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NCAAT: NC State vs. Seton Hall | Preview, Keys to the game & How to Watch



#9 NC State Wolfpack vs #8 Seton Hall
Gametime: 4:30 pm
Location: Witchita, Kansas (Midwest Region)

Seton Hall at a glance…
The Pirates finished the regular season at 21-11 overall and 10-8 (3rd place) in the Big East.

They are a big and physical team led by Desi Rodriguez (6’6 guard) who averages 18ppg and 5 rebounds per game while shooting 50% from the floor and  38% from 3. He is a unique style of score who is tough to stop (we profiled him a few days ago) But this isn’t a one-man show. Seton Hall boasts 4 guys in double figures. Myles Powell has come on strong during his sophomore campaign to average 15ppg while hitting 38% of his 3s. Khadeen Carrington is another big guard you have to watch for, in fact, he might be coming into this game the hottest. He has scored 113 points over the past 5 games. You also have to plan for Angel Delgado. The 6’10 senior big is very talented and very physical on the blocks. He was the top rebounder in the Big East this season at 11.6 per game. He also averages 13.3ppg.


By the numbers on offense…
NC State holds the slight edge in adjusted offensive efficiency (116.4 compared to 116.3). The Wolfpack ranks 24th in offensive efficiency, while the Pirates rank 26th.

That makes these two teams seem super close offensively, but further analysis gives the Wolfpack a slight edge.

When you look at the Four Factors that lead to wins, NC State has the offensive advantage in two of the four.

  • They shoot the ball better than Seton Hall (Offensive Effective Field Goal Percentage 53.3%, compared to 52.8%).
  • They take better care of the ball than the Pirates (Offensive Turnover% 16.9%, compared to 17.9%).
  • Seton Hall has a lot of height down low and grabs offensive rebounds more often than NC State (Offensive Rebound%: SH 34.2% compared to NCST’s 33.6%).
  • The Pirates get to the free throw line more often than the Wolfpack (Offensive Free Throw Rate: NCST 34.5 compared to SH 33.9). On the plus side of this issue, Seton Hall ranks 262nd in the nation in free throw percentage.


By the numbers on defense…
On paper, Seton Hall is the stronger defensive team in this matchup. Their adjusted defensive efficiency is 99, compared to NC State’s 101.3.

When you look at the defensive Four Factors that most often lead to wins, Seton Hall holds the advantage in three of the four…

  • Seton Hall holds their opponents to a lower shooting percentage (Defensive Effective Field Goal Percentage: SH 49.9% to NCST’s 51.5%).
  • NC State does a much better job creating turnovers (Defensive Turnover%: NCST 20.6% to SH 17.9%).
  • Seton Hall does a better job at boxing out, preventing their opponents from grabbing offensive rebounds (Defensive Offensive Rebound%: SH 28.5% to NCST 31.9%)
  • Seton Hall does a better job keeping their opponents off of the free throw line (Defensive Free Throw Rate: SH 28.9 to NCST 32.6)

Keys to the game for NC State…

  • Play physical. This Seton Hall team is a true Big East group. They want to body you up and bang you down. The Pack can catch them off-guard by delivering that level of pysicality right back at them.
  • Dictate pace. Seton Hall isn’t super quick, so NC State has the advantage there. This will allow them to use their full court pressure and traps to speed them up and wear them down. The Pack needs to get up and down on the Pirates, and that means winning on the glass and in the turnover column.
  • Freeman’s Final Stand. Al Freeman has been delivering on the biggest stage all year long. He’s going to be looking to get hot. If he can early on, then the Wolfpack become a tough team to beat.
  • Markell Johnson needs to score it. While I love seeing his assist totals, Johnson needs to diversify his approach. Teams are daring him to score it and he’s been hesitant to take shots. That has to stop. If NC State is going to make a run then Markell Johnson has to be able to keep defenses honest with his scoring.
  • Ture Test for Yurt7. Omer Yurtseven has the whole nation watching. The knock against him has always been his physicality and his aggressiveness. Against Seton Hall, he’ll be able to put those questions to rest if he can battle on the blocks with Delgado. If Yurt gets beat on the boards and isn’t aggressive and finishing through contact, the Pack will be in deep trouble.
  • How hungry are you? This team has beat the odds all season long. They have taken a team that was supposed to finish 12th in the conference and are now on the games biggest stage. You have to believe they’ll be ready. NC State will have a chance to come out and punch the Pirates in the mouth. If they do that then Seton Hall will have to figure out how to respond. They are a good team, but they’ve allowed adversity to take away focus at times. State will want to make it known early and often that they aren’t walking off the court without a victory.

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Rothstein (CBS) hearing NC State could play PG heavy, be one of ACC’s fastest teams



Jon Rothstien (CBS college basketball reporter) tweeted out something we found pretty interesting a couple days ago.

Instead of just retweeting this, we wanted to dive into it just a bit. Rothstein has great sources and wouldn’t tweet this if who he was hearing it from someone on (or close to) the staff. So there is no question about its authenticity, it’s more about what this might hint at for this year’s team.

If you watched Kevin Keatts’ team last season, then you know he likes to play small and fast. The 6’5 Torin Dorn played most of his minutes at the 4 and found a ton of success there. However, this year Keatts has a group of more versatile bigs (Funderburk, Steere, Walker).

This means there may be times when Keatts might feel comfortable shifting Dorn to the 3. If he does that, he’ll also be shifting freshman Jerricole Hellems to the 3 (he is likely being groomed for the ‘Dorn role.’) In this scenario the Pack is now busting at the seems with guards. You’d now have Markell, Beverly, Blake Harris, Devon Daniels, Eric Lockett, and CJ Bryce vying for the remaining 2 guard spots.

Now that scenario is probably not happening a majority of the time. Usually, you’ll see Walker at center and Dorn as the PF. This means that a combination of Johnson, Beverly, Harris, Daniels, and Bryce will fill out the 1 through 3 spots. If this tweet is correct and Keatts goes with Johnson, Beverly, and Harris (the 3 PGs) you’d be sitting Devon Daniel, CJ Bryce, and Eric Lockett.

If you ask us, this is very unlikely. Daniel and Bryce are two extremely important pieces for Keatts. Daniels is by far the best scorer on this team and Bryce is the quintessential Keatts-guy. He’s played for him at UNC-W, he defends multiple positions, he is a great decision maker and is a valuable slasher from the wing. And then there is Eric Lockett, who you’d be wrong to discount as an after thought. From everything we’re hearing, the staff is loving Lockett and he’s going to get minutes on this team.

So what scenarios can we actually expect to see the 3 PGs on the court together?

Our guess is that you might see it when there is foul trouble, or when NC State is in a late game situation and they need elite ball-handling. What we are saying is, don’t read this tweet and bank on seeing that lineup a bunch this season.

Obviously, Keatts wants to prepare for anything, so practicing a lineup with the 3 PGs is worth it. The bigger takeaway here is that Keatts options are nearly unlimited. He has two (sometimes 3) deep high-level talent at every position, so he may look to get creative early in the season.

And as far as speed? Rothstein hints that this 3 PG lineup makes NC State one of the fastest teams in the ACC? We’d argue that this is the fastest team in the ACC with their expected starting lineup of Markell Johnson, Devon Daniels, CJ Bryce, Torin Dorn and Wyatt Walker.

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Partner With Kevin Keatts as He Helps the State of North Carolina



You can make a difference in helping those that are hurting in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence through parntering with NC State. You can also partner with one of their greatest basketball players of all-time in TJ Warren.

Now, you can partner with NC State Men’s Basketball head coach Kevin Keatts as well.

Send your socks, t-shirts and hats to the address below:

Life Storage
Hurricane Florence Relief
5738 Dillard Dr.
Cary, NC 27518

Other NCAA Men’s Basketball coaches and Sports Media are rallying behind what Keatts is trying to do.

Here’s some of what Keatts said to Joe Giglio of the News & Observer about his heart behind this initiative:

“It’s tough,” Keatts said. “I have so many great relationships with friends in the Wilmington area. I could hear it in their voice, on the other end of the phone, how they sounded. They’ve lost power, they’ve had their houses torn up. It really touched me. I lived there and I realized that could be any of us.”

“I just wanted to get involved and try to help,” Keatts said. “I think it’s important to help when you can because at some point, everybody is going to need help. If I can assist in a time of need, I want to be able to do that.” (N&O)

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VIDEO: Devon Daniels preparing to shoulder the load for NC State



Devon Daniels may be new to NC State, but he knows that a lot is going to be asked of him this season.

When you look at the Wolfpack roster, most people key on Markell Johnson and Torin Dorn as the keys to the season. It makes sense. These guys are known entities, but just as important to the success of the Wolfpack is Daniels.

The transfer from Utah is the one guy on the roster who has the skillset to fill in for last year’s leading scorer Al Freeman.

Of course, this team is going to want to run. They are going to play fast and look to get out on the break, but there will be a lot of times when things slow down, or when plays break down. Those situations are where Al Freeman bailed out the Pack time after time, and this year that job is going to fall on the shoulders of Devon Daniels.

From the looks of it, he’s taking that role pretty seriously.

Daniels averaged 10 points in only 27 minutes per game last season. He shot an impressive 57% from the floor and a juicy 40% from long range. It’s safe to say that the kid proved he can score it. However, at Utah, he was a role player. At NC State he’s going to be relied on for a lot more.

Forced to sit last season due to transfer rules, Daniels got his body ACC ready, polished up his skill set and even added a little more bounce to his game.

Everyone knows that preseasons videos are mostly just fuel for the hype-train, but Daniels has posted videos like this before and it seems as if this type of workout is less the exception and more the norm. And if that’s the case, then NC State fans have a good reason to get excited.

Want to discuss whether or not Devon Daniels is going to live up to the hype? We’re talking about it here on the message boards.

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OUR TAKE: An in-depth look at NC State’s non-conference schedule



Earlier today, the full 2018-19 NC State basketball schedule was announced.

There had been games announced here and there, and the ACC docket was already set, but this is the first time we’ve seen the full non-conference schedule and it’s pretty interesting.

Here are some of our notes and thoughts on the early season matchups…

  • NC State plays their first 6 games at home and they should be relatively easy. That is a good thing. This is a team with a lot of new pieces, and it’s going to take a little while for this group to get kicking on all cylinders. (It may also take time for these guys to get used to the substitution patterns in Keatts system.)
  • NC State plays at Wisconsin in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. This will be the team’s first road game and will be their first true test. Wisconsin is coming off a tough season in which they finished 9th in their conference. However, they have a ton of returning talent including their star forward Ethan Happ (who averaged 17 ppg last season.)
  • Less than a week later, they play a rebuilt Vanderbilt team in Miami.  A tough turnaround for the Pack as they head from Wisconsin to Miami, Florida for the HoopHall Invitational to face off against Vandy. This is another big name school who struggled last year, finishing 12-20 and coming in 2nd to last in the SEC. However, they have some big-time freshman joining them in 2018. Darius Garland is the #14 player in this class and the #2 PG. Head coach Bryce Drew compared him to Trae Young over the summer. They are also adding the #11 player in the class (and #3 PF) Simisola Shittu. Add on that they have two good bigs who transferred in and are eligible this year (Yanni Wetzell and Matt Ryan) and Vandy seems to have a very good shot at improving on their disastrous 2017-18 season.
  • Then NC State takes on Western Carolina at Reynolds. This is the first that we’ve heard that WCU would be the Reynolds game, but it makes sense. Former NC State assistant (who was also the former WCU head coach) Larry Hunter, recently passed away and will likely be honored during this game.
  • NC State takes on Penn State in Atlantic City. This is a game for the “Boardwalk Classic” which isn’t a tournament, but more like a day where a bunch of teams play in Atlantic City, NJ. The Pack beat Penn State last season 85-78 in a ‘grind-it-out’ kind of game but was lit up by Tony Carr for 29 points. Lucky for Keatts and company, Carr is in the NBA now, so that threat has passed. However, Penn State is no pushover. They finished 9-9 in the Big Ten, good for 6th place (and an eventual NIT championship). This year their main guy will be Lamar Stevens. He’s a junior who really came into his own last season. He dropped 13 against the Pack last year but really got things going at the end of the year. His 28 points outburst in the NIT Championship sets the stage for his coming out party in 2018-19.
  • NC State takes on #10 Auburn on Dec 19th. The Tigers, led by Bruce Pearl, were one of the more surprising teams of 2017-18. They finished with the second most wins in program history (26) and notched a 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament. If you watched Auburn last season, you know that they play an uptempo, defensive heavy brand of basketball. This should make for a really fun, fast-paced matchup. While they did lose a few key guys from last season (Mustapha Heron), they are returning star guard Jared Harper. He’s a junior who was the team’s 3rd leading scorer and put up 5.4 assists per game. While he’s only 5’10, he can really create and has near unlimited range. They also bring back guard Bryce Brown, the team’s second-leading scorer from a season ago. But the biggest news is the return of former 5-star, 6’11 monster, Austin Wiley, who was suspended last season in connection with the sweeping FBI investigation around college basketball. Wiley almost entered the draft, but he decided to come back, giving Auburn an elite big to pair with their dangerous duo of guards. This matchup is easily the toughest of NC State’s non-conference schedule.
  • They finish with 2 winnable games heading into conference play – USC Upstate and Loyola Maryland close out the non-conference schedule. After going through a bit of a gauntlet in late November to mid-December, they finally get a few games to work out some kinks heading into their ACC opener vs. Miami

As you can see, NC State has what I think is a decent non-conference schedule. They open up with some easier games which will give them time to gel and figure themselves out. Then they play some good (but beatable) teams in late November and cap it off with their biggest test yet… #10 Auburn.

It seems like this layout allows the Pack to ramp up at a nice cadence. This is helpful seeing as it’s going to be their first season playing the way the Keatts’ system was meant to be played.

This schedule does give them chances for a few resume builders before conference rolls around, but they’ll need to take advantage of those few chances or it will hurt them come March.


Want to talk about the non-conference schedule or see what other State fans think? We are discussing it right here in the forum.

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