Now that was what the Wolfpack faithful was hoping for! After an opener that left much to be desired, NC State looked a lot more like the team pundits were hyping all preseason as they demolished St Francis 86-61. Let’s take a look at the player by player breakdown…
Dorn finished with 21 points, 7 boards and 3 steals in the win. So far this kid has been the glue guy for this ballclub. When he is on the floor, the Wolfpack offense looks (at times) unstoppable. Dorn’s strength, balance and body control are unmatched and when State needs a bucket, Dorn goes and gets it. Couple that with the fact that he’s making all the hustle plays and moves well without the ball, and you have what looks like a guy that’s going to be a constant contributor and possible team leader. Against St.Francis, Dorn put pressure on the defense all game long. He attacked the rim, he got steals, he finished in traffic and he was the go to guy when State needed a bucket. Add in the fact that he flashed his stroke with a 3 and a long jumper, and you can see why we’re so excited about Dorn this season.
— NC State Men’s Bball (@PackMensBball) November 13, 2016
We have to admit, there was a point when we were told that the team was preparing for a full season without Kapita. While it scared us, it was more about the effect it would have on frontcourt depth. We didn’t know the polish he’d bring on offense. Kapita moves well and finishes strong. He’s physical, he’s huge and he’s got a real motor on him. It’s no wonder Gottfried said that he was one of his top 7 guys during the preseason. Kapita came in and quickly made his presence felt. He scored 17 points and pulled down 8 boards in only 24 minutes of play. Not only is he giving the Wolfpack a scoring threat on the blocks, he’s also giving them a physical presence that they currently don’t have. His footwork, his hands and his body control are all far and away better than many expected. Adding Kapita makes this team that much more well rounded and in our minds, solidifies this team as a true contender, thanks to the added depth and versatility of their roster.
Henderson seems to be the team leader at this point of the season. With more experience than most guys on the floor, Henderson brought another nice across-the-board performance. He can shoot it, he can take his man off the dribble and he can finish. With Henderson and Dorn in the game, NC State has a slew of guys capable of beating you off the dribble. And the best thing about these guys, is that once they get in the lane they are also unselfish and always looking to dump it off for an easy bucket. Henderson finished with 11 points, 5 boards and 3 assists against St. Francis. While he didn’t connect on any of his 3s, he was a disrupter off the bounce and put pressure on the defense every time he forced the issue on the drive.
Dennis Smith Jr.
Slowly but surely Dennis Smith Jr is starting to get accustomed to the college game. You get the feeling that he didn’t expect the level of physicality he’s getting right now, but alreayd in his 2nd game you can tell he’s feeling it out and adjusting. Smith looked more aggressive in this one, and while he got into some foul trouble, he also flashed some promise. He finished with 12 points, 3 boards and 3 assists in 26 minutes, but I still don’t think we’ve seen the real Dennis Smith just yet. I’m guessing he has a huge tournament down in St. Thomas this coming weekend.
Another guy who most thought would be a major scoring threat for the Pack is Abu. Over the first two games however, Abu hasn’t really got into a true rhythm. While he is a junior, I think he’s getting used to playing with his new teammates and adjusting his game a bit to fit with their style of play. Over his first two seasons Abu was getting his points on cleanups around the rim and on one-on-one isolations in the post. This year he’s seemed a bit surprised when guys like Smith, Dorn and Henderson drive and dish off to him. He’s fumbled a few and mishandled a couple, but he’s just getting used to having the ball delivered to him in traffic. Once this all starts to click, Abu is going to a be a major contributor in the post. Coming from an offense that seemed stagnant on most nights, the new group is applying much more pressure off the dribble, and this opening up passing lanes for easy dump offs. Positioning and reading these drives is going to be where Abu finds his payoff. Against St Francis, he was good, dropping 11 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, but like Smith, once he finds a rhythm with these guys, that stat line is going to look mighty pedestrian vs. the type of lines we believe he’ll put up later this season.
Another solid, but not spectacular performance from Johnson. To be honest, that is what this team needs from him. He’s a steady hand, sure with the ball, and more of a distibutor than a scorer. He’s a huge insurance policy for Gottfried, who can feel confident in playing Smith with foul trouble, knowing Johnson is waiting in the wings. Against St. Francis, Johnson made plays that were there, and didn’t really force things that were not. He finished with 6 points and 3 assists with only 1 turnover.
Hicks and Anya
Anya looked a lot more active in this one and it paid off. The big man finished with 7 points, 3 boards and a block. He, like Abu, is still learning how to play with this group of talented guards. There is less back to the baskest isolations and more dump offs in the paint. Anya still needs to work on cating the ball and going straight up with it (just like Abu), as there were times when he caught it, hesitated and then was fouled before he could get it up and in. The good news here is that it seems Anya has worked on his freethrows. He hit 3 of 4, when last year he was a 40% FT shooter.
As for Hicks, he did what was asked of him. He came in to spell Kapita, took up space, played physical and added 4 boards in 24 mintues. He and Anya need to keep doing what they are doing. While Kapita might start eating into their minutes, they will still need to turn to these two when fould trouble arises or when Abu and Kapita need breathers.
NC State’s Men’s Basketball Team is Having One of it’s Best Runs in the ACC Ever
Heading into tonight’s Top-25 matchup between #22 NC State and #8 UVA, the Wolfpack are in the midst of one of their best runs in ACC play since the conference was formed in 1953.
The Wolfpack are 9-4 in the ACC, but they have won 8 of their last 9 conference games.
The last time NC State went on a run like this in ACC Regular Season games was during the 1972-73 and 73-74 seasons, when the Wolfpack went 12-0 in ACC play.
12-0 (1972 & 73-74)
12 of 13 (1958-59)
8 of 9 (2022-23, 1961-61, 1954-55)
7 of 8 (1974-75, 1969-70, 1964-65, 1955-56)
6 of 7 (2005-06, 1979-80, 1960-61, 1957-58)
#22 NC State is a 7.5-Point Underdog at #8 UVA Tonight
#22 NC State is a 7.5-point underdog at #8 Virginia tonight at 9pm, and the Total is sitting at 137.
- NC State is 19-5 Straight Up.
- They are 11-11-2 Against the Spread.
- UVA is 17-4 Straight Up.
- They are 8-12-1 Against the Spread.
- The Total has gone Over in 13 of NC State’s 24 games.
- The Total has gone Over in 12 of UVA’s 22 games
- UVA is 15-2 as the Favorite.
- NC State is 4-4 as the Underdog.
- NC State is 4-1-1 in their last 6 games against UVA Against the Spread.
- The Total has gone Over in 5 of NC State’s last 7 games.
- The Total has gone Over in 4 of UVA’s last 5 games.
- The Total has gone Under in 5 of the last 6 games between these two in Charlottesville.
- NC State has won two in a row, and 3 of the last 4 against UVA.
- Kevin Keatts is 3-4 against UVA. He is 2-2 at UVA.
NC State vs. UVA
NC State is the ONLY Team in the Triangle Ranked for the 1st Time in 40 Years
NC State’s Men’s Basketball team is back in the AP Top 25 for the first time in 4 years, landing at #22 in the Week 14 AP Poll.
NC State is ranked. Duke and UNC are not. Last time that was the case? December 27th, 1982. Over 40 years ago. It’s only the 6th time in 67 years that this has happened.
Wolfpack was 17th that week. UNC was unranked in two polls all year, Dec. 20 and Dec. 27. Duke was not ranked that season (Dawkins, Alarie, Bilis, Henderson were freshmen).
Other *cough* ACC teams on Dec. 27: Virginia (4), Louisville (13), Syracuse (14).
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) February 6, 2023
Before that: The preseason poll in 1973, the final poll in 1970 and Dec. 5, 1955. So this is the sixth time in 67 years.
Happened pretty often between 1952-55. NC State was ranked during the entire 1950-51 season while neither Duke nor UNC was.
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) February 6, 2023
Anyone remember what happened that 1982-83 basketball season?
NC State won the National Championship.
NC State Breaks Into the AP Poll, Landing at #22
NC State is off to it’s best start in almost 2 decades, and they now finally have a number beside their name, landing at #22 in the Week 14 AP Poll.
— NC State Men's Bball (@PackMensBball) February 6, 2023
This is the first time that NC State has been ranked in the AP Poll since January 28th, 2019, when they were ranked 23rd.
ACC Teams in the Week 14 AP Poll
22. NC State