NC State has had a rough season, to say the least. They have lost five in a row looking lost most of the time. The Pack must find a way to get over themselves as they host UNC this Wednesday night. What are the keys to the game for the Wolfpack to atone for their earlier encounter with the Tarheels?
The Pack must be physical with Carolina.
The Tarheels are among the best in the country at rebounding the basketball. They fight hard on both ends of the court to secure rebounds. Their ability to attack the offensive glass helps them secure extra possessions as well as easy baskets. The Wolfpack need a complete team effort to limit Carolina on the glass. That means being physical in boxing out with each player putting a body on their man each time the ball goes up. Malik Abu and Omer Yurtseven will need to make contact with UNC big men by moving them out of the way using their legs instead of their arms. The Pack will need to be tough if they are going to upset Carolina. They cannot back down if they do it will be another lopsided result.
Be the aggressors on offense.
Offensively NC State needs to handle Carolina’s pressure on the perimeter with poise and aggression. Dennis Smith, Terry Henderson, and Maverick Rowan cannot turn their back once they catch the ball. Instead, they need to be strong ripping the ball through and facing the basket so they can be a threat to shoot, dribble, or pass. Joel Berry took Dennis Smith out of the game last time these teams met by forcing him to initiate the offense too far out on the court. Smith needs to be aggressive attacking the paint taking the ball at Berry, not settling for quick jump shots. NC State will need to be patient staying within themselves moving the ball and turning down contested jump shots. In the first meeting, things snowballed for the Pack which led to quick irrational shots that put them further behind, that cannot happen again.
Don’t beat yourself.
NC State cannot give UNC any extra advantages by turning the ball over or not hustling. The first meeting NC State turned the ball over a whopping 26 times (yielding 39 points for UNC) and were out-rebounded 50-36 (22-second chance points). The Wolfpack must use ball fakes and move for one another to help each other when one gets in trouble. The Pack cannot give UNC extra possessions Wednesday if they are going to have any chance of winning. Carolina is too good in transition to be gift wrapped that many turnovers. NC State needs to secure defensive rebounds because UNC is too good at capitalizing on second chances. The Wolfpack will need to be near perfect to knock off UNC on Wednesday night.
Optimism is not a word that has been thrown around in regards to NC State basketball in recent weeks. In the midst of a five-game losing streak, the Pack has a chance to end that streak with a win over UNC. In a season of little triumphs, Wednesday offers an opportunity for NC State to have a bright spot. An opportunity for a fanbase to enjoy a little relief. Can NC State band together and beat their rivals this Wednesday? Game time is at 8 o’clock at the PNC Arena with coverage on The ACC Network.
It’s Not Over Till It’s Over
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!
#6 NC State 70 UNC 80: BOX SCORE (with notes)
#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.
- 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.
#6 NC State Looks to Sweep Rival UNC This Evening
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.
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
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.
The leader of our Pack 🐺🐺
— NC State WBB 🐺🏀 (@PackWomensBball) February 21, 2024
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.