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NC State came out hot, but couldn’t withstand the constant onslaught of the hot-handed Creighton Bluejays, as they pulled away for a 112-94 win over the Pack.

NC State came into the game without Mav Rowan (concussion), Ted Kapita (visa issue) and Omer Yurtseven (NCAA suspension). These are 3 major contributors for the Wolfpack, and not having them meant they were not only down talent, but down numbers as well.

Couple that with the fact that they were taking on what might be the hottest team in college basketball right now. Coming off a big win over #7 Wisconsin and a blowout of Washington State, Creighton is looking like a team that is going to make some big time noise in March.

With that said, let’s take a deeper look at this one…

Offensively, NC State looked the best they have all season. Terry Henderson came out red-hot, knocking down a trio of 3s and finishing with 7 on the night. His 28 points led the Pack.

Dennis Smith Jr. finally looked like the guy we all expected this season. He was aggressive on offense, finished well, and ran the team from the PG position. He finished with 21.

Overall the NC State offense looked very good for a young team playing against a team as dangerous as Creighton. They were forced to really attack with their guards when Abu got into foul trouble, and the absence of Kapita and Yurtseven meant Hicks and Anya got significant minutes. While both played decent, neither one could give the Pack the offense from the blocks that they needed. However, even without a true post presence in this one, the Wolfpack guards prodded the defense, looking for holes, and attacking when they found them. They were quick to kick it out and on this night, everyone was knocking them down. The Wolfpack shot 50% from beyond the arc, and that is without 3 pt specialist Mav Rowan.

If this is NC State’s best effort at likely their lowest point (personnel wise) then this team is going to win a bunch of games on offense alone. 94 points is going to get you a win on most nights, against most teams. It just so happened that this came against one of the best offensive teams in the country.

Our takeaway was that this team showed a ton of heart. They weren’t going to stop Creighton, so they decided they were going to have to step it up and score with them…and they almost did. This team showed want-to and passion until the final buzzer, and that is something that is going to win this team a bunch of ball games come ACC time.

Effort
I think you have to give it to these kids. They played their hearts out. They played with a short bench, against a team that was as hot as anyone in the country and they matched them blow for blow in the first half. The foul trouble issue really crept up on them and forced Gottfried to play some really strange lineups.

Defensively, I think we all saw a problem. Now, let’s remember a few things. A) NC State was without 2 of their biggest bigs. B) This is a young team who is still learning how to defend. With that said, let’s try to understand what happened for NC State to give up 112 points.

Creighton shot over 60% from the floor. A lot of those points came from open 3s and drives to the basket, but a lot came off of contested shots on well-defended possessions.

Now, as much as people like to blame poor defense on one or two guys, it’s a team effort and it’s only as good as the weakest link in the chain (and that varies possession by possession.) It’s a game of effort and focus that is taxing and stressful, but it’s what wins basketball games.

NC State needs to focus on stopping the drive. They did not do a good job of keeping the guards out of the lane and creating havoc. There was too much reaching from the NC State guards, which led to blow-bys. The bigs were too slow and too soft on the hedge on ball screens, which led to drives, which led to helpside defense, which led to late rotations, which led to easy buckets.

This team has the athletes to be absolutely smothering defensively.They are big, strong, long and quick, and if they can start focusing more on positioning and less on reaching, this could be one of the most dangerous teams in the nation.

 

Overall. This game was a positive for NC State. This showed them that offensively they can compete with anyone in the country. This game should also show them that they have a lot of work to do on defense. Great pressure and perfect rotations may not have even stopped Creighton on this night. They weren’t missing. But few altered shots in the paint, a few more hands in the face on 3s and the game momentum may have fallen a bit different.  However, just remember, it’s still November and this team has only faced their first realcompetitionn…and came out looking pretty darn good.

Up next is St. Joseph’s, today at 6pm on CBSSN.

 

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Wolfer96
Wolfer96
7 years ago

Someone please tell Gott to simplify the offense and just run pick and roll for Dennis. Let him create off the dribble. And stop switching defenses. Just run man to man and get the kids to improve in that defense. We run 3 different defenses out there and aren’t good at any of them. Sometimes it’s just better to keep it simple. Especially when your PGs are freshmen.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
7 years ago

Dennis Smith needs a coach that will reign him in. He still takes too many bad shots and looks indecisive at times. I don’t know why he is playing so timid? On one of the missed layups I thought that he should have dunked the ball as he is fully capable of doing. He could have scored 30 easy against that defense if he attacked the whole game. Should have been to FT line at least 20 times.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
7 years ago

I must have watched a different game than the writer. I saw bad defense and one on one offense. Yes, I am hoping when we get all three bodies back, the team can gel together. Abu needs to make enormous improvement if he thinks he can play at the next level. His play now would not even qualify him for the D league. Where has the defense gone and when is Smith going to play hard for the team?

Anthony
Anthony
7 years ago
Reply to  wolfpack74

You never see anything good, why should now be any different.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
7 years ago
Reply to  Anthony

Well I have to agree with . That defense was horrendous. Abu almost single handedly cost us that game with foolish turnovers. That game was not about us being short-handed or Creighton being so awesome. They were well coached and we were not. The refs were blowing the whistle and we were shooting jumpers instead of attacking the basket.

Anthony
Anthony
7 years ago
Reply to  Wolfer96

That is absolutely not true. He had that game in single digits until fouls made it impossible to guard anything. If we have Kapita Huff doesn’t go for 20. IF the Refs review for a flagrant Huff is rightly ejected for the dirty hit on Markell. To blame it solely on Coaching and bad defense is stupid.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
7 years ago
Reply to  Anthony

So you’re saying the only way we win is to have Kapita available and one of their guys ejected? Did you notice that we shot an incredibly high percentage on 3 point shots in the 1st half? Way above our season averages. I could argue that we shot much better than normal and if we shot closer to what we will the rest of the season it would have been a bigger blowout.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
7 years ago
Reply to  Anthony

I’m a huge fan of Kapita and I would be the 1st one to acknowledge his strengths on the inside but we would have lost that game regardless. Did you not see the offensive plays they were running? Pick and roll to an alley-oop on many occasions. What we should have been doing regardless of Kapita being there or not.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
7 years ago
Reply to  Anthony

Their guys were finishing at the rim we were taking jump shots and not taking it hard to the basket. It’s coaching and effort.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
7 years ago
Reply to  Anthony

One more thing… Creighton broke the Paradise Jam record for most points scored. Is anyone surprised that this happened against a Gottfried coached team? BTW, they didn’t break the record against a lesser team (Wash St.) they did it against the Pack. That should be unacceptable for any of us.

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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