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Markell Johnson Leads NC State to 80-65 Win Over Vanderbilt, Kevin Keatts Picks up 100th Win

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NC State defeated Vanderbilt 80-65 tonight in the Miami HoopHall Invitational to improve to 7-1 on the season for the second time since the 2006-07 season (2009-10 & 2014-15). The victory was the Wolfpack’s 1st over a Power 5 school this season.

In doing so, head coach Kevin Keatts picked up his 100th win, 8 games into his 5th season as a college basketball head coach.

The Wolfpack didn’t trail for a single second against the Commodores.

NC State’s defensive intensity staggered Vanderbilt:

Against NC State/Season Average Before Game

Points Scored: 60/87.8
Field Goal Percentage: 39.3%/49.3%
3-Point Percentage: 13.6%/37.8%
Rebounds: 33/43.2

Redshirt Sophomore DJ Funderburk was the standout for the Wolfpack in the 1st half, scoring all 16 of his points in the first period (5-10 FG).

Junior Point Guard Markell Johnson continued to look like a superstar. After returning from an injury with a knee brace on, Johnson scored 15 points in 3 minutes (6:40-2:41), with 12 of those being consecutive. He finished the night with 19 points (7-10 FG), 7 assists and 6 rebounds.

Rebounding was a concern coming into the season, but NC State continues to out-rebound their opponents, snagging 13 more than Vandy.

The Wolfpack led by 12 at the half, and ended up winning by 15 points, more than doubling the 6-point spread.

The Wolfpack’s next game will be in Reynolds Coliseum on Wednesday night against Western Carolina, as NC State commemorates James T. Valvano Arena before the game.

NC State Basketball

NC State is a 16.5-Point Underdog at Duke Tonight

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NC State enters tonight’s game at #2 Duke as 16.5-point underdogs. The Total is 159.5.

  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of North Carolina State’s last 6 games
  • North Carolina State is 6-3 Against The Spread in its last 9 games on the road
  • The total has gone OVER in 10 of North Carolina State’s last 13 games on the road
  • North Carolina State is 4-1 Against The Spread in its last 5 games when playing Duke
  • North Carolina State is 6-17 Straight Up in its last 23 games when playing Duke
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of North Carolina State’s last 5 games when playing Duke
  • North Carolina State is 4-1 Against The Spread in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Duke
  • North Carolina State is 2-23 Straight Up in its last 25 games when playing on the road against Duke
  • The total has gone OVER in 6 of North Carolina State’s last 8 games when playing on the road against Duke (OddShark)

Being an underdog isn’t something the Wolfpack aren’t used to in this series. Duke has been the favorite in the last 41 straight contests against NC State (1/7/98), and the streak probably goes back further than that. That’s simply as far back as the research on TeamRankings goes.

With that being said, the Wolfpack is on a 2-game winning streak against the Blue Devils.

Ironically, the last time NC State took the court in Cameron Indoor, they were 16.5-point underdogs as well, but managed to defeat the 17th ranked home team 84-82.

The Wolfpack are 6-4 against the spread in their last 10 games against Duke, and the TOTAL has gone OVER in 8 of the 10.

NC State is 15-10 against the spread this year, and Duke is 15-9. The Wolfpack are 6-3 against the spread on the road, and the Blue Devils are 9-6 against the spread at home.

NC State 2018-19

Duke 2018-19

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NC State Moved up to #31 in the NET Rankings After Syracuse

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NC State moved up 6 spots, from #37 to #31, in the NET Rankings after beating Syracuse 73-58 on Wednesday night. 

The NET Rankings have replaced the RPI as the primary shaper of the NCAA Tournament field.

The NCAA Evaluation Tool, which will be known as the NET, relies on game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency, and the quality of wins and losses. To make sense of team performance data, late-season games (including from the NCAA tournament) were used as test sets to develop a ranking model leveraging machine learning techniques. The model, which used team performance data to predict the outcome of games in test sets, was optimized until it was as accurate as possible. The resulting model is the one that will be used as the NET going forward.

The NET was built to create a ranking system that was as accurate as possible while also evaluating team performance fairly. To ensure fairness, certain types of data were omitted from the model. Of key importance, game date and order were omitted to give equal importance to both early and late-season games. In addition, a cap of 10 points was applied to the winning margin to prevent rankings from encouraging unsportsmanlike play, such as needlessly running up the score in a game where the outcome was certain. (NCAA)

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NC State’s Men’s Basketball ACC Slate for the Next 3 Years

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The ACC released the conference schedules for Men’s Basketball for the next three years today.

Why is that noteworthy?

Well, beginning next year, the ACC slate will increase from 18 games to 20 games.

Here’s a look at what conference play will look like for the Wolfpack the next three seasons.

It’s worth noting that NC State will play the team that wears dark blue over in Durham twice tomorrow.

The 20-game ACC slate is locked in for three years.

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Sacha Killeya-Jones is No Longer on NC State’s Basketball Team

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Former Kentucky player and 5-Star prospect in High School, Sacha Killeya-Jones, is no longer a member of the NC State Men’s Basketball team.

Under transfer rules, Killeya-Jones is sitting out this season as a redshirt, and would have had two years of eligibility left in Raleigh.

Wolfpack head coach Kevin Keatts addressed Killeya-Jones’ absence from the bench last night after the game.

(Sacha) Killeya-Jones is currently not a member of our program and that’s all I can say right now. (Link)

Exactly why he is no longer a member of the program is unclear at this point.

Killeya-Jones is originally a native of Chapel Hill, but played his high school ball at Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Virginia. After originally committing to UVA, Jones eventually committed to go to Kentucky. Jones was a consensus 5-Star recruit, and ranked as the #23 overall player in the class of 2016.

Standing 6’11”, Killeya-Jones was a big component of the future of NC State’s frontcourt. This year, the Wolfpack have no depth in this area, with Wyatt Walker (GR JR) and DJ Funderburk (RS SO) serving as the only “big men.” Next year was going to be a luxury, with both Walker and Funderburk returning, and the addition of Killeya-Jones and Manny Bates (FR), who had shoulder surgery this season.

NC State still has 2 scholarships available in 2019. The Wolfpack coaching staff is in hot pursuit of Christian Brown, and has space to add a big man alongside of him.

 

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