NC State is now 5-1 after their 90-81 win over Louisiana Tech, who Ken Pom was rating as a Top-100 team. So yeah, this was a good win for this NC State team, who itself is now ranked 60th overall by Ken Pom. Here is ‘Our Take’…
- Welcome back, Jericole Hellems
Man, it’s good to see Hellems get hot. The senior came into the game shooting around 25% from the field, in a season where the Pack was leaning on him to be their scoring leader. This was concerning. These concerns, at the moment, seem to be behind us. Hellems went off for 31 points and was unconscious from 3 point range. He finished 10-19 from the field and was 6-9 from 3.
- Ebe Dowuona, you have our attention!
After losing Manny Bates, Keatts was forced to rely on a sophomore who played about 5 minutes per game last year and to be honest, things were looking bleak over the first 4 games. Duowana was playing hard, but he just looked a little lost out there. The last few games things have looked different. Against Texas Southern, Ebe set a career high with 7 rebounds. He followed that up in this one with a career high 10 points and 6 blocks. Slowly but surely, he’s starting to make an impact for this team.
- Interior defense still struggling
Although we just got done telling you how well Ebe Dowuona played, NC State still is having problems stopping bigs who can score. Kenny Lofton Jr, the La Tech big man, scored at will vs the Pack. He finished with 36 points despite being 6’7. Now, this guy is LARGE and uses his body well, but State needs to find a way to stop guys like this. Dowuona and Gibson can handle thinner bigs, but guys with some beef on them seem to just bully them down low and get easy buckets. Come ACC time, they’ll be facing guys who are built like men, and if this continues, State is going to be giving up big games on the regular to post players. They either need Dowuona to figure it out, or they need to start sending help down low (which will open up 3s for opposing teams).
- Cam Hayes trending the right way
Hayes, after struggling a bit in the early games, seems to have found his stride. Coming off a great 2nd half vs. Texas Southern, the sophomore PG played well again, finishing with 14 points, 5 assists and just 1 turnover. He’s playing more physical and working on getting into the lane to make plays. This is opening up shots on the perimeter, and in this one, State was hitting. Hayes is a huge part of this team, and needs to produce if they want to win. This was another step in the right direction.
- Perimeter defense looks strong
Hayes, Morsell and Seabron have been doing a great job limiting easy shots from the perimeter and lately a lot of it has been because they have been keeping their men out of the lane. La Tech shot just 34% from beyond the arc and it was a big reason they won this game. Keatts seems to have put together a formitable defensive backcourt and, so far, it seems like it’s having a real positive impact. Sure up the interior defense, and this team is going to be tough to score on all season long.
I guess we’re all now wondering, just how good is this Wolfpack team? Are they just beating up on bad teams or are they a young team coming into their own? We’ll start to get more answers when they take on Nebraska this Wednesday and follow it up with the ACC opener vs Louisville on Saturday.
It’s Not Over Till It’s Over
Look…I know the odds of NC State’s Men’s Basketball team going to the NCAA Tournament is next to zero percent.
In fact, according to Bart Torvik, the Wolfpack have a 1.1% chance of making the Dance as an at-large bid.
Don’t accuse me of wearing rose colored glasses, because I’m not. The fact remains, it’s not over until it is over.
What would have to happen for NC State to make the NCAA Tournament?
More than likely, NC State would have to win out the rest of the way, in games against Boston College, @ FSU, @ UNC, Duke and @ Pitt.
Maybe there’s a scenario where the Wolfpack beats BC, FSU, Pitt and beats either Duke or UNC. In order for that to play out, I imagine the Wolfpack would have to make a splash in the ACC Tournament as well.
Or maybe NC State could earn a bid winning 4 of 5 if they all of a sudden put together astronomical offensive and defensive efficiency numbers, which thus far has killed their position in the NET Rankings.
Either way, you would need some legit Cardiac Pack vibes for this team to make the Dance.
Call me unrealistic, but I think NC State should be in the NCAA Tournament every single season. Historically speaking, heading into this season, NC State ranked 27th for the most wins in college basketball history. If I lowered the standard a bit to 75%, accounting for an off year every now and then, the program is still way off the mark.
Read into this what you will, but if the Wolfpack doesn’t go to the Big Dance this year, that means they will have only gone twice in the past 7 years, and in my opinion, that’s unacceptable.
With that being said…GO PACK!
#6 NC State 70 UNC 80: BOX SCORE (with notes)
#6 NC State was defeated by their rival UNC this evening, falling 70-80 to the Tar Heels. Below is the Box Score with notes underneath.
- This game came down to shooting.
- UNC shot 50.8% from the field and NC State shot 35.2%.
- The Tar Heels shot an insane 52.4% from three, hitting 11 from beyond the arc.
- The Wolfpack shot 9 of 27 from deep.
- Junior Guard Aziaha James led the Pack with 24 points (10-24), and also grabbed 9 rebounds.
- Senior Forward Mimi Collins had a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
- The Pack needed to feed Collins. She was 3 of 6 from the field.
- Junior Guard Saniya Rivers had 13 points (4-13), and knocked down 4 three pointers (3-6).
- Senior Guard Madison Hayes had 11 points (4-12) and 9 boards.
- Senior Center River Baldwin struggled, hitting 2 of her 9 shots.
- The Wolfpack did manage to score 17 second chance points, compared to UNC’s 7.
- They also made 11 free throws, compared to UNC’s 5.
- UNC played extremely good defense, but NC State missed an obscene amount of shots around the rim.
- The Tar Heels looked like the better team tonight, leading for 3/4th of the game.
The Wolfpack will play at Duke on Sunday at 5:30pm on ACC Network.
#6 NC State Looks to Sweep Rival UNC This Evening
The 6th ranked NC State Women’s Basketball team is looking to sweep their rival UNC this evening at 8pm on ACC Network. Back on February 1st, the Wolfpack beat the Tar Heels 63-59. At the time NC State was ranked 5th, and UNC was ranked 24th.
Since arriving in Raleigh, Wolfpack Head Coach Wes Moore has led NC State to a 13-9 overall record against the Tar Heels, but they are 4-6 in Chapel Hill under his watch.
NC State lost to UNC the last time the game was played in enemy territory, falling 46-57 loss in Carmichael Arena on January 15th of last year. In that contest, the Wolfpack were ranked 11th and the Tar Heels were ranked 22nd.
If NC State wins tonight, it will mark the 4th time that Moore has led the Wolfpack to sweep UNC in the regular season.
Historically, NC State holds a 63-54 advantage in the series against UNC, but they are 20-30 on the road.
NC State’s Wes Moore is 1 of 15 on the Late Season Watchlist for the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award
NC State Women’s Basketball Head Coach Wes Moore is 1 of 15 on the Naismith Late Season Watchlist for the Coach of the Year Award.
The leader of our Pack 🐺🐺
— NC State WBB 🐺🏀 (@PackWomensBball) February 21, 2024
Currently, Moore has led NC State from being unranked in the preseason polls, to #6 currently. The Wolfpack are 23-3, and numerous publications project them to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Moore was a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award in 2020-21 and a Semifinalist in 2015-16.