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NC State Basketball

CBS Picks NC State as 1 of 5 that Could Make a Run in March who Missed Dance in 2019

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Matt Ward of CBSSports picked 5 schools that missed the NCAA Tournament in 2019, that could even make a run at the Final Four in 2020. In the past 9 years, 5 teams have made the Final Four who missed the Big Dance the year prior.

NC State was 1 of the 5 teams picked that could make a run.

NC State Wolfpack

After posting a 24-12 record last season, including a 9-9 record in the ACC and an ACC Tournament win over Clemson, the Wolfpack were on the outside looking in at the NCAA Tournament and will look to return this season. The selection committee didn’t exactly look highly on the Wolfpack’s’ record last season and they had to settle for an NIT bid, ultimately bowing out to Lipscomb. They finished 36th in the final NET rankings, and while 11 at-large bids went to teams ranked below them in the NET, there was just one team ranked above them also left out: NIT champion Texas.

The issue? NC State’s nonconference schedule was ranked dead last in all of Division I — that’s 353rd. The ACC offers a myriad of opportunities, but they didn’t take advantage against the likes of Duke, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida State. The Wolfpack will need to get at least one of those games this season and their nonconference schedule will also be more challenging. Beyond traveling to Auburnand hosting Wisconsin, whom they played last season, they will travel to Greensboro to play UNC Greensboro and will play Memphis at Barclays Center.

Kevin Keatts brings back a wealth of talent, specifically in the backcourt, led by Markell Johnson. The senior point guard is one of the best in the country. C.J. Bryce, Braxton Beverly, and Devon Daniels are also key returners. Their biggest area of improvement will be in the frontcourt. Keatts struggled to find consistency there last season, but the additions of graduate transfers in 6-10 Danny Dixon (UMKC) and 6-8 forward Pat Andree (Lehigh) should reap rapid rewards. Both big men, especially Andree, can stretch out and make shots from 3-point range. Add redshirt freshman Immanuel Bates to the mix, and the Wolfpack frontcourt is much improved.

The Wolfpack are a serious candidate here to go from out to Atlanta. They have experience to couple with young talent led by incoming freshman Dereon Seabron and redshirt sophomore Atticus Taylor. Keatts’ pressing defense can cause difficulties for teams without much time to prepare. The difference maker is Johnson. He is an elite point guard who will have plenty of opportunities to lead the Pack to big wins this season. (CBS)

Ironically, one of the other 5 teams was Memphis, who NC State will be playing in non-conference play in the Barclays Center Classic.

NC State Basketball

Andy Katz Ranks NC State’s Markell Johnson as the #4 Player in the ACC

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NCAA.com’s Andy Katz released a podcast two days ago previewing the 2019-20 ACC Men’s Basketball season, and he thinks that NC State Senior Point Guard Markell Johnson is the 4th best player in the conference.

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Here’s what Katz had to say about Johnson in the Top-10 breakdown on the podcast.

“He’s a stat stuffer. If NC State goes to the NCAA Tournament, Markell Johnson will lead them. At ACC Media Day told me that he needs to come more out of his shell. He knows that. To be much more demonstrative. Kevin Keatts is putting it on him to become a player like that.” (Katz)

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NC State Being Sued by N&O, WRAL, ABC11 & NY Times

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According to Will Doran of the N&O, the News & Observer, WRAL, ABC11, and the New York Times have filed a lawsuit against NC State for refusing to turn over records related to Dennis Smith Jr. and the NCAA’s investigation into the Men’s Basketball program.

The article claims that for the past two years, the university has been “knowingly and intentionally violating the law by refusing to turn over public records.” Specifically, documentation of electronic communication and phone records have been denied according to the report.

After the release of the article, a spokesperson of the university reached out to Doran last night to inform him that they had “not seen or been served with the lawsuit and would wait to comment until officials have reviewed it.” The spokesperson also had this to say in a statement:

“N.C. State has released thousands of pages of documents and has acted in good faith and transparency throughout the federal and NCAA investigations,” the spokesperson said. “In addition, the university was prepared to release extensive phone records, but that release has been blocked by a temporary court order.” (N&O)

You can read Doran’s article in full here.

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3 NC State Women’s Basketball Players Earn Preseason Honors

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The Blue Ribbon Panel and Head Coaches released their Preseason All-ACC Teams today, and NC State Sophomore Center Elissa Cunane and Senior Guard Aislinn Konig both earned honors.

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Cunane made both teams, while Konig only made the Head Coaches team.

In her first season, Cunane averaged 13.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, and was named to the All-ACC Freshman Team. Konig averaged 10.7 points and 3.8 assists per game as a Junior, shooting 40.1% from three-point range. Her 214 career three-pointers ranks 5th in program history, and her 93 three-pointers made last year broke her record from the year before (91) for trifecta’s made in a single season.

NC State has had at least one player earn 1st Team All-ACC honors at seasons end the past three years.

Freshman Guard Jakia Brown-Turner made the Newcomer Watch List for both the Blue Ribbon Panel and the Head Coaches.

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Brown-Turner was a McDonald’s All-American, and the #15 player in the 2019 recruiting class according to ESPN.

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NC State Women’s Basketball Picked to Finish 2nd in the ACC in 2019-20

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The NC State Women’s Basketball team was picked to finish 2nd in the ACC in both the Blue Ribbon Panel and the Head Coaches 2019-20 Preseason Polls.

The Wolfpack picked up 8 first place votes in the Blue Ribbon Panel poll, and 2 in the Head Coaches Poll.

The last time NC State finished 2nd place or better in the ACC was the 1989-90 season, when the Wolfpack won the regular season. They finished tied for 2nd in 1997-98 and 1990-91, but were #3 seeds in the ACC Tournament.

Wolfpack Head Coach Wes Moore has either matched or exceeded expectations in all 6 of his seasons thus far in Raleigh. If he were to do so for the 7th consecutive season, he would take NC State to places it hasn’t been in almost 30 years.

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