Richmond comes into this game vs NC State with a 6-4 record.
The Spiders have early-season wins over Hofstra, Wofford, and Toledo, with notable losses to Maryland and Mississippi State.
They aren’t a team with great size or athleticism, but they do have shooters and a plethora of skill players. One guy who could be a matchup problem for the Wolfpack is junior forward Tyler Burton.
Burton is a 6’7 future pro. He’s got a great, physical build, weighing in at 215lbs. He is basically a big scoring guard who is shooting an elite 47% from long range. But this kid isn’t just a shooter, in fact he gets most of his buckets in other ways. Burton can face you up, put it on the floor and get to the hoop. Or he can back you down and score in the post. Here are some highlights..
NC State will likely use Jericole Hellems and Dereon Seabron to guard him. Hellems is also an undersized forward with guard skills. He’s not as athletic or versatile as Burton, but he’s close. Hellems comes in at 200lbs, so he’ll be giving up 15 pounds. However, Hellems best attribute is his ability to guard multiple types of players and he’s faced a few guys like Burton before. Meanwhile, Seabron on Burton may be a matchup Keatts likes, since Seabron is quicker and more athletic, potentially forcing Burton to try to do more of his damage inside.
Burton is averaging 18 ppg and almost 7 rebounds. He’s also shooting over 57% from the floor. Slowing him down is a key to NC State coming out with a win and NC State has options to do just that. Most teams don’t have a single guy that can slow down Burton. NC State has a physical option with Hellems or a more athletic option with Seabron. This is important to note since Richmond does not do a lot of ball screening for Burton, meaning whoever is on him, likely won’t be switching very much.
The other key will be guarding senior big man Grant Golden. Now, upon first glance, Golden shouldn’t be a problem. He’s 6’10, 255lbs, but he’s not very athletic. Guarding him will be Ebe Dowuona, who lately has come into his own and is 6’11 himself. However, Dowuona has struggled against guys like Golden. He’s one of those bigs who is crafty, knows how to use his body, and finishes well with both hands. He’s also a great passer and can shoot it if you leave him open. You can expect a lot of pump fakes and body bumps before he goes up from the block. Dowuona will have to be disciplined with his shot-blocking and his positioning against Golden. If he’s too quick to jump, he’ll find himself in foul trouble real fast.
At guard, the main guy NC State needs to key on is Jacob Gilyard. The 5’10 senior isn’t big, but he too is crafty and does a great job at setting up his teammates. Gilyard is averaging 12 points and 5.5 assists per game, all while turning the ball over less than 2 times per game.
The rest of Richmond is pretty underwhelming. They have 6’4 guard Nick Sherod who is a senior but only logs about 17 minutes per game. He can shoot it alright but isn’t going to take over a game. Then there is 6’7 senior forward Nathan Cayo. Cayo is more of a scrappy, garbage man. He’s undersized, can’t really shoot, but is very aggressive on the blocks. He’s averaging 7 points and 4.6 boards.
This is going to be a good matchup. In fact, Ken Pom has Richmond winning this one by 1 point. However, looking at the matchup, we think NC State has a slight advantage thanks to their size at guard.
Cam Hayes will have a serious height advantage, and with the way he likes to use his pull-up jumper, he should be able to find success against Gilyard. Meanwhile, Terquavion Smith will be a pivotal player for the Pack. Richmond doesn’t have a quality scoring guard and will likely use 6’0 Isaiah Wilson to guard Smith. If Smith is able to build off his performances over the past 2 weeks, he should be able to eat up Wilson both on drives and by shooting over him (Smith is 6’4).
The keys here on keeping Burton in check and not allowing Golden to catch it too deep. Dowuona struggled against Trevion Williams (Purdue) who is a better version of Golden but has the same style of play. Richmond holds the advantage inside, but NC State has done a good job at flustering opposing guards, and Richmond doesn’t have a big backcourt to throw over the top of the press. So, NC State will have the backcourt advantage.
Richmond also gets a lot of their points with back cuts, or with drive and kicks. They aren’t a ball screening team, so NC State needs to have their heads on a swivel and be aware that their guy screening could quickly be diving to the hoop if they aren’t careful.
How does this play out? We’ll have to wait and see, but Keatts will likely have the same gameplan ready that he used against Purdue. Take away the 3 ball and let them win it inside if they can. Richmond shoots a very good 38% from long range and hits about 10 3s per game. So taking that percentage down and limiting their volume from long range will likely dictate a lot. Doing that means their guards need to keep Richmond’s guards out of the paint, requiring help side to slide over.
Lastly, an area that NC State will have an advantage is with their length (everyone on the court is 6’3 or above). This is a big one. Richmond passes a lot. In fact, not much of their offense comes off dribble drives or post play. However, they haven’t faced a team as long and athletic as the Pack. Passing against a team as long as State is tough. The windows close quickly and weaving in a pass becomes a lot riskier. But State needs to make sure to not overlay, as the Spiders will be quick to expose that with a back door cut. Watch…
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.