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NC State takes on Rider: Keys to the Game

NC State Basketball

NC State takes on Rider: Keys to the Game

NC State will have their final non-conference game on Wednesday as they host Rider. Energy and focus will be front and center coming off the holiday break as State cannot overlook the Broncs before Miami. The game can be watched on ACC Sports Extra at 7 PM. What must NC State do to gain more momentum and close out non-conference play?
NC State must keep the defensive pressure cranked up…
Guards have been much more active pressuring the ball and causing turnovers in the past couple of games. Dennis Smith is averaging 2.7 SPG in his last three games and has been a catalyst for getting everyone else to play better defense. It is their defense that will determine how good of a season they will have and they need to have a clean sheet Wednesday. NC State big men have also benefited from the added pressure on the perimeter. Opposing teams have not been able to catch the ball as deep in the paint. Rider does not stand a chance if State can smother their guard play.
The Wolfpack needs to exploit mismatches as Rider lacks size…
Coach Baggett has four senior starters; however, his forward positions are only 6 feet 7 inches tall. In addition to small big men they also start a freshman guard Stevie Jordan who is only 5 feet 10 inches tall. Dennis Smith, Terry Henderson, and Torin Dorn must recognize who Jordan is guarding and use their size and athletic ability to score over him. Another area where NC State should find success is on the block. Malik Abu, BeeJay Anya, Ted Kapita, and Omer Yurtseven should be able to score over the top of the smaller Broncs as well as draw fouls.  If State takes advantage of these mismatches they will win easily.
Offensively NC State needs to continue getting everyone involved…
Since the arrival of Omer, NC State has recorded their three highest assist outputs of the season. The 25 assists versus Fairfield were the most since 2011. Shooting at a 50% clip from three has helped State rack up the assists as well. Mark Gottfried’s group has done a better job at controlling turnovers also. State has recorded more assists than turnovers in all but two games this season.  Wednesday should also give Rowan the opportunity to find his groove. Rowan should get plenty of clean looks from outside on the break. NC State’s bench has produced by scoring over 29 points in each of the last three games. With Rowan, Yurtseven, Kapita, and Johnson the Pack have options off the bench capable of producing. NC State’s depth will prove to be too much for the Broncs.
NC State has got to be ready to play as Rider will be hungry and desperate to beat an ACC foe. Rider will not stand a chance if State comes out with energy and executes their game plan. What are your thoughts on the final non-conference game?


  1. Wolfer96

    December 29, 2016 at 2:52 am

    19 pts and 16 assists. That’s what’s going to make Dennis a great player. Not scoring 30 ppg. I like it when he takes between 12-15 shots and looks to get his team involved. That’s when he’s at his best. Lots of guys can score points but few guys can get double digit assists.

    • Anthony

      December 29, 2016 at 5:25 am

      sometime we are gonna need him to take over and score 30 tho. that versatility makes him dangerous.

  2. Wolfer96

    December 29, 2016 at 2:49 am

    Was Markell injured? Doesn’t look like he played.

    • mc991

      December 29, 2016 at 3:18 am

      Gottfried said Markell Johnson not playing was his decision, but he expects him to play Saturday. “Sometimes young people need to learn”. Not sure what he did, left for speculation. Grades maybe?

    • Anthony

      December 29, 2016 at 5:21 am

      i all i have is second hand info.. but he needs to stop going to ohio over the break and stay in NC that’s all. Nothing serious but Gott is nipping it in the bud right now. Markell is a good kid he’ll respond well tot his and bounce back.

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