NC State is about to embark on an 18 game journey through the ACC. Each game counts as one; however, we all know that some games are worth more than just a notch in the win column. Saturday will mark the opening of ACC play for NC State. What does the ACC schedule bring? It brings the toughest games and demands energy and discipline. There are no so-called easy wins in the ACC. An off night will almost guarantee a loss, but the beauty of the Atlantic Coast Conference is each night is an opportunity. The ACC is the best conference in America and the best place to prepare for the NCAA Tournament.
On December 29th, 10 ACC teams are ranked in the top 50 in RPI. The RPI is used to measure a team’s strength of schedule and their wins and losses. NC State currently sports an RPI of 38 and will face the other nine ACC teams inside the top 50. Thus far NC State has not faced the type of competition they are about to experience; however, they have improved. Mark Gottfried has lots of talent and depth that will allow them to compete in each game.
Dennis Smith Jr is as talented as they come and should find an extra gear as the competition increases. In addition to Smith, NC State has talented players on the perimeter who compliment Smith’s skill set. Torin Dorn has been rock solid doing all of the little things necessary to win games. Dorn’s efficiency from the field and willingness to rebound has helped NC State. Terry Henderson is thriving at guarding opposing teams best wing player, and knocking down shots. Henderson is averaging 16.4 PPG while shooting 47% from the field.
Mark Gottfried also has a full compliment of post players that offer diverse skill sets. Malik Abu is rounding into form by attacking the rim and not settling for jump shots. Abu is being physical and using his natural abilities to gobble up rebounds. In addition to Abu, NC State has prized freshman Omer Yurtseven at its’ disposal. Omer has the skill set, basketball IQ, and size that coaches dream about in a center. Beejay Anya and Ted Kapita have also been vital to NC State’s success giving the Pack toughness and more bodies to rotate in and out.
Maverick Rowan’s role from last season makes him an important piece off the bench. With Rowan anchoring the second unit and providing versatility NC State will be able to keep players fresh. Markell Johnson gives NC State a serviceable backup point guard who can run the team and pressure opposing teams on defense. The play of the bench for the Wolfpack will be critical to their success.
NC State has potential and positive attributes that make them a dangerous team in the ACC. Their depth and overall unselfish play make this a fun team to watch, but their youth will rear its ugly head in spurts. If the Pack can stay together trusting the process they should finish in the top half of the ACC or better.
What do you see in store for this team in ACC play? Will they find success? Will they be able to challenge Duke, UNC, Louisville,Notre Dame, and FSU? It all starts this Saturday as State plays Miami.
NC State 72 Georgia Tech 64: ACCDN Highlight Reel & Condensed Game
NC State 72 Georgia Tech 64: BY THE NUMBERS
Survive and Advance. Some days it’s just like that.
NC State found a way to win at home over Georgia Tech 72-64 with Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner combining for a whopping 10 points, shooting 3-17. They each had 5 points, and entered the game ranked 1st (Smith) and 5th (Joiner) in the ACC in scoring.
How did the Wolfpack find a way to victory?
Burns. Ross. Morsell.
DJ Burns carried the team on his back, scoring 24 points (11-21 FG) and grabbing 8 boards. Ernest Ross reminded us once again what he’s capable of, coming off the bench to score 16 points, shooting 4 of 8 from the field. Most importantly, Ross was a perfect 7 for 7 from the free throw line. He also had 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.
The shots might not have been falling for Smith and Joiner, but don’t forget about Casey Morsell. He scored 17 points, making 6 of his 9 field goal attempts, and 4 of 7 from beyond the arch. He also had 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
Smith’s shot might have been off, but his passing game wasn’t. His 10 assists were a new career high, toppling his former best of 7 against Miami back in December.
Once again, NC State managed to find a way to win a game in which the other team shot better (44.1/41.9) than them. Heck, the Yellow Jackets out rebounded them (37-36).
How you ask?
Well, NC State forced Georgia Tech to commit 17 turnovers, scoring 11 points off of them (Georgia Tech had 5 points off of turnovers). Also, the Wolfpack had more offensive rebounds than the Yellow Jackets (12-10), scoring 11 second chance points (The Yellow Jackets had 7 second chance points).
Georgia Tech entered today’s game having won 4 straight against NC State in PNC Arena, and the Wolfpack found a way to snap that streak.
A 14-3 run by NC State in the final 4 minutes was enough for the Pack to seal the deal.
NC State will have a chance to pick up a Quad 1 win over UVA on the road on Tuesday night at 9pm.
NC State 72 Georgia Tech 64: BOX SCORE
NC State’s Men’s Basketball team improved to 19-5 and 9-4 in ACC play today, defeating Georgia Tech 72-64 in PNC Arena.
Where Does NC State Rank in Team Stats in the ACC Before Georgia Tech?
Before NC State and Georgia Tech tipoff at 1pm, here’s a look at where the Wolfpack ranks in the ACC in team stats.
The Wolfpack lead the ACC in points per game, and rank 7th in points given up per game. As a result, NC State’s scoring margin is 10.13, which ranks 2nd in the conference.
The Wolfpack scores a lot, but it isn’t because they are one of the best shooting teams in the ACC, ranking 11th in Free Throw Percentage, 8th in Field Goal Percentage, and 8th in Three Point Percentage.
The reason that NC State leads the ACC in scoring is because of the way they attack the offensive glass, and the way they force turnovers. The Wolfpack forced 319 turnovers, which leads the ACC, and boast a 4.09 Turnover Margin, which also leads the conference. The Wolfpack also rank 2nd in the ACC in Offensive Rebounds. Not shockingly, they lead the ACC in steals, averaging 8.3.
The Wolfpack rank 9th in Assists, but rank 3rd in Assist/Turnover Ratio. NC State has turned over their opponent better than anyone else, and they also have done a good job taking care of the ball.
NC State ranks 2nd in Blocks and 3rd in Rebounding Margin.