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Well, well, well. It’s amazing the difference when NC State runs out a team at full strength. For the first time this season they looked dominant. They had a focus and a confidence about them as they went on to waste the Mountaineers 97-64. Let’s take a look at how it all came together.

Confidence built in Smith Jr during OT win carried over
We never like to “we told you so” our readers, but we took a ton of flak for our ‘positive’ write-up after the OT win over Tennessee State. The point of that article was to point out that every season had cornerstone moments. They’re not always big wins, for flashy performances. Sometimes they are gritty, ugly, hard-fought battles that alter perception, expose character, and build confidence. The win over Tenn St changed this team. That was the game it ‘clicked’ for Dennis Smith Jr. It had nothing to do with his stats or how many shots he hit. It had to do with him being in a position with his back against the wall, and an entire fanbase watching closely how he reacted. He answered the call and it was a proving moment for the kid. It was like you could see the switch getting flipped.

Against App State you saw that Dennis Smith Jr. He was physical, he was making plays and he was in full-on attack mode. Smith finished with 22pts, 6 assists, and 3 steals, but those numbers weren’t the story. The story was his style of play, his defense, and his leadership of the offense. This led to the Wolfpack getting easy buckets, and dominating the Mountaineers all night long.

Larger rotation of big time talent was fun to watch
Finally at full strength, it was really fun to see what this team is capable of. Gottfried has so many options. With Rowan and Yurtseven in the fold, you now have 9 guys that can give you legitimate ACC minutes without skipping a beat. All of the sudden there is less a concern over foul trouble and your guys can play full bore without hesitation. You can ask for max effort knowing that you have a fresh guy ready to come off the bench.

Last night eight guys played over 13 minutes. Think about that. When was the last time NC State had a legit 8 man rotation?

This also allowed Gottfried to show a bunch of different looks. He went big with Yurt and Anya or Yurt and Abu, something State really hasn’t been able to do with any significant success. This will help with rebounding and help when team’s have talented size. We already know the Pack can go small with success, as we’ve seen them do that most of the early part of the season.

See the next section as to why going big is suddenly working…

The addition of Yurtseven is game changing
With Omer Yurtseven reinstated by the NCAA, all of the sudden the Wolfpack offense looks better. Why is that? Well, it’s simple. Yurtseven and Smith are a feared duo. With Yurtseven’s shooting ability, teams can no longer double the pick and roll, or sag off in the lane. Yurt his two early jumpers that made App State have to respect him at the foul line and beyond. Add in the fact that Dennis Smith Jr is your primary ball handler and you have a very, very tough decision for defenses to make. Smith had less pressure and more room to drive. The middle was opened up as the opposing bigs had to step high to challenge Yurt. This in itself is going to make everyone on this team a little more dangerous.

Yurtseven finished the game with 12 points and 4 boards. He added 4 fouls and 4 TOs, but overall a very nice debut for the big man who showed a little nerves and a little rust. The takeaways for most will be his shot. He hit hit a long jumper and a 3, which had the crowd going nuts. However, the real exciting things were his footwork and his off the ball defense. Yurtseven understands space and that is super important for a big. He uses his body to creates space on offense, he rolls correctly off of ball screens, sealing his man and leading to the basket. His footwork is quick, crisp and confident and it helps him get good position on the block, and in good position to score when he receives it.

What wasn’t talked much about however, was Yurtseven’s defense. His on the ball defense was ok. He did foul a few times unnecessarily, but that will come with time. The real big takeaway was his off the ball defense. He is fully aware of his surroundings. For example, watch when Yurtseven’s man screens for someone else. Every time that happened, Yurt bumped the guy going off of his man’s screen, to slow momentum and give his man a chance to recover. A very small part of the game, but a part that if not done correctly can end up meaning 6 or 8 points over the course of the game…which is sometimes enough to change the outcome.

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Stay tuned as we’ll have more breakdown from last night’s game throughout the day….

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Wolfer96
Wolfer96
7 years ago

The true test will be Miami.

yakima2k
yakima2k
7 years ago

The lineup with Yurt and Anya with Smith, Henderson and Dorn was my favorite of the night. It’s amazing seeing all these talented guys playing unselfishly, too. They seem to genuinely enjoy playing basketball together and want each other to succeed.

Wolfer96
Wolfer96
7 years ago
Reply to  yakima2k

I’m not sure you’ll see that lineup too much because Anya may not leave enough room for Yurt7 to operate in the paint.

NC State Basketball

It’s Not Over Till It’s Over

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Look…I know the odds of NC State’s Men’s Basketball team going to the NCAA Tournament is next to zero percent.

In fact, according to Bart Torvik, the Wolfpack have a 1.1% chance of making the Dance as an at-large bid.

Don’t accuse me of wearing rose colored glasses, because I’m not. The fact remains, it’s not over until it is over.

What would have to happen for NC State to make the NCAA Tournament?

More than likely, NC State would have to win out the rest of the way, in games against Boston College, @ FSU, @ UNC, Duke and @ Pitt.

Maybe there’s a scenario where the Wolfpack beats BC, FSU, Pitt and beats either Duke or UNC. In order for that to play out, I imagine the Wolfpack would have to make a splash in the ACC Tournament as well.

Or maybe NC State could earn a bid winning 4 of 5 if they all of a sudden put together astronomical offensive and defensive efficiency numbers, which thus far has killed their position in the NET Rankings.

Either way, you would need some legit Cardiac Pack vibes for this team to make the Dance.

Call me unrealistic, but I think NC State should be in the NCAA Tournament every single season. Historically speaking, heading into this season, NC State ranked 27th for the most wins in college basketball history. If I lowered the standard a bit to 75%, accounting for an off year every now and then, the program is still way off the mark.

Read into this what you will, but if the Wolfpack doesn’t go to the Big Dance this year, that means they will have only gone twice in the past 7 years, and in my opinion, that’s unacceptable.

With that being said…GO PACK!

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NC State Basketball

#6 NC State 70 UNC 80: BOX SCORE (with notes)

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#6 NC State was defeated by their rival UNC this evening, falling 70-80 to the Tar Heels. Below is the Box Score with notes underneath.

Notes

  • This game came down to shooting.
    • UNC shot 50.8% from the field and NC State shot 35.2%.
    • The Tar Heels shot an insane 52.4% from three, hitting 11 from beyond the arc.
      • The Wolfpack shot 9 of 27 from deep.
  • Junior Guard Aziaha James led the Pack with 24 points (10-24), and also grabbed 9 rebounds.
  • Senior Forward Mimi Collins had a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
    • The Pack needed to feed Collins. She was 3 of 6 from the field.
  • Junior Guard Saniya Rivers had 13 points (4-13), and knocked down 4 three pointers (3-6).
  • Senior Guard Madison Hayes had 11 points (4-12) and 9 boards.
  • Senior Center River Baldwin struggled, hitting 2 of her 9 shots.
  • The Wolfpack did manage to score 17 second chance points, compared to UNC’s 7.
    • They also made 11 free throws, compared to UNC’s 5.
  • UNC played extremely good defense, but NC State missed an obscene amount of shots around the rim.
  • The Tar Heels looked like the better team tonight, leading for 3/4th of the game.

The Wolfpack will play at Duke on Sunday at 5:30pm on ACC Network.

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NC State Basketball

#6 NC State Looks to Sweep Rival UNC This Evening

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The 6th ranked NC State Women’s Basketball team is looking to sweep their rival UNC this evening at 8pm on ACC Network. Back on February 1st, the Wolfpack beat the Tar Heels 63-59. At the time NC State was ranked 5th, and UNC was ranked 24th.

Since arriving in Raleigh, Wolfpack Head Coach Wes Moore has led NC State to a 13-9 overall record against the Tar Heels, but they are 4-6 in Chapel Hill under his watch.

NC State lost to UNC the last time the game was played in enemy territory, falling 46-57 loss in Carmichael Arena on January 15th of last year. In that contest, the Wolfpack were ranked 11th and the Tar Heels were ranked 22nd.

If NC State wins tonight, it will mark the 4th time that Moore has led the Wolfpack to sweep UNC in the regular season.

Historically, NC State holds a 63-54 advantage in the series against UNC, but they are 20-30 on the road.

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NC State Basketball

NC State’s Wes Moore is 1 of 15 on the Late Season Watchlist for the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award

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NC State Women’s Basketball Head Coach Wes Moore is 1 of 15 on the Naismith Late Season Watchlist for the Coach of the Year Award.

Currently, Moore has led NC State from being unranked in the preseason polls, to #6 currently. The Wolfpack are 23-3, and numerous publications project them to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Moore was a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award in 2020-21 and a Semifinalist in 2015-16.

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