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VIDEO: Kevin Keatts Talks Before #19 NC State’s Matchup vs. #23 Louisville

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#19 NC State head coach Kevin Keatts spoke with the media today before Thursday’s road game against #23 Louisville. He broke down the latest on Junior Point Guard Markell Johnson’s availability…

The video is ABOVE (Via TheWolfpacker), and a bulleted breakdown is BELOW.

  • I think I said it the other day, he’s (Markell Johnson) a guy that could play on Thursday, or could play three or four weeks from now. I’m not going to play him until he feels mentally and physically ready to play.
    • There won’t be any pressure on our end. We’re prepared to go into every game without him. If he’s able to play…feels he can play…and the doctors and trainers say he can play…we’d definitely love to have him back in our lineup
    • He’s getting shots up with no contact at this point. He’s not moving really fast, but anything we do at the beginning where we get shots up and there is no contact, he participates in that.
    • I think he feels better each day. I typically get a report from our trainer right after practice and every night, and the report last night was he felt better after working out yesterday.
    • He took a pretty nasty fall. He doesn’t have a lot of meat in that area. He’s really, really sore.
  • DJ Funderburk’s been great. He’s long and athletic, and can get to a lot of offensive rebounds. He’s been great in that area, but he’s also done a great job with defensive presence.
    • Against Pitt he had to play a lot of minutes and did a tremendous job without getting into foul trouble. Made some shots. Ran the floor.
    • He gives us the ability on the defensive end where we can switch all screens if we have to, because he’s the only guy on our roster who can guard all five positions on the floor. He’s been very valuable to us.
    • When he’s in the game, we typically don’t have a true center. Wyatt Walker is the closest we have to a true center. We have two power forwards or two forwards when he’s on the floor.
    • At Hargrave, he was always on the front of a press. Played with energy. He played hard. Affected every aspect of the game.
    • Went JUCO and some projected him as the No. 1 JUCO in the country. He’s only going to get better as the years go on. He’ll continue to put on weight. Next year I’d love to see him add 20 more pounds to his frame.
    • It’s a couple of different things (On why he doesn’t start). I don’t like him getting into early foul trouble. He’s also played so great off the bench. Gives us a great lift. He will start games before the season is over. Don’t know when that will be, but he’s so valuable to our program.
    • I felt we had a little bit of advantage (recruiting Funderburk) because AW (Hamilton. Former Assistant Coach who is now at Eastern Kentucky) had coached him. A lot of schools backed off because they thought if NC State wanted him, we’d get him because of his relationship with AW at Hargrave.
  • I think we have to play high-level basketball to win there (Louisville). They are playing as good as any team in our conference. After the Pitt loss, I don’t think they’ve had a game closer than 10 points. They had an unbelievable win at Carolina and on the road with Georgia Tech.
    • (Jordan) Nwora is playing very good basketball. He’s shooting the ball extremely well. They are talented and play hard.
    • Chris (Mack) is doing a great job with the program.
    • My emotions are I’m hoping we can go there and get a win. I’m the NC State coach and excited about our guys. For me, it’s another great opponent on their floor. It’s so hard to win in the ACC on the road.
  • We have to be there on the catch (On what you have to do to stop Nwora). He’s really good. He reminds me so much of Cam Johnson with how he can shoot the ball with his height.
    • He’s very good around the NBA line, but he can also step back and take shots. Right now, he’s shooting into a big rim.
    • The only game in the ACC they didn’t win (Pitt), he didn’t have a great 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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