Louisville comes into tomorrow’s ACC opener with a 5-2 record with losses to Furman and #22 Michigan State. Their best win so far was a 63-55 win over Maryland. So what should we expect when they head to Raleigh to take on the Pack?
Well, first off, this Louisville team really doesn’t have a super-star. They are well-balanced. Their leading scorer is SG Noah Locke at 11 points per game. After that, it’s guard Dre Davis at 9 points and senior forward Malik Williams at 8.
Locke is a Senior guard who has averaged 10 points over his sophomore and junior seasons. He can get hot, and when he does, he’s hard to handle. He’s 6’3 and can score off the dribble, but he’s also a good catch and shoot guy. He’s shooting just 33% from 3 and 35% from the field, but over the past two seasons, he’s been over 40% from long range and over 42% from the floor. Now, Locke is talented, but it’s not like State can’t match up with him. All of the Pack’s most-used guards are over 6’3 (and quick), so there won’t be a mismatch in this situation.
The big problem for State may be senior forward Malik Williams. The 6’11 big is mobile, long, and a rebounding machine. Ebe Dowuona has been making some huge strides over the past 3 games, but he’s going to be giving up 25 pounds to Williams, and it’s likley Louisville will try to spread the floor and attack him. This matchup will be interesting, and likely play a big role in which team comes out on top.
The matchup, size-wise looks like this…
West (5’11) vs. Hayes (6’3)
Locke (6’3) vs Morsell (6’3) or Smith (6’4)
Davis (6’5) vs Seabron (6’7)
Withers (6’8) vs. Hellems (6’7)
Williams (6’11) vs Dowuona (6’11)
While you’d assume NC State has the advantage at PG with Hayes having 4 inches on West, the Pack has struggled over the years against smaller, quicker guards, Power-5 guards. Their ability to get in the lane and cause havoc has been an Achilles heel for Keatts’ squads. West is shifty and really isn’t looking to score when he gets in the paint. He’s looking to set up his teammates, and that’s going to lead to some open 3s.
The good news, for State, is that Louisville isn’t shooting the ball that well from outside. As a team, they’re shooting just 29% from beyond the arc (after shooting just 30% last year).
Looking further into the stats, State has a few advantages. While they too aren’t shooting it well from deep (30%), they are tied in per game rebounds at 41, scoring 10 more points per game than Louisville and turning it over just 10 times per game, while the Cardinals have been pretty careless at 15 TOs per game.
Both teams are shooting 42% from the field and both are getting about 8 steals per game.
Louisville is averaging 12 assists per game, while State averages 10. However, State averages 5 blocks per game, and Louisville hasn’t been protecting the rim that well (just 2.9 blocks per game.)
You can get a feel for how the Cardinals play by watching the highlights above, but in our opinion, this is a winnable game for the Pack. The keys will be getting Seabron off, having Dowuona hold Williams in check, and having Morsell available coming off his ankle injury.
NC State’s Men’s Basketball Team is Having One of it’s Best Runs in the ACC Ever
Heading into tonight’s Top-25 matchup between #22 NC State and #8 UVA, the Wolfpack are in the midst of one of their best runs in ACC play since the conference was formed in 1953.
The Wolfpack are 9-4 in the ACC, but they have won 8 of their last 9 conference games.
The last time NC State went on a run like this in ACC Regular Season games was during the 1972-73 and 73-74 seasons, when the Wolfpack went 12-0 in ACC play.
12-0 (1972 & 73-74)
12 of 13 (1958-59)
8 of 9 (2022-23, 1961-61, 1954-55)
7 of 8 (1974-75, 1969-70, 1964-65, 1955-56)
6 of 7 (2005-06, 1979-80, 1960-61, 1957-58)
#22 NC State is a 7.5-Point Underdog at #8 UVA Tonight
#22 NC State is a 7.5-point underdog at #8 Virginia tonight at 9pm, and the Total is sitting at 137.
- NC State is 19-5 Straight Up.
- They are 11-11-2 Against the Spread.
- UVA is 17-4 Straight Up.
- They are 8-12-1 Against the Spread.
- The Total has gone Over in 13 of NC State’s 24 games.
- The Total has gone Over in 12 of UVA’s 22 games
- UVA is 15-2 as the Favorite.
- NC State is 4-4 as the Underdog.
- NC State is 4-1-1 in their last 6 games against UVA Against the Spread.
- The Total has gone Over in 5 of NC State’s last 7 games.
- The Total has gone Over in 4 of UVA’s last 5 games.
- The Total has gone Under in 5 of the last 6 games between these two in Charlottesville.
- NC State has won two in a row, and 3 of the last 4 against UVA.
- Kevin Keatts is 3-4 against UVA. He is 2-2 at UVA.
NC State vs. UVA
NC State is the ONLY Team in the Triangle Ranked for the 1st Time in 40 Years
NC State’s Men’s Basketball team is back in the AP Top 25 for the first time in 4 years, landing at #22 in the Week 14 AP Poll.
NC State is ranked. Duke and UNC are not. Last time that was the case? December 27th, 1982. Over 40 years ago. It’s only the 6th time in 67 years that this has happened.
Wolfpack was 17th that week. UNC was unranked in two polls all year, Dec. 20 and Dec. 27. Duke was not ranked that season (Dawkins, Alarie, Bilis, Henderson were freshmen).
Other *cough* ACC teams on Dec. 27: Virginia (4), Louisville (13), Syracuse (14).
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) February 6, 2023
Before that: The preseason poll in 1973, the final poll in 1970 and Dec. 5, 1955. So this is the sixth time in 67 years.
Happened pretty often between 1952-55. NC State was ranked during the entire 1950-51 season while neither Duke nor UNC was.
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) February 6, 2023
Anyone remember what happened that 1982-83 basketball season?
NC State won the National Championship.
NC State Breaks Into the AP Poll, Landing at #22
NC State is off to it’s best start in almost 2 decades, and they now finally have a number beside their name, landing at #22 in the Week 14 AP Poll.
— NC State Men's Bball (@PackMensBball) February 6, 2023
This is the first time that NC State has been ranked in the AP Poll since January 28th, 2019, when they were ranked 23rd.
ACC Teams in the Week 14 AP Poll
22. NC State