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Nothing to Lose: Wolfpack already defied odds in first season under Keatts

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When Kevin Keatts was hired last March, NC State knew they’d be without Dennis Smith Jr and senior Beejay Anya.

They found out later that Terry Henderson, for some reason, was denied his medical hardship waiver and he too wouldn’t be around. Then Keatts got the news that Maverick Rowan was going to Europe and Ted Kapita was going to try his hand in the draft.

That left Kevin Keatts with Markell Johnson, Torin Dorn, Malik Abu, Omer Yurtseven, Lennard Freeman, Shawn Kirk and Darius Hicks. Let’s put it this way, NC State was losing 62% of their scoring from a team that finished tied with Pitt for 13th in the conference with a 4-12 record. And here’s the kicker; Gottfried’s lone incoming recruit decommitted after his firing.

The cupboard wasn’t completely bare when Kevin Keatts got here, but it sure was sparse. Not only did he barely have enough guys to field a team, but he was also adamant about implementing a new system right away.

That system would rely heavily on defensive pressure and 3 point shooting. The only problem was that his returners had shot a pretty miserable 30% from 3pt range last season and only Torin Dorn and Markell Johnson were known as capable defenders.

Had anyone told you, at that point, that NC State would finish tied for 3rd in the ACC with an 11-7 conference record and 21 wins overall, you’d have literally called them delusional and swore they knew nothing about college basketball.

Thinking back to where we were less than one year ago makes this run by the Wolfpack even that much more amazing. Keatts did go out and add some key pieces in grad-transfers Al Freeman and Sam Hunt. He flipped 2 4-star recruits and got them committed to the Pack at the last minute (Beverly and Batts). Seeing as how late to the game he was in getting involved, it’s incredible the type of talent he was able to add. But still, no one in their right mind believed that was enough to compete in the ACC.

Keatts, however, did believe it.

In one season he transformed the culture around the program. He turned Markell Johnson into the ACC’s best assist man and helped Omer Yurtseven realize his potential as a go-to scorer. He took Dorn from a tweener who struggled to find his role last season, into one of the league’s biggest mismatches, He stuck by his decision to allow Al Freeman to have an always-on green light even when he couldn’t find his confidence and he kept on plugging in Sam Hunt despite his early season shooting woes.

The expectation you have for this team, they weren’t here before Keatts arrived, he created them. He created them with wins over #2 Arizona, #2 Duke, #10 UNC, #18 Clemson, and #25 FSU. This team expects to win and in turn, so now does the fanbase.

But, none of those wins means this team isn’t flawed. The losses to Georgia Tech and Boston College showed that. They are running a system suited for a team that goes ten deep. A system that wants to be able to switch nearly every screen and have multiple guys that can guard multiple positions. A system that relies on speed and athleticism. This team isn’t really a true fit for this system, yet they are succeeding.

You always want more, of course you do, but 11 wins in the ACC, 21 overall, 5 wins over top 25 teams and a near lock for the NCAA Tournament, when you’re honest with yourself, is way more than you were ever expecting. That is not saying that this team should be content. They shouldn’t. They should wear the badge of ‘world-beaters’ from here on out because while the wins have come in bundles, respect has not followed.

The Pack didn’t grace the Top-25 once this season. Not one player from this team made 1st or 2nd team all-ACC and Kevin Keatts didn’t finish in the top two for ACC Coach of the Year. No one believed in them at the beginning, and despite their success, no one wants to believe in them now. But that’s just fine with the Wolfpack because March is where underdogs get their final say.

So as we move into the final days of the season, realize that this team is playing with house money. Most people thought this group would be fighting to stay out of the basement of the ACC. Now they are set to enter the field of 64 with absolutely, positively nothing to lose, and that makes them a very dangerous opponent.

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NC State Club Hockey Team Heading to Nationals Next Week

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The NC State Club Hockey Team (27-0) is heading to the Division II Nationals next week, becoming the ACCHL (Atlantic Coast Collegiate Hockey League) team EVER to do so.

Back on February 19th, the Wolfpack won the ACCHL Championship, defeating St. Joseph’s, Wake Forest and Virginia in the Tournament.

NC State then beat Rider and Liberty in Regionals to advance to Nationals 2 weeks ago.

Next week the Wolfpack will kick off Pool Play (Pool A) on Friday against Massachusetts.

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As a Club Team, they have to raise their own funds, and the estimated costs of going to Nationals is $35k. The Hurricane’s helped raise some funds, and you can also support them at their GoFundMe page.

They are currently only $3,060 shy of their $35k goal.

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NC State’s BRACKETOLOGY Report after UVA

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NC State lost to #2 Virginia yesterday 76-56 in the Quarterfinals of the 2019 ACC Tournament.

Here’s a BRACKETOLOGY report after the loss, and the rest of yesterday’s games.

(Keep in mind these projections don’t take the results of today’s games in consideration).

The Bracket Matrix still has the Wolfpack as a #11 seed.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi still has NC State in a First Four Play-In game as a #11 Seed.

USAToday doesn’t even mention the Pack.

After losing to Virginia, NBCSports moved the Wolfpack from the First Four In, to the First Four Out.

RotoWire still has NC State as one of the First Four In as a #12 Seed.

Stadium has the Wolfpack as one of the First Four In as a #12 Seed.

Bracketville, which has been the 2nd most accurate Bracketologist over the past 5 years, has moved NC State from First Four In, to First Four Out.

Pulse on Sports, ranking 3rd, has NC State as one of the First Four In.

One Man Committee, ranking 6th, has the Wolfpack out of the Dance.

Gade Pool, ranking 8th, has NC State as one of the First Four In as a #11 Seed.

Inside the Hall, ranking 10th, has the Wolfpack as one of the First Four In as a #12 Seed.

 

 

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NC State Men’s Swimming & Diving Claim 5th Straight ACC Title!

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – The NC State men’s swimming and diving team won its fifth conference championship in a row and the program’s 29th overall conference title as it took first place at the 2019 ACC Championships.

 

 
After four days of competition in the conference championship at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, NC State finished on top with 1,396.5 team points. Louisville took second place with 1,135.5 points, and Virginia rounded out the top three of the team standings with 1,108 points.

 

Coleman Stewart was honored as ACC Meet Co-MVP after racking up two individual titles and a relay title and breaking a pair of ACC records over the course of the four-day meet. It marks the third straight season that a swimmer from NC State has been honored as meet MVP.

ACC CHAMPIONSHIPS MEN’S MEDAL RECAP:
Every swimmer that competed for the Pack at the 2019 ACC Championships scored points for the team.

NC State picked up a total of 17 podium finishes, including five gold medals. Ten swimmers and divers took home All-ACC honors with podium finishes in their individual events or top finishes as part of a relay.

Gold (5)

  • 200-yard medley relay: Stewart, Graber, Korstanje, Ress (1:22.37 – ACC record, meet record, program record, pool record)
  • 500-yard freestyle: Eric Knowles (4:12.13)
  • 100-yard backstroke: Coleman Stewart (44.44 – ACC record, meet record, program record, pool record)
  • 400-yard medley relay: Stewart, Graber, Korstanje, Izzo (3:03.26 – meet record)
  • 200-yard backstroke: Coleman Stewart(1:39.10 – pool record)


Silver (5)


Bronze (7)


200 BACK:
Stewart once again defended his title as he took home gold in the 200-yard backstroke for the second season in a row. The win on Saturday night secured his second consecutive sweep of the backstroke events after he also did so at the 2018 ACC Championships. Stewart became just the third Wolfpack man in program history to sweep the backstroke events in back-to-back seasons. The Wolfpack junior clocked a lifetime best of 1:39.10 for a pool record.

 

Noah Hensley joined him in the A final. After posting a personal best in the morning’s prelims, Hensley went on to clock a 1:41.83 for sixth place in his third individual A final of the meet.

Jacob Johnson won his finals heat once again, this time in the 200-yard backstroke. He out-touched the field in the B final and posted a personal-best time of 1:42.23.

200 BUTTERFLY:
Andreas Vazaios completed a solid week of competition by picking up his third individual podium finish with a second-place performance in the 200-yard butterfly. The senior touched the wall in 1:41.03 to add to his medal count.

James Bretscher and Zach Brown both qualified for the A final where they secured top-eight finishes. Bretscher placed seventh in 1:53.24, and Brown took eighth place in 1:43.34.

1650 FREE:
The Pack started its evening session strong as all four of its 1650-yard freestyle swimmers clocked lifetime bests in the event.

Jack McIntyre led the way with a podium finish. The Wolfpack junior bettered his time that stands at third in program history as he posted a 14:41.73 in Saturday night’s final heat to take home third place.

Eric Knowles also improved his mark in the event, clocking in at 14:46.85 for fifth place overall.

Danny Erlenmeyer was the first member of the Pack to see action in the mile, and he kicked off the Pack’s final day of competition with the best mile performance of his career. The Wolfpack junior touched the wall in 14:59.51 to drop almost 10 seconds off of his lifetime best and to move into fifth in program history. Erlenmeyer’s time ranked eighth overall in the ACC Championships field.

Gil Kiesler also swam the fastest 1650-yard freestyle time of his career as he clocked in at 15:04.34 for 11th place.

100 FREE:
NC State advanced three swimmers into the A final of the 100-yard freestyle where Justin Ress was the Pack’s top finisher. The senior added a medal to his conference championship tally as he took third place in 42.41.

Nyls Korstanje (42.86) and Jacob Molacek (42.89) finished seventh and eight, respectively, to round out the Pack’s representation in the A final.

Mark McGlaughlin and Giovanni Izzo both managed to improve on their seeds from the morning prelims and each bumped up a few spots in the evening finals. McGlaughlin touched the wall first in the C final in 42.83 to secure a 17th-place finish, and Izzo placed in a tie for 11th with a time of 42.95.

200 BREASTSTROKE:
Daniel Graber qualified for the 200-yard breaststroke A final after turning in a lifetime best of 1:55.52 in the prelims. The senior’s time improved his program record and qualified him for the evening session, where he took eighth in the A final in 1:56.17.

Freshman Rafal Kusto continued to impress for the Pack in the breaststroke events as he secured 10th place in the 200-yard breaststroke. Kusto swam the fastest time of his young Wolfpack career, a 1:56.22 that ranks second in program history.

DIVING:
NC State’s men dove during last week’s conference meet to contribute valuable points to the total team score. James Brady highlighted diving action by finishing on the podium for the second season in a row as he took third place on the platform. His 376.60 was not only good for a bronze medal but also bested the program record that he already held.

Holt Gray and Stewart Spanbauer were also in action last week and secured a series of top-24 finishes to score points for the Wolfpack that were added to the swimming total this week.

400 FREE RELAY:
The Wolfpack men capped off their time at the ACC Championships with another podium finish. The 400-yard freestyle relay squad of Stewart, Vazaios, McGlaughlin and Ress took third place and turned in a time of 2:48.71.

UP NEXT:
NC State’s divers will begin preparation for the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships, which will be hosted by Auburn and will run March 11-13. The men’s swimmers will wrap up the season with the 2019 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, held March 27-30 in Austin, Texas.

(Photo Credit: @packswimdive)

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#4 NC State Women’s Swimming & Diving Wins Their 4th Ever ACC Championship

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – The NC State women’s swimming and diving program won its second conference championship in three years as it powered its way to the team title at the 2019 ACC Championships.

After four days of competition, NC State finished with 1,353 team points. Virginia placed second with 1,282 points, and Louisville rounded out the top three of the team standings with 1,146 points.

The Pack heads back to Raleigh with a total of 11 event titles from the conference meet, setting the program record for most single-season conference titles. The 11 wins topped the previous mark of 10 titles won in 1980.

ACC CHAMPIONSHIPS WOMEN’S MEDAL RECAP:
NC State tallied a total of 20 podium finishes as 12 different swimmers and divers medaled across those finishes to take home All-ACC honors this season. Those 12 swimmers are the most All-ACC honorees in program history for the Wolfpack women.

Gold (11)

  • 200-yard medley relay: Haan, Hansson, Rowe, Perry (1:34.52 – program record, ACC record, meet record)
  • 200-yard individual medley: Julia Poole (1:55.13)
  • 200-yard freestyle relay: Perry, Alons, Rowe, Hansson (1:26.15 – program record, ACC record, meet record, pool record)
  • 400-yard individual medley: Kate Moore (4:05.24 – program record, NC State’s first ever ACC title in the event)
  • 100-yard breaststroke: Sophie Hansson (57.74 – program record, ACC record, meet record, pool record)
  • 100-yard backstroke: Elise Haan (51.43)
  • Platform dive: Madeline Kline (271.60)
  • 400-yard medley relay: Haan, Hansson, Alons, Perry (3:27.81 – program record, meet record)
  • 1650-yard freestyle: Tamila Holub (15:56.91)
  • 200-yard backstroke: Emma Muzzy (1:53.18)
  • 200-yard breaststroke: Sophie Hansson (2:06.73)

Silver (4)

  • 50-yard freestyle: Ky-lee Perry (21.69)
  • 400-yard individual medley: Makayla Sargent (4:06.19)
  • 1650-yard freestyle: Anna Jahns (15:56.96)
  • 400-yard freestyle relay: Perry, Alons, Hansson, Haan (3:12.80)

Bronze (5)

1650 FREE:
The Wolfpack women took a sweep of the podium for the second time during this conference meet as its distance swimmers dominated the 1650-yard freestyle final. The gold medal in the event marked the second season in a row that the Wolfpack has won the event.

Tamila Holub led the way as she touched the wall in 15:56.91 for first place, and Anna Jahns followed right behind her for second place in 15:56.96. Makayla Sargent picked up her second podium finish of the ACC Championships as she finished third in 16:06.58.

Summer Finke also impressed in the event, placing fifth overall with an NCAA B cut time of 16:13.39 that was 26 seconds better than her previous season best.

200 BACK:
Emma Muzzy picked up the first ACC title of her Wolfpack career in dramatic fashion as she won a gold medal in the 200-yard backstroke. Muzzy trailed slightly headed into the final 25 yards but came from behind down the stretch to out touch a pair of Virginia swimmers to win in 1:51.66.

Kate Moore and Elise Haan joined Muzzy in the A final. Moore took fifth place in 1:53.26, and Haan placed sixth in 1:53.71.

Danika Huizinga swam in the B final, where she posted a 1:55.37 to place in a tie for 14th overall.

200 BREASTSTROKE:
Sophie Hansson continued to make a statement at her first conference championship as she took first place in the 200-yard breaststroke with a season-best mark of 2:06.73 to secure a sweep of the breaststroke events. She became the first Wolfpack woman since 1982 to win both breaststroke events at the conference meet.

Julia Poole touched sixth in 2:10.15, and Olivia Calegan rounded out the A finalists for the Pack with a 2:12.17 mark for eighth place.

Olivia Fisher (2:11.94) and Anna Shumate (2:14.67) both dropped time to score points in the B and C finals.

400 FREE RELAY:
The Wolfpack women capped off a solid weekend of relays with a second-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Ky-lee Perry, Hansson, Kylee Alons and Haan touched the wall in an NCAA A cut time of 3:12.80.

100 FREE:
Perry added a medal to her count as she took third place with an NCAA A cut of 47.50 in the A final. Sirena Rowe also raced in the evening session, clocking a 49.39 in the C final.

200 BUTTERFLY:
Three NC State swimmers secured spots in the A and B finals in the 200-yard butterfly. Program record holder Alons took fifth place overall in 1:55.33, a time that was just off of her personal best.

Swimming in the B final, Makayla Sargent took 13th overall with a 1:59.36 mark, and Jessica Horomanski placed 16th in 2:01.03.

ONE-METER:
The Wolfpack women put together a solid final day of competition on the boards as all three divers scored points for NC State with their top-24 finishes. Madeline Kline secured a spot in the final for the second day in a row after placing fourth in the prelims with a 275.30 mark. The Wolfpack junior finished eighth in the final.

NC State’s freshman completed solid outings in the prelims and added valuable points for the Pack as Taylor Bennett (228.50) tied for 19th, and Hailey Fisher (225.65) finished 22nd.

MEN’S PLATFORM:
NC State’s men also wrapped up diving action Saturday as they competed on the platform. James Brady reached a diving final for the second straight year as he finished third in the prelims with a score of 354.80. The Wolfpack junior, who placed third on three-meter at the ACC Championships in 2018, went on to earn a podium finish for the second season in a row. He bested the program record that he already held and tallied a 376.60 for third place.

Holt Gray (12th, 280.10) and Stewart Spanbauer (18th, 245.65) both secured top-24 finishes as well.

UP NEXT:
NC State’s divers will begin preparation for the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships, which will be hosted by Auburn and will run March 11-13. The women’s swimmers will wrap up their seasons with the 2019 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, held March 20-23 in Austin, Texas.

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