NC State men’s basketball freshman guard Dennis Smith, Jr., was named the ACC Freshman of the Year Sunday as the league announced the 2016-17 season award winners.
Smith was also selected to the All-ACC second team and All-ACC freshman team in voting by the 53-member panel (15 head coaches and 38 selected media).
Smith joins former Pack great Hawkeye Whitney as the only NC State players to be named ACC Freshman of the Year. Whitney shared co-Rookie of the Year honors with Duke’s Mike Gminski in 1977.
After being overwhelmingly chosen as the ACC preseason Freshman of the Year by the league’s media members last October, Smith met expectations by ranking fifth among ACC scorers with 18.5 points per game and leading the league in assists with 6.3 per contests. Smith has also registered 60 steals in 31 games (1.94 per contest), second among ACC players in that category. The Fayetteville, N.C., native became the only player in conference history to register two triple-doubles in the same season and he has scored at least 30 points in an ACC-best four games.
Smith’s scoring average of 18.5 points is the highest for a freshman in NC State history and he needs two more steals to surpass Chris Corchiani for the most steals by a freshman in NC State history. The three-time ACC Freshman of the Week has 196 assists on the year and needs four more to become the second freshman in Pack history to record 200 assists in their freshman season (Corchiani – 235 in 1987-88).
Smith’s inclusion on the All-ACC second team marks the fourth straight season and fifth time in last six seasons NC State has had either a first or second team selection on the All-ACC team. Smith is the first Pack player to make the league’s All-Freshman team since TJ Warren in 2013.
Smith is one of 12 players named to the midseason watch list for the Wayman Tisdale Award (national freshman of the year) and one of 10 players named as a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award (best point guard in the country).
Smith and his teammates are back in action Tuesday in the ACC first round at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. NC State is the 13th-seed in this year’s tournament and will play 12th-seed Clemson at noon with the game being televised on ESPN2 and 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.