NC State Wolfpack (#3) vs. Colorado State (#1)
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Frisco, TX
Line: NCSU -1.5
Preview of Colorado State:
Colorado State finished the season at 19-5 and came very close to winning the Mountain West division at 14-4 in conference play. As we mentioned earlier, Colorado State has not played the toughest schedule, though the Mountain West in itself had some NCAA caliber teams, both of which the Rams were to come away with a win against in the regular season. Though Q1 wins for the Rams, beating Utah State and San Diego State, those teams did not show too well facing tougher teams in the NCAA tournament. SDSU took a beat down against (a red hot) Syracuse and Utah State falling in round 1 to Texas Tech. The Rams finished the season 7-3 in their last ten games and most recently beat a sold Buffalo team in the first round of the NIT.
The Rams are anchored by their 6’5 “Big Man” David Roddy who leads the team in both scoring at 16 points per game and rebounding at 9.5 per game. Roddy is a unique player who doesn’t use the traditional means of length, quickness, or lights out shooting to get his points. At 225 pounds, he uses his strong and athletic frame to out-muscle opponents and can finish around the rim. He also has some sneaky athletism and a respectable jump shot, making him a unique but tough mismatch for teams.
After Roddy, you have Isaiah Stevens, a shift 6’0 points guard averaging 15 points per game. Stevens is another tough matchup for teams as he can get to and finish at the rim (65% on shots around the rim) while also able to knock down the shots from the perimeter (41% from 3). The combination of speed and ability to score makes him a very effective pick and roll point guard, averaging over 5 assists a game. Though he can cause havoc on the offensive side, Stevens is still a sophomore and also prone to forcing passes and causing turnovers.
Rounding out the offense is the speedy Kendal Moore and sharpshooting forward Adam Thistlewood, both of who average right around 10 points a game. Both players are slightly undersized for their position but can light it up from beyond the arc if left open. These 4 give the Rams an efficient offense and a team that knocks down a high percentage of their shots, both inside and out of the perimeter.
Keys to Winning for the Wolfpack:
We mentioned the 3 keys for Pack in our breakdown here. This is a Colorado State team that can and will score on you. The defense will need to come with the same focus they had against Davidson and guard through the full shot clock and know where shooters are.
The biggest change in this game is now you have guards that can break you down one on one and get in the lane. Our guards will need to play tough defense and use their length or athleticism to keep the Rams from getting wherever they want to on the court. Bates and Fundy will also be a big factor at the rim, stifling drives at the basket without drawing fouls.
You also need to figure out how to stop David Roddy. I am curious to see the approach here, but my opinion is to use the length of Funderburk to make Roddy shoot over a longer defender.
This is a curious matchup for the Pack, but at the end of the day should be able to overcome their ability to score with a big advantage size-wise in the post, allowing them to play their inside-out style of play to create open shots on the perimeter along with adding second chance opportunities on the boards. Also, if the Pack can play focused on the defensive end, Colorado State is prone to turnovers, which is a Pack strong point. All these factors should lead to a Pack victory and well-rounded games from both bigs and I personally think Hellems will be a matchup nightmare for this team. Look for him to have a big scoring night in my opinion.