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GAMEDAY PREVIEW: NC State vs. Richmond | Keys to the Game and How to watch



NC State Wolfpack vs Richmond Spiders
Time: 6:30pm
Location: Spectrum Center, Charlotte
Line: Richmond -2


NC State comes in surprisingly as underdogs in this one. I bet you’re wondering how that’s possible. NC State is 7-3, coming off a OT loss to the #1 team in the country, while Richmond is 6-4 without a real quality win and losses to Utah State and Drake.

Is Vegas making a big mistake? Do they know something we don’t know?

Well, it’s likely going to be a close game if you look at the stats and understand that Richmond runs a spread offense (a version of. the Princeton). They do a lot of passing, a lot of back door cutting, and a lot of driving in an empty lane, drawing defenses down, and kicking it out. This is why yesterday, Joey Wolferetti called this ‘the ultimate trap game for NC State.’

Facing a spread offense

If you’ve watched NC State, you know that defending an offense like this has been a weak spot. The last time they faced a spread offense was against Colgate, who took NC State to the brink before losing by 3.

The problem NC State has with teams like this is that they aren’t built to defend them. The Pack is built for ACC play. Big, long guards, stretch forwards who can guard multiple positions. NC State has a lot of success against bigger teams, because the way they switch every screen keeps guys covered and mismatches to a minimum.

This style of play doesn’t really work well against teams that don’t run many ball screens and like to spread the floor. Richmond is kind of a hybrid team, in that they have some size and athleticism, but still play a spread Princeton-style offense. This is a problem for NC State.

An ‘on the fly’ change in defensive strategy

The Wolfpack guards are used to playing up on their guys, taking away shots, and risking the drive, knowing they are funneling the ball handler into the lane where they will be greeted by a lot of traffic and a high-end shot blocker. The only problem is that when the floor is spread, there is not traffic in the lane and there is no shot-blocker waiting. This means that help-side defenders need to pinch in to cut off the drives, leaving shooters open from beyond the arc.

The answer seems simple. Stay in front of your man at all costs. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. The entire philosophy of NC State’s defense needs to change. They need to, in a way, forget everything they were taught, stop overplaying and focus less on deflections and more on positioning. This is not an easy transition for 18 and 19-year-olds, many of whom only understand team defense from the perspective of the strategy they were taught since stepping on campus.

The onus of making this happen is going to fall on guys like Cam Hayes, Terquavion Smith, and Casey Morsell. These are the guys who are going to be guarding the Richmond guards. And while they will have a huge advantage in height, they’ll have a bit of a disadvantage in quickness.

The Richmond guards are small and fast, and unlike most ACC guards, these guys are driving to the lane, not to score, but to create havoc, move the defense and find open shooters.

Stay between your man and the basket.

If NC State wants to win this game, the #1 thing they need to focus on is keeping their defender in front of them. This means giving a bit of a cushion to Jacob Gilyard (5’9 PG). Hayes will have 6 inches on him, so he’ll need to be disciplined in not pushing up too much and encouraging the drive. His length will make it tough for Gilyard to get open looks off the bounce, even when giving him some cushion, and he’ll need to remember this. At the end of the day, if lose, you want to lose with Gilyard hitting contested 3’s over a defender with a 6-inch advantage.

Off the ball, State needs to be subscribed to the same strategy. Give cushion. Usually, Keatts wants his guys in passing lanes, jumping passes or pushing to get deflections. That plays right into Richmond’s hands. The backdoor cut is a pressure valve. When NC State overplays, they cut behind them for an easy bucket. This isn’t the game to try to stay in the passing lane. NC State will take Richmond out of their offense, and in turn, out of the game if they are laser-focused on staying between their man and the basket, both on the ball and off the ball.

Again, NC State needs to come into this game acknowledging that they are willing to lose if Richmond is going to hit contested shots over defenders. The fact is, with the Pack’s size and length, the odds of Richmond doing that is low. They don’t have the personnel to rely on that, and they haven’t been successful trying to do that all season.

However, if the Pack doesn’t adjust to their style of play, then they are going to be playing right into the Spider’s wheelhouse. Richmond was built to beat teams like NC State, and if they’re not careful they’ll be walking right into their web.

NC State Basketball

NC State’s Ebe Dowuona Enters Transfer Portal



NC State Junior F/C Ebe Dowuona has entered the transfer portal, with two years of eligibility remaining.

This year, Ebe played in 30 games, averaging 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 10.9 minutes per game. As a Sophomore, after the injury to Manny Bates in the first game of the season, Dowuona went on to start in 27 of the 31 games he played in, averaging 4.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

I’m not shocked. I don’t blame Dowuona for wanting to find a place where he would get more playing time.

Nonetheless this is a hit to the Wolfpack’s front court. While he didn’t offer much on the offensive end, he continually altered shots on the defensive end.

Ernest Ross will be a Junior next year, and fans will likely get to see Freshman Isaiah Miranda for the first time after redshirting after arriving to Raleigh midseason. Greg Gantt will be a Redshirt Junior next season as well.

Other questions loom for the Wolfpack front court as well. Will DJ Burns and Jack Clark return for their final year of eligibility? Will Dusan Mahorcic be granted a medical waiver for an additional year of eligibility?

Time will tell.

We wish Ebe all the best!

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NC State Ranked in Top-25 in Men’s Basketball Attendance in 2022-23



When it was all said and done, the NC State fans represented in 2022-23, ranking 20th amongst Division-1 teams in Men’s Basketball attendance. The Wolfpack ranked 4th in the ACC, behind UNC, Syracuse, and Virginia.


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NC State Basketball

Wolferetti: Feed me my crow. NC State lost to Creighton and I’m here to break it down (and admit I was wrong)



I was wrong.

I thought this matchup was a good one for NC State. I watched a lot of Creighton this year and to me, they looked like a team that NC State could roll over. Let me explain why.

I knew a few things. I knew Nembhard was a PG that could get a little out of control if sped up. I knew with a little defense and physicality, Sheierman could be made uncomfortable. I knew Kalkbrenner was a good defender but was going to sink on the pick-and-roll to protect the basket.

Joiner’s pull up just wouldn’t fall

I figured that Joiner, the pull-up king would be taking that DJ Burns screen, getting to the middle, and pulling up as Kalkbrenner sank. I figured Smith would exploit this as well. Well, turns out Joiner was off and couldn’t get his pull-up game going and Smith, well yeah Smith did exploit this pretty well.

Burns didn’t look like Burns

The other thing I’d figure would happen is that I thought DJ Burns would really frustrate Kalkbrenner. If you’ve looked at games where Kalkbrenner had to face a really good, physical back-to-the-basket big man, those bigs usually had pretty good games in the scoring column.  I honestly don’t understand what happened to Burns in this one. Sure he got a few stupid early fouls, but before he even picked up a foul he looked out of it. With no double teams coming, Burns is usually calculated, slowly backing you down and hitting you with a flurry of head fakes, pump fakes or spins. If the big doesn’t bite, Burns can fade away, go with a contested hook shot, or pass out.

In this game, Burns looked sped up for some reason. The first time he got the ball he quickly backed in and threw up a hook that rattled out. Not awful, but usually you see him probe a little more. Then the next time he didn’t even look for contact, instead, he threw up a little floater that didn’t fall. While neither were awful shots, both were uncharacteristic of Burns. On top of those things, he looked absolutely gassed within minutes of coming in. My guess is that it was the altitude, but either way, it took a toll on him.

Whatever it was, it had him frustrated and he had two really bad fouls where he just shoved Kalkbrenner (he also had a phantom foul that was ridiculous). That said, it just wasn’t his night and this made NC State a lot more one-dimensional.

Casey Morsell came to play, but this NC State roster just wasn’t built to get a guy like him going, which is a shame. Jarkel Joiner was a huge reason why NC State got to where they got. His scoring ability, his speed and his toughness and leadership skill were huge. But Joiner is a scoring guard, and great basketball teams need POINT guards.

What is a point guard, and why can’t we have one?

A point guard isn’t just a guy who dribbles it down. It’s a guy who understands the games within the games. Guys who dictate pace, call plays (sets) and are essentially coaches on the floor. NC State and Kevin Keatts never had that this season, and while you can get a long way with scoring guards and good big men, you’ll never compete for anything of worth until you prioritize the skill set of a true point guard. I think that has been NC State’s problem for years, and I find it kind of insane that coach after coach falls into this idea of having a scoring guard play as a PG for more offense to get on the court.

This is no shot at Jarkel, either. The guy was one of my favorite players to watch on this team, but it just is what it is. He is a scoring guard who happens to be slotting in at PG. When you see Keatts bring in a guy whose priority is getting his guys open and dictating pace, then you can start to believe that this program may be close to arriving. Until then, sneaking into the tournament and hoping guys get hot hands is as good as it gets.

Look at Kihei Clark (Virginia’s PG). I know it’s not a great time to be talking about Clark, whose errant pass ended up losing the game for Virginia on Thursday, but look at Clark’s build.5’10, 170lbs. Look at his stats. Mid-30s shooting % from 3. Hight 70s from the FT line. The guy is nothing special when it comes to the numbers, but he’s a leader and he distributes the basketball to the right guys at the right time. Tony Bennett has started Clark for 4 years despite the fact that he’s coaching a team that is always in the running to win the ACC and won a national championship less than 5 years ago.  He could replace Clark with an elite, tall, athlete at any moment. But he doesn’t. Why? Because he understands what I’m talking about. It’s a puzzle that coaches need to put together, and one piece of that puzzle is a guy like this.

I was wrong about this game. I thought things would play out differently. They didn’t. I’m not blaming anyone in particular, but the makeup of this team vs. the makeup of teams that play deep into March are different. Maybe this is step one to getting there. We’ll have to see how the roster shapes up next season.

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NC State Basketball

VIDEO: NC State falls to Creighton 72-63 in first round of NCAA Tournament | Extended Highlights & Box Score

NC State came out flat, DJ Burns looked gassed, and for the most part, the Pack looked shell-shocked vs. Creighton from the opening tip. However, Terquavion Smith is excluded from all of that. He was amazing and in what was likely his final game at NC State, he kept the Pack afloat, dropping 32 points on 12-25 shooting. In the end, it wasn’t enough as their big man, 7’1 Ryan Kalkbrenner went for 31.



NC State came out flat, DJ Burns looked gassed, and for the most part, the Pack looked shell-shocked vs. Creighton from the opening tip. However, Terquavion Smith is excluded from all of that. He was amazing and in what was likely his final game at NC State, he kept the Pack afloat, dropping 32 points on 12-25 shooting. In the end, it wasn’t enough as their big man, 7’1 Ryan Kalkbrenner went for 31.

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