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NC State vs. #21 UNC: Info, Preview, Keys to the game & How to Watch

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NC State Wolfpack vs North Carolina Tar Heels
Gametime: 2:00 pm
Streaming: ACC Network (Fox 50)
Location: PNC Arena (Raleigh, NC)

Getting reacquainted with the Heels…
The last time we previewed the Tar Heels we focused on Joel Berry and Luke Maye. These are Carolina’s leading scorers at 18 and 17 points per game respectively and again, they deserve the most attention. However, UNC has made some adjustments over the past two weeks and have added a little more dimension to their offense.

Suddenly, Junior guard Kenny Williams has become a scoring threat. He only had 4 points the first time these two teams met in Chapel Hill, but over his past 2 games he’s been forcing the issue a bit more and really finding success. He put up 15 points against Pitt and then dropped 20 two nights ago against Duke. Williams was only 1-9 from long range during Carolina’s 3-game losing streak but has snapped out of that funk, hitting on 9 of his last 17 from deep.

It’s  also important that we note Theo Pinson. What he did against the Pack last time out was insane. His 22 points were a season-high. In fact, in the 3 games since the matchup with the Wolfpack, Pinson has a total of 6 points. So did he just get got, or does NC State have a matchup problem? … Probably a little bit of both, but either way, NC State can not allow Pinson to have anywhere near the game he had last time.

As for Berry and Maye, UNC will look for ways to replicate what Maye was able to do while trying to figure out ways to get Berry going early. Joel Berry was bothered by Markell Johnson’s defense and never could get many clean looks in game 1. Meanwhile, Maye went bonkers for 31 points. State will need to replicate their execution on slowing down Berry while figuring out how to neutralize Maye on the interior.

 

Stats to Watch

  • NC State shooting % – Last time out the Pack shot 44% from the floor and 50% from long range. I don’t think you can rely on another 50% game from long range, but we do think they’ll be able to shoot it at a high clip from the floor vs UNC. Markell Johnson was getting wherever he wanted to on the floor and creating open shots for everyone. If he can replicate that and State can get more low post touches for Yurtseven, then I don’t think another 44%+ night it out of the question.
  • Turnovers– This is one area where the Pack has made their money all season. Last time these teams met, State turned Carolina over 14 times at their place. UNC will definitely try to keep that number down (and they only turned it over 2 times vs Duke), but with this game being at State and with a team void of lightning quick ball handlers, we could see State forcing somewhere in the 14 range once again.
  • Rebounding– Another place that the Pack has excelled, but one where UNC is simply better. Rebounding. The Heels do an amazing job on the glass thanks to a big but quick lineup across the board. Last time out UNC punished the Pack to the tune of 48-34 on the boards. This is where State needs to improve. We told you that we doubt we’ll see the same kind of 3pt performance we saw out of NC State this time (but hey, we could be wrong), so where will they make those points up? It will have to be on the glass. Yurtseven had 13 (a game-high) and he will probably have another good rebounding day, but Dorn’s 4 needs work. Couple that with the fact that his guy, Pinson, led UNC with 13. They have got to block him out if they want to keep the rebounding numbers closer.

Game Narratives

  • Can Keatts go 2-0 vs UNC and Roy Williams in year one? If so, how does that shift the rivalry or the perception of State in the ACC?
  • Can Keatts complete the regular-season Tobacco Road sweep?
  • Will UNC get revenge after losing to NC State at home?
  • How will the players respond to Joel Berry’s quote that NC State is not their rival?
  • Would a win today finally lock NC State into the NCAA Tournament?

 

Keys to the Game
We ran these earlier, but we feel they are worth repeating.

  • Capitalize on the timing. UNC is coming off a very emotional, hard-fought, comeback win over Duke. If you watched that game, you saw how Carolina scrapped and clawed on every possession. These types of games drain you both physically and emotionally. On top of that, UNC has a one-day turnaround to prepare for the Pack. Now, this is a rivalry game (no matter what Joel Berry thinks) so the Heels will show up. The question is, how mentally and physically ready will they be and will they be able to sustain that for 40 minutes, on the road, in front of a sell out NC State crowd that will be loud and aggressive.
  • Keep the chip on your shoulder. Joel Berry said he didn’t consider NC State a rival. Don’t think for one second that isn’t being used as a driving motivator for this game, especially with Keatts. He’s a competitor and he’s not here to barely raise the status-quo. He’s here to blow up the entire power structure. Step one to doing that would be a clean sweep of Tobacco Road in year one. Going 2-0 against Roy would surely put a crack in the big blue narrative.
  • Stop Joel Berry. Markell Johnson did it in game one and he’ll need to do it again. Berry only had 6 points in the first game on 3-12 shooting. He really didn’t push the issue in that game, but he’ll certainly look to get going early in this one.
  • Don’t lose sight of Kenny Williams. Then junior guard did next to nothing against the Pack in game 1 (4 points), but that 3-game losing streak the Heels went on must’ve made Roy issue him a challenge. Over the past two (both wins) Williams has been very aggressive and very effective. He’s gone 13-24 from the field and 9-17 from 3 and totaled 35 points in those game. Beverly will likely get this matchup, but man, he’s been getting killed on the dribble drive lately. Teams are specifically attacking him. Keatts needs to find a way around this. You need him on the floor for offense, but at some point you wonder if he’s going to be forced to play Batts and take the shooting hit.
  • Find the right matchups. This is tough. NC State played great on offense, but it really hid the deficiencies they showed on D vs. UNC. Maybe the Virginia Tech loss will finally prove to them that they need to figure out their defense and do so fast if they want to contend for anything. How will they match up with UNC’s frontcourt is the big question. Pinson abused them with dribble penetration in game one and Luke Maye as out there looking unstoppable That can’t happen this time if State wants to pull this off.
  • Play together. Let Markell lead. UNC couldn’t’ stop Markell Johnson down the stretch. He finished with 20pts and 11 assists. The Heels just don’t have a guard who can stay in front of him. Yurt’s ability to pick and pop makes him that much more dangerous. They need to let him probe and drive on the UNC defense and find open guys. That’s how they beat UNC the first time and that’s how they can do it again. A 7-7 night from Al Freeman would be fine, but if he’s off, State can’t allow him to take him down that 1 on 1 hole he likes to explore for 5 minutes every game.
  • Feed Yurtseven– The Virginia Tech game may have gone differently had they been able to keep Omer on the floor. He’s the key to this team’s balance. He already had a big game against UNC this year (16pts) and Duke’s big just smoked Carolina’s front line last night. Yurt could be in store for a big game if he stays out of foul trouble vs UNC.

 

 

NC State Basketball

Previewing NC State’s Opponent: Maine

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Maine is bad at basketball.

In fact, they are one of the worst teams in college basketball.

KenPom ranks them 335th out of 353 teams.

The Black Bears have started the 2018 season 0-3.

Maine is shooting 36.5% from the field (332nd), 27% from three (310th) and 63.3% from the free throw line (269th).

The Black Bears return 3 starters from last year:

JR Forward Andrew Fleming
SR Forward Ilija Stojiljkovic
JR Guard Isaiah White

White and Fleming are the only players scoring in double digits, averaging 13.3 and 9.7 respectively. Sophomore Vilgot Larsson leads the team in rebounding (6.7).

Richard Barron is the new head coach of the Black Bears. He previously served as the Maine Women’s Basketball Coach. He inherits a program that is 24-100 over the past 4 seasons.

NC State has beat their 1st three opponents by an average of 49 points, and I wouldn’t be shocked in the least if they did so once again against Maine.

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NC State vs. Mercer Tip-off Time Moved Back

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RALEIGH, NC – The NC State men’s basketball game against Mercer on Saturday, Nov. 24 will now tipoff at 5:30 pm.

The game originally scheduled for 2:00 pm was moved to allow fans the opportunity to attend the NC State football game at UNC-Chapel Hill. The football game against the Tar Heels will kickoff at 12:20.

The basketball game will still be shown on ACC Network Extra.

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NC State Women’s Basketball Signs #7 Class in the Nation

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It was a good day for the NC State Women’s Basketball program yesterday. A really good day.

6th-year head coach Wes Moore celebrated four 2019 prospects signing their letter of intent to run with the Pack yesterday.

Currently, ESPN ranks the NC State’s 2019 recruiting class 7th nationally.

5-Star Wing Jakia Brown-Turner (6’0″) is the #17 overall player in the 2019 class according to ESPN. She averaged 19.7 points per game for Bishop McNamara High School (Oxon Hill, Maryland) as a Junior.

Wes Moore: “Jakia is a big-time scoring threat. She can really stroke the three, is explosive, and has the size to take people off the bounce to get to the rim and finish against contact. She is used to winning, both in high school and with Team Takeover during travel ball. She’s someone who we are really excited about from the standpoint of being able to count on her as a consistent scorer. She scores in so many ways. She has good size, good athleticism, and is someone who can really fill up a scoresheet.” (GoPack)

5-Star Forward Jada Boyd (6’2″) is the #32 overall player in the 2019 class according to ESPN. She averaged a gaudy 35.9 points, 13.3 rebounds, 8.5 blocks, and 4.1 steals per game as a junior for Appomattox County High School (Petersberg, Virginia). Boyd was the Virginia Class 1 Player of the Year last season.

Wes Moore: “Jada Boyd is a strong forward who is a relentless rebounder on both ends of the floor. She is strong inside and can also step out and shoot the three. She’s going to create matchup problems for people because of her ability to score inside and out. She brings a toughness and a presence out there and we feel like she will be able to be a double-double type player, much like (former NC State 1,000-point scorer) Chelsea Nelson. Having played a major role for a strong BooWilliams program, she too is used to success.” (GoPack)

3-Star Camille Hobby (6’1″) is the #18 post-player in the 2019 class according to ESPN. She averaged 14.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game as a junior for Nease High School (Jacksonville, Florida).

Wes Moore: “Camille has good strength on the block and plays extremely hard. She can score in a variety of ways, whether it be inside with post moves or from the trail position with a soft touch on the three. She’s someone who works hard on the court, works hard in preparation, and puts in the time that it takes to play at the ACC level. Consequently, she’ll keep getting better.” (GoPack)

3-Star Kendal Moore (5’6″) is the #27 point guard in the 2019 class according to ESPN. She averaged 21.2 points, 6.3 assists, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.6 steals per game as a junior for Northwood Temple Academy (Fayetteville, North Carolina).

Wes Moore: “Kendal has a high motor and is someone who is going to get the ball and push it in transition. She can be a facilitator at the point position, much like a quarterback running the team, but can also put up some points. She takes people off the bounce and either creates her own shot or sets up teammates. She can also knock down the three, and competes on every play. She will lead by example, much as she did with a good Carolina Flames team.” (GoPack)

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NC State’s Opening 3-Game Dominance Breaks ACC Record

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The NC State Men’s Basketball team has started off the season 3-0 It’s not the record that’s most noteworthy, but the way in which they have won.

The Wolfpack have defeated their opponents by an average of 49 points.

Mount Saint Mary’s – 105-55 – 50 points
Maryland Eastern Shore – 95-49 – 46 point
UNC-Asheville – 100-49 – 51 points.

They became the 1st team in ACC history to win their opening 3 games by 46+ points.

This has come as a result of an offensive explosion, and a defensive onslaught.

The last time the Wolfpack scored 90+ points in three consecutive games was back in 1995-96. Also, NC State has held their opponents to 33.3% or lower shooting from the field through three games. The Wolfpack didn’t hold a single opponent to that poor of shooting all last season.

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