NC State looks to revenge their first ACC loss as Miami travels to Raleigh this Saturday to face the Wolfpack. Game time is at 3 o’clock with coverage on The ACC Network. What must NC State do to beat the Hurricanes?
The Wolfpack need to build upon their last game offensively.
NC State had a solid game offensively as Dennis Smith posted a triple-double and Maverick Rowan scored a career-high 31 points. The Wolfpack shot 51.5% from the field as well as 43.8% from three. Smith tallied 15 assists masterfully distributing the ball to the open man. Not only did Smith dish the ball out well but he did it under control by registering just two turnovers. Malik Abu played well running the court hard and finding openings underneath.
Miami will look to cut off Smith when he drives the basketball which is why NC State must move off-ball. Dennis will need to be prepared to get rid of the ball quickly instead of dribbling the air out of the basketball. Miami will sell out to stop his penetration meaning that other players will be open to attack the Hurricanes disadvantaged side. The Wolfpack must be active as well as ready to make quick decisions before Miami can recover. Ball movement can go a longs ways to solving Miami’s defense.
Defensively NC State has to take a stand aginst Miami.
A reoccurring theme is NC State’s defensive efforts. The Pack has not been able to get stops this season. Defending the pick and roll has been a thorn in the Pack’s side. Dennis Smith needs to be consistent in his approach to defending the pick and roll by not switching as often( in depth ). Too often teams get mismatches because the Wolfpack switch on pick and rolls leaving a big man on a guard or vice versa. Dennis can minimize this by fighting through screens on defense to stay with his man. Miami will put Newton in pick and rolls as he excels at turning the corner to get to the basket. The Pack must find a way to protect the paint off the pick and roll if they are going to beat Miami.
The Wolfpack must be willing to adjust.
In NC State’s last two games they have allowed a player to get going early. Aginst Louisville Donovan Mitchell scored early and often on his way to 28 points. Syracuse’s John Gillion got comfortable early building his confidence as he tallied 43 points on 13 shots (14-14 FT). Players have to listen to the staff because I know they were preaching to not go under screens after Gillion hit a couple of threes. Miami has players capable of scoring in bunches, NC State must take it upon themselves to stop them before things snowball.
NC State sits at 3-7 in the ACC and 14-9 overall heading into Saturday’s matchup. The Pack have had nice moments this season, but have not been able to put it all together. Results have not matched up to the perceived talent the Wolfpack possesses. Miami offers an opportunity for NC State to execute offensively aginst a tough defensive team that got the better of them earlier in the season. NC State will be tested individually as the Hurricanes have talent throughout their lineup. The question remains can NC State forget the past and gel together to play on both ends of the court? Game time is at 3 o’clock with coverage on The ACC Network.
NC State’s NET Ranking After Defeating Maryland Eastern Shore
NC State defeated Maryland Eastern Shore 93-61 last night, improving to 6-2 on the season. Ironically, they fell one spot in the NET Rankings, from 51st to 52nd.
NC State’s two losses were against #1 BYU (!) and Ole Miss (#89). BYU was a Quad 1 loss, and Ole Miss was a Quad 2 loss.
The Wolfpack currently rank 7th in the ACC.
ACC Teams in NET Rankings
52) NC State
71) Virginia Tech
91) Boston College
105) Wake Forest
107) Florida St.
159) Georgia Tech
212) Notre Dame
For a refresher on how the NET Rankings are calculated:
Using the quadrant system, which was in its fourth season in 2020-21, the quality of wins and losses will be organized based on game location and the opponent’s NET ranking.
Quadrant 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-353, Neutral 201-353, Away 241-353
The number of Quadrant 1 wins and Quadrant 3/4 losses will be incredibly important when it comes time for NCAA tournament selection and seeding. (NCAA)
Kansas Transfer MJ Rice Makes Quite the Impression in his NC State Debut
We’ve seen a lot of new faces on the NC State Men’s Basketball team this season, but one face we haven’t seen yet is Kansas Transfer Guard/Forward M.J. Rice (6’5″/215)…until tonight.
Rice stepped away from the program for personal reasons earlier this Fall, and when he returned, he had a little catching up to do. It wasn’t until today during shoot around that Rice and Keatts both knew that tonight would be his debut.
“He’d been practicing for the last couple of weeks, and you know, I was just trying to figure out when he was ready. He and I, we talked a little bit after shoot around today and I said ‘MJ you ready to go tonight?'” said Kevin Keatts. “and he had this big huge smile on his face. He’s like ‘You sure you ready?’ He’s like ‘Ask me some plays.’ So he and I sit over there on the scores table at the Dale and we went over plays and I was like ‘You know what, you are ready to play.'”
Out of all the transfers Keatts brought in this offseason, Rice might have the highest ceiling. Rice was a 5-Star prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, and ON3 ranked him as the #24 overall prospect nationally. He committed to Kansas, where he played in 23 games for the Jayhawks as a Freshman in 2022, averaging 2.2 points in 7.6 minutes per game. Rice was a huge pickup in the Transfer Portal, ranked as the #2 player in the Portal, with three years of eligibility remaining.
Rice also isn’t new to the area either, playing high school ball at Durham Academy, before heading off to Oak Hill Academy and Prolific Prep.
In a short sample size, Rice gave us a glimpse of what the hype is all about tonight. He scored 11 points in 11 minutes of play, also grabbing 6 boards. Rice was 5-6 from the field, and hit the only three he took. In the most electrifying play of the night, Rice took it coast-to-coast, finishing with a soaring dunk.
“He gives us another dimension. We’ve been playing with six of our new dudes. Now we added the seventh and I’m happy for him. He’s going to help us. He’s going to be really good for us.” said Keatts. “I said this on the radio just now…we’ve got some older guys, but two really good young players in Dennis Parker Jr. and also MJ Rice. It was good for MJ to see the ball going in. I think he played 10 minutes had 11 points. He made a three. He had a big time dunk, so I was excited for him.”
“He gives us the ability to play a little bit more small ball. If we have to, we can play him and Dennis Parker both at the three and four. Really good defender at that position and can rebound the basketball,” said Keatts. “It’s going to take time. I’m trying to figure out how to kind of put him into the rotation, and now we’ve added another really good exciting piece to it, but it was good to have him back out there.”
Welcome to the Pack MJ! We’re glad you’ve arrived!
NC State 93 UMES 61: BOX SCORE
Pack Insider’s Highlight Reel of NC State’s Win Over BC
Ready to watch NC State’s Men’s Basketball team play in the ‘old barn’ tonight against Maryland Eastern-Shore? Well, until 7pm, go ahead and get yourself hype by watching Pack Insider’s Highlight Reel of the Wolfpack’s ACC opening win over BC this past Saturday. Check it out above.