down Marcus Paige and then did a great job against Pitt as well and it’s bled over to his teammates. Overall, this is a State team is doing the little things that were missing early in the season. They are focusing on fundamentals and it’s really starting to pay off.

For the Blue Devils, they are in a state of flux. They knew coming in that they would be a little thin in the middle, but after losing Amile Jefferson to a foot injury, they have been slow to adapt. They have had trouble finding out who they are. They have Marshall Plumlee in the middle, but aside from him they’ve had to rely on freshman Brandon Ingram. If you remember, Ingram was a Wolfpack recruit who picked Duke late in the process. Ingram is a talented player, but he’s raw and not great when you make him get physical. This has turned Duke into somewhat of a jump shooting team that is taking a lot of 3s. If Jones, Allen and Kennard get hot then they could be dangerous, but if they don’t then Duke struggles.

Physicality and Rebounding favors Wolfpack
This, to us, is going to be a major factor in this game. NC State comes in as the top rebounding team in the ACC with almost 43 boards per game and they out-rebound their opponents by 6 per game. This is a big deal because Duke is getting crushed on the boards lately. Against Syracuse they were murdered on the offensive glass, giving up 26 to the Orange.

Another key is front court depth. State isn’t super deep, but they do have Anya, Abu and Freeman who have been playing at a high level. Duke only has Plumlee as a reliable force in the middle. If State can get him in foul trouble, this game changes dramatically in favor of the Pack.
Interesting Matchups Could Favor NC State
Duke is going to come out with three 6’5 guards in Jones, Kennard and Allen. NC State is likely going to come out with Barber, Rowan and Cody Martin. It will be interesting to see who guards who. Jones is the least dangerous in terms of scoring, while Kennard and Allen are both good shooters who can attack the basket. Allen is more aggressive off the bounce while Kennard will opt to pull up or shoot from 3. Barber would be fine on Jones or Kennard, while Cody Martin will likely guard Allen. Cody give you length and physicality that can match the talented 2 guard pretty well.

The key for NC State’s defense will be their 2 guard spot. We’ll have to see how it plays out, but Rowan obviously is only in there to provide offense. His defense hasn’t been great, especially against guards who push the issue and try to get to the rim. If that ends up happening, you may see a little more Caleb Martin, as he brings a little more on the defensive end.

While those guard spots seem pretty evenly matched, size and athleticism wise, NC State may have a big advantage in paint. With Duke forced to go with Plumlee and Ingram, they will be giving up a lot of size, experience and physicality at the 4. Anya and Plumlee should be a decent matchup. Both are not great on the offensive end and both are mainly there for defense and rebounding. Anya needs to make sure he does not get in foul trouble and force Plumlee to shoot over top of him. If State has to guard Plumlee with Freeman (because of foul trouble then Duke gets the advantage.)

As for the 4 spot…this is where a lot of our focus is going to be. How will this Abu vs. Ingram matchup play out. First and foremost, Abu needs to be smart against Ingram. The freshman can shoot it and likely is not going to want to bang on the blocks with the bigger, stronger Abu. Malik has got to close out under control, and force him into tough long 2s. On offense, however, Abu should be massively aggressive. Ingram is no match for his size and athleticism. If State plays it right you should see him being fed on nearly every possession. K will almost certainly be forced to double this matchup…and how NC State responds to this will dictate the outcome of this game. If Abu can find the open man and exploit these double teams, then they will be able to really bother the Devils. If Duke is smart, they will try to mitigate risk and just go zone.

Cat must come out with killer mentality and laser focus
He’s certainly got a chip on his shoulder after being shut out in the last matchup with Duke, but he needs to be careful. Coach K knows he doesn’t have a single guard that can stay in front of Barber. If he goes man to man, Barber will put up massive numbers. K will likely throw a ton of zone at State, double Barber to get the ball out of his hands, and make the rest of the Pack beat them. Cat needs to understand this and realize how to beat it. He can’t try to do it all himself. He’ll need to trust his guys and let the game come to him. Establishing a dominant inside game will lead to Duke being forced to ease up on Cat. Taking quick shots is going to play into the Blue Devils hands, so you might see a press of some sort that attempts to speed State up. Staying patient and focused is vital. Let Duke show their hand, then adapt. Cat will have a big game if he can be patient and and strategic with his attack

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8 years ago

wormncsu We need bigs that can play, not a bunch of transfers.

8 years ago

Packinsider this season is a lost one at this point but I would like to hear what you think of the team as far as next year. Let’s assume we keep everyone and don’t get any other recruits. We would look at a team of Cat, Smith Jr, Henderson, Rowan, Martin twins, Abu, Anya, Freeman, Kirk, dorn. Do you think these added players will make enough difference to get us back to the top of acc?

NC State Basketball

Jersey Numbers for 2024-25 NC State Men’s Basketball Team Revealed



The NC State Men’s Basketball team revealed the Jersey Numbers for their 2024-25 team yesterday.


Numbers that are Staying the Same

Michael O’Connell – #12

Ben Middlebrooks – #34

Dennis Parker Jr. – #11

KJ Keatts – #13

Jordan Snell – #22

Numbers that have Changed

Jayden Taylor – #1 –> #8

Breon Pass – #10 –> #4

Numbers of New Players

Mike James – #0 (He wore #0 at Louisville last year)

Brandon Huntley-Hatfield – #1 (He wore #5 at Louisville last year)

Paul McNeil – #2 (He wore #2 in High School last year)

Dontrez Styles – #3 (He wore #0 at Georgetown last year)

Trey Parker – #5 (He wore #5 in High School last year)

Marcus Hill – #10 (He wore #0 at Bowling Green last year)

We don’t know what number Ismael Diouf will be wearing at NC State next year yet. 



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NC State Basketball

Kareem Richardson Promoted To Associate Head Coach at NC State



RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State men’s basketball head coach Kevin Keatts announced Wednesday that assistant coach Kareem Richardson has been promoted to associate head coach effective immediately.

“I’m proud to promote Kareem to associate head coach,” Keatts said. “He is a valuable member of my staff and has really enhanced NC State both in his relationship with our players and staff, but also his ability to teach, scout and game plan. He is a well-rounded coach that has an impact on every facet of our program, and I feel fortunate to have him as part of my staff.”

The upcoming 2024-25 season will be Richardson’s third at NC State. The Pack has earned bids to the NCAA Tournament in both seasons Richardson has been on staff, including last season when NC State won the ACC Championship and advanced to the Final Four.

NC State has had three different guards (DJ Horne, Jarkel Joiner and Terquavion Smith) earn All-ACC honors under Richardson’s tutelage.

Richardson was previously head coach at UMKC for 2013-19 and has been an assistant coach at power conference programs such as Louisville, Xavier and Clemson in his 25-year coaching career.

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NC State Basketball

WATCH: Getting to Know NC State’s Dontrez Styles



NC State Men’s Basketball is releasing videos helping fans get to know the new players on the 2024-25 roster.

Below is the video of Georgetown Transfer Forward Dontrez Styles (6’6″/212), with a transcript underneath.

I’m Dontrez Styles, a transfer from Georgetown University. I knew where I wanted to be. At the end of the day, I knew I wanted to come back home and play for a guy like Keatts. That was the main thing for me.

Being back home is amazing. My family can see me play every game now. An hour from Kinston, North Carolina. It’s a small city. I love it. Just growing there. A lot of great guys. A lot of great basketball players. My family is there. It’s my life.

I grew up in the Brandon Ingram era, so I went to every Kinston High School game. Just seeing him play motivated me to get in the gym and keep working. The grind has paid off.

It’s crazy. I would have never imagined this happening. It’s very rare for someone to go to North Carolina and NC State. Me being one of the first guys to do that, I believe it’s different, but I’m enjoying it so far. I can’t wait to get started.

Coach (Levi) Watkins recruited me when he was at Ole Miss. He’s been with me since my Sophomore year, I believe. Just having that relationship with them makes it easier every day.

Just being back, it’s going to be very fun, especially now. The hype is crazy. I can’t wait to be back home and get started, and hopefully win that National Championship.


Styles was the 2nd leading scorer for Georgetown this past season, averaging 12.8 points per game, while grabbing 5.8 boards. He shot 36.8% from three.

Originally, Sytles was a consensus 4-Star prospect in UNC’s 2021 recruiting class. 247Sports ranked him as the #62 overall player nationally, and the #2 player in the state of North Carolina, playing for Kinston High School.

After two seasons with the Tar Heels, Styles entered the Portal, and took an Official Visit to NC State and Georgetown, and ultimately chose the Hoyas.

Styles will be spending his final year of eligibility with NC State.

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NC State Basketball

WATCH: Getting to Know NC State’s Mike James



NC State Men’s Basketball is releasing videos helping fans get to know the new players on the 2024-25 roster.

Below is the video of Louisville Transfer Guard Mike James (6’5″/200), with a transcript underneath.

I last played at the University of Louisville. I spent three years there. Played two. Redshirted my first year because of injury. I enjoyed my time there, but all good things got to come to an end, and I’m here at North Carolina State. 

Entering the Portal is just like going through High School recruitment again. You’re getting your phone blown up every other hour, every single day. You’ve got to get on long phone calls. You’re kind of going through the process again, but this time, you kind of know what you want. You’ve been through College Basketball, so you know what questions to ask, what to expect, and you kind of just get straight to the point. I feel like the process was similar, but different this time. It went a lot quicker, and I knew exactly what I wanted. I want to win at the end of the day. Playing time is earned, and all that stuff. You’ve got to come in here and take care of that. 

Winning is very important, and I haven’t done that so far, but that’s the one thing I want to change about my college career. Seeing y’all go on that run was really appealing to me. 

I like to get to the basket. Draw fouls. Finish at the rim. Knock down shots on the perimeter. Defend 1-4 positions on the other end. 

I want to come in and win. I want to be a leader for our team. I’m an older guy now, so I want to be a leader. I want to come in and win another ACC Championship, and make another NCAA Tournament run. 


This past year, James averaged 12.6 points per game (3rd on the team) and 5 rebounds. He’s extremely physical and aggressive, taking 47% of his field goal attempts at the rim (making 46%). As a result, he draws a lot of fouls, ranking 10th in the ACC in Fouls Drawn, and 4th in Free Throw Rate. James made opponents pay this year when they put him on the line, making 81.8% from the charity stripe, which ranked 15th in the ACC.

James shot the ball better as a Redshirt Freshman, than he did this past season. His Effective Field Goal Percentage in 2022-23 was 55.8%, which ranked 19th in the ACC, and his True Shooting Percentage of 59.6% ranked 14th.

News broke about James entering the Transfer Portal back on March 25th, and NC State was quick to reach out. Kevin Keatts and his staff recruited the former 4-star prospect out of high school heavily, but he ultimately chose the Cardinals.

After redshirting his first year in Louisville due to torn achilles, James has been a starter for the Cardinals the past two years.

He does have the ability to knock down a three, making 34.8% for his career.

James has 2 years of eligibility remaining.

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