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NC State stands 1-4 in ACC play and has struggled mightily on the road. In NC State’s first four ACC games three have been on the road. The Pack has lost at Miami, UNC, and Boston College. This season a lot of teams have struggled in road ACC games. The ACC standings are log jammed with two win and one win teams throughout. NC State just lost to GT at home, pushing them to 1-4.What are some changes the Pack can make to mix things up?

NC State has struggled defensively this year as they have not communicated well or been sound on rotations. Too often they have left guys open because they over pursued in help-side or did not hedge ball screens properly. NC State has also looked disinterested at times on defense as well, yielding easy baskets.

What can NC State do to try and jump start their defense?

One solution could be to employ a man to man full-court press, 40 minutes of hell style. This tactic would force the guards to pick up at 3/4 court and harass their man all the way down the court. While this wouldn’t be any sort of trap or double team, a simple man press has a way of speeding up your opponent and putting them into positions they aren’t comfortable with. It also could create turnovers by making the point guard want to get rid of it prematurely, or having a lapse in concentration as he brings the ball up the floor.

NC State has the depth and athletes to pull off an aggressive defense like this. Dennis Smith, Terry Henderson, Markell Johnson and Torin Dorn have the length to cover lots of space as well as obstruct passing lanes. Malik Abu can pick off passes and stop the ball with his quickness. BeeJay Anya seems to be an ideal player to have as the last line of defense to protect the rim.

Depth is a luxury that the Pack has to implement a full-court attack. They have the athletes and the numbers to make this work. It also would help them get out in transition. It would create more turnovers in the open court which would get the Pack where they are at their best, on the run.

What is another area that can be amended to help NC State out of their losing streak? The Pack beat Virginia Tech by attacking the paint off the dribble as well as being physical on the block. In the games since, they have gone away from attacking the basket. Instead, NC State has settled for long pull-ups that are bad shots not only from a degree of difficulty perspective but also analytically speaking.

Dennis Smith and company need to use their quickness and size to penetrate the paint. Penetration by NC State guards will draw fouls and attention which will yield more space for Abu to dominate. NC State also has guys capable of knocking down threes, although their looks need to come from an inside-out based attack.

The college basketball season is long and creates lots of ups and downs. It can be frustrating for fans, players, and coaches. The Pack can make strides if they change their approach by implementing an aggressive defensive strategy that forces the players to expend energy. Offensively they must turn down 17 footers and play to their strengths. Dennis Smith needs to lead this team and stop the no ball movement shots he has been taking. NC State can turn this thing around, but each player needs to buy in and hold each other accountable.

What are some changes from a strategy standpoint that you would like to see? Offensively? Defensively? Players strengths?

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Jules
Jules
7 years ago

This is a horrible idea. A team that cannot defend in the half court, mostly because of lack of effort, isn’t going to be a team that figures out how to run a press effectively.

Tyler White
Tyler White
7 years ago
Reply to  Jules

Effort is an issue which is why a press could work. Pressing makes a team have effort. Also the turnovers forced by pressing fuels teams. If a team forces a turnover and it results in an easy dunk they are even more intense the next possession. Half court hasn’t worked so why not see if they would give effort in a different look?

Jules
Jules
7 years ago
Reply to  Tyler White

Pressing take a concerted effort by 5 players or else it gives the other team consistently open 3’s and layups. Pressing takes much more effort than a zone or half court man to man. To think a way to improve a teams effort is to give them more work does not make more sense to me.

Jules
Jules
7 years ago
Reply to  Jules

A common theme you hear among players is missing assignments, I just find it hard to believe that this would not be the case in a press and that we would not pay more dearly for these mistakes. I do however believe that in instances like the Pitt game, using a press against a team without great ball handlers in spots is a great idea.

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
7 years ago

Are you kidding? Do you want the other team to shooting 75% from the floor? No one on the team can cover man to man. Teach a good zone and stop the 3’s.

wornoutstatefan
wornoutstatefan
7 years ago

Dribble-drive is going to be the only way this team can be successful. Having TH3 or SWJr run the baseline every time down the floor just isn’t going to work. State has been doing that play for 5 years now and the other ACC teams know how to defend it. There is absolutely no movement on the offensive end, it’s pathetic.

yakima2k
yakima2k
7 years ago

That said, an effective full court press requires 5 athletes. You can’t have one big lug that has trouble getting up and down the court. So if we’re going to do that from time to time, I’d think Abu and Kapita would be the best two bigs to have in the game, along with whichever three guards are freshest.

yakima2k
yakima2k
7 years ago

I’d like to see Coach stretch the perimeter defense a bit, but that means our bigs need to be much more focused and ready to defend the basket and they just aren’t right now. Anya’s the only big playing with any passion right now, and he’s too heavy to be effective more than occassionally. Abu and Yurt have to be more active and play tougher on both ends of the court.

Pack Insider Staff
Admin
7 years ago
Reply to  yakima2k

Yurtseven’s play has been a microcosm of NC State’s problems. He’s soft, hesitant and lacking confidence. He’s only a few games into college career, so you don’t want to dump blame on him, but if State is going to change course, Yurtseven is going to need to start to play with a little more nasty and a lot more confidence.

yakima2k
yakima2k
7 years ago

Agree, but I’d rate Abu the even bigger example. Upper classman, should be wrecking opponents, but instead playing soft and with uncertainty. He should be a 20-10 guy, and instead he’s 12-7 and passes it to the wrong jersey 3 or 4 times a game. Plenty of blame to go around though.

NC State Basketball

Here is the 2024 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament Bracket

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The bracket for the 2024 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament is here. The 10th ranked NC State is the #2 seed in the tournament, and their first game will be on Friday at 5pm on ACC Network.

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The Wolfpack will play the winner of the Duke (7 seed) vs. Georgia Tech (10 seed)/Pitt (15 seed).

NC State defeated Pitt 83-47 on February 11th, and they defeated Georgia Tech 86-85 on February 18th.

The Wolfpack lost to Duke 58-69 on February 25th. NC State entered the game as 1.5-point favorites, but ended up losing in enemy territory.

Georgia Tech defeated Pitt 68-58 on January 7th. Duke defeated both Georgia Tech and Pitt this season, defeating the Yellow Jackets 84-46 on January 14th, and the Panthers on 69-38 on February 1st.

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NC State Basketball

There is Reason to be Frustrated

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If you are an NC State fan, it’s only reasonable that you’re frustrated with the state of the Men’s Basketball program.

Under Kevin Keatts, NC State has gone to the NCAA Tournament twice in 7 seasons. The Wolfpack didn’t win a game in the Big Dance in either of those appearances.

Keatts has led NC State to a 3-5 record in the ACC Tournament, failing to reach the semifinals a single time.

You could make an argument that his first season in Raleigh was his best (I don’t think it was), because the Wolfpack finished 5th in the ACC, which is the highest the team has finished in the conference under his watch.

2017-18 – 5th
2018-19 – 8th
2019-20 – 6th
2020-21 – 9th
2021-22 – 15th
2022-23 – 6th
2023-23 – 9th (currently)

Average finish: 8.3

(For context, in 6 seasons, Mark Gottfried’s average finish was 8.7.)

Over the past 7 seasons, NC State has been ranked in the Top-25 in only 8 polls (2 separate seasons), with the highest being on January 7th, 2019, when the Wolfpack were ranked 15th.

Under Gottfried, NC State was ranked in 13 polls (all one season). With Herb Sendek at the helm, the Wolfpack were ranked in the Top-25 in 5 different seasons, in a total of 35 polls.

Do I think Kevin Keatts is the worst coach at NC State in recent memory? No, that award goes to Sydney Lowe. In all reality, NC State’s record overall and in conference play is nearly identical under Keatts, as it was under Mark Gottfried and Herb Sendek.

(Overall/Conference)
Kevin Keatts – 58.3/48.3
Mark Gottfried – 58.9/45.3
Herb Sendek – 59.1/45.0

What’s the difference between Keatts and the other two?

A couple of observations.

Sendek finished his time at NC State with 5 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, and Gottfried started off his tenure with 4 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. The Wolfpack advanced to the 2nd round 3 times, and the Sweet 16 once under Sendek. Under Gottfried, they advanced to the 2nd round twice.

Sendek led NC State to the ACC Championship game 3 times (in 10 years), and the semifinals 4 times. Gottfried led the Wolfpack to the semifinals on 3 occasions. Heck, Sidney Lowe led NC State to the ACC Championship game once, and the semifinals on another occasion.

Is the NC State Men’s Basketball program worse off under Keatts than it was under the previous coaches? If you simply look at total wins and losses, that’s not necessarily the case, but when you look at the Wolfpack’s production in postseason play, there is no other answer besides ‘yes.’

Every now and then you have to be willing to eat crow. Years ago, I was of the opinion that Herb Sendek needed to go. Do I think that Sendek would have brought NC State back to where it was in the 80’s? I didn’t think it then, and I’m not certain my opinion on that has changed, but the past 20 years has proven to me that the grass isn’t always greener.

Call me nostalgic, but from a historical perspective, I believe NC State fans have right to expect their Men’s Basketball program to be successful…to consistently be ranked in the Top-25…to finish in the top half of the ACC…compete for conference championships…and go to the Big Dance on a regular basis.

There is reason to be frustrated.

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NC State Basketball

Madison Hayes Will Be Returning for Her Final Year of Eligibility in 2024-25

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Last night NC State Guard Madison Hayes was honored on Senior Night, but she also announced that she would be returning in 2024-25 for her final year of eligibility. She was honored alongside Center River Baldwin and Forward Mimi Collins, who are both out of eligibility after this season.

Hayes is in the midst of a breakout season this year, averaging 11.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, which are both career highs. She ranks 3rd on the team in scoring, behind the other two Guards in the starting lineup, Aziaha James and Saniya Rivers, who will also be back in 2024-25. Even though she is a Guard, Hayes leads the Wolfpack in rebounding. Her 44.1% Field Goal Percentage is the best of any of the Wolfpack Guards, and her Three Point Percentage of 41.7% is the best on the squad.

As a Senior in high school, Hayes was named a McDonald’s All-American in 2020, and she earned a spot on the All SEC Freshman team in 2021 as a member of Mississippi St. In 2021-22, she transferred to NC State, and played in 26 games off the bench, but earned a spot in the starting lineup last season.

Big news for the Wolfpack Women’s Basketball program!

 

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NC State Basketball

NC State 64 #9 Duke 79: BOX SCORE

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#9 Duke defeated NC State 79-64 in PNC Arena this evening. With one game remaining for the Wolfpack in the regular season, they are now 17-13 overall, and 9-10 in ACC play. Below is the Box Score.

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