NC State takes on pissed-off #1 Purdue team on Sunday.
The Boilermakers lost on a buzzer-beater to Rutgers last night (who was without their 3rd leading scorer), in what was an amazing basketball game. We rewatched the full game, but you can watch the full game highlights below to get a feel.
So what can NC State learn from the way Rutgers dealt with Purdue? Is there a way they can replicate this outcome?
The answer is yes, but it’s not going to be easy.
The bigs are going to have their way. Let them.
Purdue is huge. They have senior Trevion Williams (a 6’10, 255lb monster) who is going off lately. He’s a back-to-the-basket beast who knows how to use his body and has great touch around the basket. He’s a rebounding machine and is going to be a huge mismatch for the Pack. He had 21 points and 11 boards in this one.
They also have the 7’4, 295lb Zach Edey who is averaging 15 points and 7 boards per game and put up 13 and 6 in this one.
So NC State is going to be severely overmatched in the middle. How Keatts deals with that will be interesting. Rutgers actually just played them straight up and as you can see by the final stats, they got handled down low and outrebounded 35-27 overall and 16-5 on the offensive glass. But they were willing to let this happen because they had another plan…
Take away the 3 ball
You really can’t double down because Purdue has so many weapons. They shoot 42% from 3…AS A TEAM! Note that Scott Wood shot about 42% for his NC State career. That’s how good they shoot it.
Now, they shoot it that well because most teams are forced to drop defenders down to help in the post, leaving the Purdue shooters wide open. And shooting 42% from 3, when no one is on you, is good, but not some amazing feat.
So Rutgers basically gambled on letting the bigs have their way, and did their best to take away the 3. They did this, forcing Purdue to shoot just 27% from long range.
Limit Jaden Ivey’s shots
Rutgers did a great job not allowing Ivey to shoot for real volume. They were on him as much as possible and made it very difficult for him to find his shot. Now, he’s an absolutely elite guard, so he will find his shot, but they did limit him to only 9 attempts (he was 5-9). The Boilermakers want Ivey to get about 13-17 shots. So Rutgers did a good job of keeping that volume low.
Share the basketball
One of the keys to Rutgers win was that they shared the ball. A lot. There was not a lot of one on one play and if NC State thinks they can do that against this Purdue team, they’ll get murdered. This is going to have to be the first game of the season where the Wolfpack really moves the basketball. Rutgers had 18 assists to Purdue’s 10.
Shoot the best you’ve ever shot
So all of this is great and all, but Purdue is going to score no matter what, so you’ll be forced to score with them. Rutgers is a lot like NC State in that they aren’t big and lumbering, and are more of a versatile team full of athletes and interchangeable pieces. However, they shot it SO well in this game.
The Scarlet Knights shot an insane 52% from the floor and 50% from 3 point range (7-14). They also had a 30 point game from their leader Ron Harper Jr (a 6’6 senior who can shoot).
So for NC State to replicate this here is the recipe:
- Don’t collapse down on the bigs, even though they are going to try to ram it down our throats.
- Be laser-focused on not allowing open 3 pointers. Again, not collapsing is key.
- Limit looks for Jaden Ivey and stop him in transition.
- Shoot lights out all night long from the floor and from the 3.
- They have great bigs and great guards, but they lack a versatile stopper for a guy like Seabron.
- You could see that in their inability to stop Ron Harper Jr.
- Have Morsell available and going at 100%. Have him lock down Ivey.
- Get great shooting games from Hellems, Hayes, and Smith.
- Somehow get Seabron off, even though the Purdue bigs are elite rim protectors
And really, that’s it. Pretty simple, right?
NC State’s NET Ranking After Defeating Maryland Eastern Shore
NC State defeated Maryland Eastern Shore 93-61 last night, improving to 6-2 on the season. Ironically, they fell one spot in the NET Rankings, from 51st to 52nd.
NC State’s two losses were against #1 BYU (!) and Ole Miss (#89). BYU was a Quad 1 loss, and Ole Miss was a Quad 2 loss.
The Wolfpack currently rank 7th in the ACC.
ACC Teams in NET Rankings
52) NC State
71) Virginia Tech
91) Boston College
105) Wake Forest
107) Florida St.
159) Georgia Tech
212) Notre Dame
For a refresher on how the NET Rankings are calculated:
Using the quadrant system, which was in its fourth season in 2020-21, the quality of wins and losses will be organized based on game location and the opponent’s NET ranking.
Quadrant 1: Home 1-30, Neutral 1-50, Away 1-75
Quadrant 2: Home 31-75, Neutral 51-100, Away 76-135
Quadrant 3: Home 76-160, Neutral 101-200, Away 135-240
Quadrant 4: Home 161-353, Neutral 201-353, Away 241-353
The number of Quadrant 1 wins and Quadrant 3/4 losses will be incredibly important when it comes time for NCAA tournament selection and seeding. (NCAA)
Kansas Transfer MJ Rice Makes Quite the Impression in his NC State Debut
We’ve seen a lot of new faces on the NC State Men’s Basketball team this season, but one face we haven’t seen yet is Kansas Transfer Guard/Forward M.J. Rice (6’5″/215)…until tonight.
Rice stepped away from the program for personal reasons earlier this Fall, and when he returned, he had a little catching up to do. It wasn’t until today during shoot around that Rice and Keatts both knew that tonight would be his debut.
“He’d been practicing for the last couple of weeks, and you know, I was just trying to figure out when he was ready. He and I, we talked a little bit after shoot around today and I said ‘MJ you ready to go tonight?'” said Kevin Keatts. “and he had this big huge smile on his face. He’s like ‘You sure you ready?’ He’s like ‘Ask me some plays.’ So he and I sit over there on the scores table at the Dale and we went over plays and I was like ‘You know what, you are ready to play.'”
Out of all the transfers Keatts brought in this offseason, Rice might have the highest ceiling. Rice was a 5-Star prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, and ON3 ranked him as the #24 overall prospect nationally. He committed to Kansas, where he played in 23 games for the Jayhawks as a Freshman in 2022, averaging 2.2 points in 7.6 minutes per game. Rice was a huge pickup in the Transfer Portal, ranked as the #2 player in the Portal, with three years of eligibility remaining.
Rice also isn’t new to the area either, playing high school ball at Durham Academy, before heading off to Oak Hill Academy and Prolific Prep.
In a short sample size, Rice gave us a glimpse of what the hype is all about tonight. He scored 11 points in 11 minutes of play, also grabbing 6 boards. Rice was 5-6 from the field, and hit the only three he took. In the most electrifying play of the night, Rice took it coast-to-coast, finishing with a soaring dunk.
“He gives us another dimension. We’ve been playing with six of our new dudes. Now we added the seventh and I’m happy for him. He’s going to help us. He’s going to be really good for us.” said Keatts. “I said this on the radio just now…we’ve got some older guys, but two really good young players in Dennis Parker Jr. and also MJ Rice. It was good for MJ to see the ball going in. I think he played 10 minutes had 11 points. He made a three. He had a big time dunk, so I was excited for him.”
“He gives us the ability to play a little bit more small ball. If we have to, we can play him and Dennis Parker both at the three and four. Really good defender at that position and can rebound the basketball,” said Keatts. “It’s going to take time. I’m trying to figure out how to kind of put him into the rotation, and now we’ve added another really good exciting piece to it, but it was good to have him back out there.”
Welcome to the Pack MJ! We’re glad you’ve arrived!
NC State 93 UMES 61: BOX SCORE
Pack Insider’s Highlight Reel of NC State’s Win Over BC
Ready to watch NC State’s Men’s Basketball team play in the ‘old barn’ tonight against Maryland Eastern-Shore? Well, until 7pm, go ahead and get yourself hype by watching Pack Insider’s Highlight Reel of the Wolfpack’s ACC opening win over BC this past Saturday. Check it out above.