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LOVED IT, HATED IT: From NC State’s loss to FSU



Here we go again! I’m back with another installment of “Loved it, Hated it” where I go off on the 3 things I loved and the 3 things that got my panties in a wad.  That said, let’s get into it.

3 Things I LOVED about NC State’s loss to FSU

1. Keatts changing up the lineup and going with Seabron as PG
Does Keatts read my columns? This was exactly what I proposed prior to the game and some of you took to Twitter to criticize my take. That group since has gone pretty silent. Cam Hayes played 14 minutes in this one, and Seabron spent a majority of the game at point. How did that play out? Well, Seabron did exactly what I told you he’d do. He dominated the ball, got into the lane, and made plays, finishing with 32 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds. You can argue that NC State wins this game if Keatts didn’t switch back to Cam at point about 7 minutes into the game. Seabron took back over at point later in the first half and never looked back. The changing of the guard has literally taken place, and NC State suddenly looks a lot more dangerous because of it.


2. Terquavion Smith continues scoring at an insane rate
The freshman was at it again, this time scoring 23 points on 8-15 shooting and 7-13 from 3 point range. Smith is now averaging 19 ppg over the past 7 contests. He’s shooting 41% from 3 over that span (note that Scott Wood shot 41% for his career.) In this one, he set a new record for himself with those 7 3s. A lot of that was thanks to getting open looks due to Seabron driving, drawing and dishing to Smith who was spotting up on the corners and from the wing all night long. Smith continues his pace to become the top freshman scorer for NC State over the past 20 years.


3. Thomas Allen carving out minutes + Pass getting it going
Allen was MIA for the first portion of the season. Maybe it was because he was passed over by the freshman Smith for minutes. Who knows, but with Hayes and Morsell struggling and Seabron moving to the point, Allen now is going to get his chance. In this one, he showed that he’s ready for the moment. Allen looked good, scoring 9 points in 32 minutes and only turned the ball over once.

Meanwhile, the same situation has also opened up minutes for the freshman Breon Pass. Pass was an elite scorer in high school, but hasn’t been able to showcase that ability at this level. Slowly but surely, he’s coming around. Pass played just 9 minutes, but he maximized that time with 5 points, 1 assist and 4 rebounds (with just 1 turnover).



3 Things I HATED about NC State’s loss to FSU

1. Kevin Keatts taking a timeout with 8 seconds left and Seabron streaking
C’mon Keatts! I’ve given you the benefit of the doubt and the rest of the guys at PI have unanimously backed you up over the past few seasons, but we can’t overlook this blunder.

State was down by 2 with 11 seconds left. FSU’s Matthew Cleveland was shooting his second free throw. I turned to my buddy and said, if he misses this, you get it to Seabron and you let him fly down the court and get to the rim. Look, it doesn’t take a genius to see that was your best chance to tie the game up. But for some reason, Keatts wasn’t on the same page.

Cleveland missed the FT and State got the ball to Seabron. He took off and had a full head of steam as he approached halfcourt. Florida State was scrambling on defense, and it looked like we had the situation we wanted. Then Keatts calls a timeout.

What? Why? First off, State has been piss poor at inbounding the basketball this season in pressure situations. They also have had a trend of coming out of timeouts with subpar results. So why in the world is Keatts going to walk us right into this situation?

I mean, what play are you going to call? You’re going to get it to Seabron, clear it out and let him make a play? But, we already had that happening. I could understand if someone else had the ball and Keatts wanted to make sure the final shot was taken by Seabron, but Seabron already HAD THE BALL and the defense wasn’t set.

This was just a blunder and a mistake. Hindsight is 20/20, so you had to bet Keatts was going to admit to the mistake in the post-game. No way he’d stand by that decision, right?


I know some people believe Florida State was back, and if you freeze-frame it you can make that argument, but watch it in real-time.

Seabron has a guy on his hip and the defender waiting is back peddling. But regardless, the timeout was being called well before he hit half-court. I don’t care how you spin it, the guy is 12-14, has 32 points, and you only have 8 seconds left. Trust your guy. Don’tt try to over-coach in this situation. You won’t convince me otherwise. This was a big-time coaching blunder.


2. Defense is active, but poor
This team plays hard, no doubt. They are always giving effort on the defensive end. The problem is, they aren’t very smart defensively. The guards, outside of Morsell, are constantly getting beat off the bounce, and the interior defense just doesn’t exist.

I know, I know. Bates would change everything. But he’s not here and we have who we have. You can not let guys get into the lane. Dowuona is a decent shot blocker, but against a team as big and long as FSU, he can’t do much. He doesn’t have elite timing like Bates, and he has no one backing him up, so he can’t get into foul trouble.

FSU shot 50% from the floor. That comes on the heels of Miami shooting 55% against us. You just aren’t going to win many games when your opponent is shooting at or over 50%. This is on the guards who need to stop reaching, get down in a stance and stay between their man and the rim. Go back and watch Casey Morsell’s on the ball defense. That’s how it’s done. He’s not quicker or faster than the rest of the guards, he just is more disciplined on the defensive end and understands positioning. It’s fixable, so when will it be fixed?

3. Hellems still not himself. 
What happened to Jericole? The guy was such a dependable scorer last year, and he’s had games where he’s shown glimpses of that player this year, but it’s a crap shoot with him this year. He looked great vs. Miami, scoring 24 points. But vs. FSU, he played 24 minutes and only scored 8 points. Heck, he only shot 4 shots. I know Seabron was dominating the ball and was super efficient in doing so, but Hellems had his opportunities. He just doesn’t seem like himself in 1/2 the games. This has to change. Hellems has got to be State’s 2nd or 3rd best scoring option. If he’s not, this team is sunk.

A pasta eatin', Wolfpack lovin' loudmouth from Raleigh by way of New Jersey. Jimmy V and Chuck Amato fanboy. All opinions are my own and you're gonna hear'em.

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2 years ago

Rebounding and fouls are killing us. This was true all game, not just the last few minutes or seconds.

2 years ago

Agree. Also felt like offensive rebounds were abysmal as well. How many times would FSU’s ball rim, only to be rebounded by FSU, only to rim out again, be rebounded by FSU yet again, and finally on the third shot, FSU makes a basket.

2 years ago
Reply to  Afterglow

Great to hear from you buddy! Ok you too Joey.
I am gonna have to move to Colorado or another state with legal weed if I am going to watch much more Bball this year. Anyone know why Ross got zero minutes?

Pack Insider Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  Rev

No answer on Ross. At this point, we feel it’s time to move on from Gibson. Ross has big upside and it’s hard to understand why he’s not first off the bench behind Dowuona.

2 years ago
Reply to  Rev

Good to hear from you too. Both of you.

NC State Basketball

Here is the 2024 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament Bracket



The bracket for the 2024 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament is here. The 10th ranked NC State is the #2 seed in the tournament, and their first game will be on Friday at 5pm on ACC Network.


The Wolfpack will play the winner of the Duke (7 seed) vs. Georgia Tech (10 seed)/Pitt (15 seed).

NC State defeated Pitt 83-47 on February 11th, and they defeated Georgia Tech 86-85 on February 18th.

The Wolfpack lost to Duke 58-69 on February 25th. NC State entered the game as 1.5-point favorites, but ended up losing in enemy territory.

Georgia Tech defeated Pitt 68-58 on January 7th. Duke defeated both Georgia Tech and Pitt this season, defeating the Yellow Jackets 84-46 on January 14th, and the Panthers on 69-38 on February 1st.

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NC State Basketball

There is Reason to be Frustrated



If you are an NC State fan, it’s only reasonable that you’re frustrated with the state of the Men’s Basketball program.

Under Kevin Keatts, NC State has gone to the NCAA Tournament twice in 7 seasons. The Wolfpack didn’t win a game in the Big Dance in either of those appearances.

Keatts has led NC State to a 3-5 record in the ACC Tournament, failing to reach the semifinals a single time.

You could make an argument that his first season in Raleigh was his best (I don’t think it was), because the Wolfpack finished 5th in the ACC, which is the highest the team has finished in the conference under his watch.

2017-18 – 5th
2018-19 – 8th
2019-20 – 6th
2020-21 – 9th
2021-22 – 15th
2022-23 – 6th
2023-23 – 9th (currently)

Average finish: 8.3

(For context, in 6 seasons, Mark Gottfried’s average finish was 8.7.)

Over the past 7 seasons, NC State has been ranked in the Top-25 in only 8 polls (2 separate seasons), with the highest being on January 7th, 2019, when the Wolfpack were ranked 15th.

Under Gottfried, NC State was ranked in 13 polls (all one season). With Herb Sendek at the helm, the Wolfpack were ranked in the Top-25 in 5 different seasons, in a total of 35 polls.

Do I think Kevin Keatts is the worst coach at NC State in recent memory? No, that award goes to Sydney Lowe. In all reality, NC State’s record overall and in conference play is nearly identical under Keatts, as it was under Mark Gottfried and Herb Sendek.

Kevin Keatts – 58.3/48.3
Mark Gottfried – 58.9/45.3
Herb Sendek – 59.1/45.0

What’s the difference between Keatts and the other two?

A couple of observations.

Sendek finished his time at NC State with 5 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, and Gottfried started off his tenure with 4 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. The Wolfpack advanced to the 2nd round 3 times, and the Sweet 16 once under Sendek. Under Gottfried, they advanced to the 2nd round twice.

Sendek led NC State to the ACC Championship game 3 times (in 10 years), and the semifinals 4 times. Gottfried led the Wolfpack to the semifinals on 3 occasions. Heck, Sidney Lowe led NC State to the ACC Championship game once, and the semifinals on another occasion.

Is the NC State Men’s Basketball program worse off under Keatts than it was under the previous coaches? If you simply look at total wins and losses, that’s not necessarily the case, but when you look at the Wolfpack’s production in postseason play, there is no other answer besides ‘yes.’

Every now and then you have to be willing to eat crow. Years ago, I was of the opinion that Herb Sendek needed to go. Do I think that Sendek would have brought NC State back to where it was in the 80’s? I didn’t think it then, and I’m not certain my opinion on that has changed, but the past 20 years has proven to me that the grass isn’t always greener.

Call me nostalgic, but from a historical perspective, I believe NC State fans have right to expect their Men’s Basketball program to be successful…to consistently be ranked in the Top-25…to finish in the top half of the ACC…compete for conference championships…and go to the Big Dance on a regular basis.

There is reason to be frustrated.

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NC State Basketball

Madison Hayes Will Be Returning for Her Final Year of Eligibility in 2024-25



Last night NC State Guard Madison Hayes was honored on Senior Night, but she also announced that she would be returning in 2024-25 for her final year of eligibility. She was honored alongside Center River Baldwin and Forward Mimi Collins, who are both out of eligibility after this season.

Hayes is in the midst of a breakout season this year, averaging 11.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, which are both career highs. She ranks 3rd on the team in scoring, behind the other two Guards in the starting lineup, Aziaha James and Saniya Rivers, who will also be back in 2024-25. Even though she is a Guard, Hayes leads the Wolfpack in rebounding. Her 44.1% Field Goal Percentage is the best of any of the Wolfpack Guards, and her Three Point Percentage of 41.7% is the best on the squad.

As a Senior in high school, Hayes was named a McDonald’s All-American in 2020, and she earned a spot on the All SEC Freshman team in 2021 as a member of Mississippi St. In 2021-22, she transferred to NC State, and played in 26 games off the bench, but earned a spot in the starting lineup last season.

Big news for the Wolfpack Women’s Basketball program!


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NC State Basketball

NC State 64 #9 Duke 79: BOX SCORE



#9 Duke defeated NC State 79-64 in PNC Arena this evening. With one game remaining for the Wolfpack in the regular season, they are now 17-13 overall, and 9-10 in ACC play. Below is the Box Score.

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