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Wolfpack look to build momentum vs Irish | Preview, Breakdown and How to Watch

NC State Basketball

Wolfpack look to build momentum vs Irish | Preview, Breakdown and How to Watch

Wolfpack look to build momentum vs Irish | Preview, Breakdown and How to Watch

NC State Wolfpack vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Time: 9:00pm
Location: Notre Dame, IN
Line: ND -5

NC State visits Notre Dame tonight to take on an Irish team that has won 5 of their last 6 games and find themselves just half a game out of first place in the ACC.

The Irish use a well-balanced offensive attack, relying on good ball movement and great 3 point shooting. They rank 2nd in the ACC in 3pt % at 37.5% as a team.

Leading them is Dane Goodwin, a 6’6 junior who can light it up (15.2ppg). He’s leading the ACC, shooting an insane 48% from long range. They also have an emerging star in Blake Wesley, a 6’5 freshman who is averaging 15 points per game and coming off a 22 point performance vs Louisville.

Goodwin is most effective when catching and shooting, but he can put it on the floor and go to the rim as well. He’s not very athletic, but defenses are forced to play him close because of his ability to shoot. This allows him to shot fake, and get a step going to the rim.

Wesley is a lot like Dereon Seabron. He’s long, athletic, and loves to get to the rim. He’s a better shooter than Seabron, hitting 32% from long range, but he’s not quite as physical, or slippery on his way to the rim. However, Wesley is just hitting his stride and will be looking to keep it going tonight. He’s been a matchup nightmare for teams, but NC State has the size and length to match up well with him.

In the paint, the Irish have Paul Atkinson Jr. (6’9 senior) who is averaging 11ppg and 6 boards. They also have Nate Laszewski (6’10 junior) who is averaging 8 points and 7 boards. Atkinson is more of a prototypical big who likes to post up, while Laszewki can either post up or step out and hit 3s.

Having two bigs is going to be a problem for the Pack who are going to have Dowuona and Hellems guarding them. These guys can also pass well, meaning throwing double teams at them won’t be a great strategy, especially with ND’s shooters.

At point guard is Prentiss Hubb, who runs the show and averages 8 points and 3.5 assists.

Notre Dame is likely to show NC State a lot of zone to slow down Seabron and force the Pack to beat them from beyond the arc.

Keys to the Game

– Shoot it well. As we noted, the Irish is likely to throw a good bit of zone at NC State. This will slow down Seabron and force the Pack to take a lot of 3s. Keatts teams have done a good job historically against zones, as they don’t just hoist up contested 3s. Instead, Keatts likes to get the ball into the high post to Hellems. From here he can either attack or find open shooters. But those shooters need to be hitting. Knocking down a few early 3s will force ND to go back to man, which is where Seabron can get going.

– Hellems is huge. Hellems has been hot lately and he’s going to need to keep that trend going if State wants to walk away with this road win. With ND likely to challenge NC State with some zone, Hellems is going to be the point man at the high post. He’ll have some open shots from the free throw line that he’ll need to knock down early. This will force ND to pull their bigs up and challenge him, leaving the blocks open for dump downs. If they pinch him with guards, this will open up 3s. Hellems needs to play big to pull the Irish out of their zone.

– Slow down the Notre Dame bigs. NC State is going to have a matchup problem with either Laszewski or Atkinson Jr. Dowuona matches up better with Atkinson, who won’t beat you on the perimeter, but that leaves Hellems having to guard Laszewski who is 6’10 and will have the advantage on the blocks. If Dowuona guards Laszewki to limit easy buckets in the post, Hellems has to body up with Atkinson Jr. who is bigger and stronger down low. There’s not a great answer here for NC State. Doubling down will leave shooters open, and ND WILL knock those down. So Keatts is going to have to get creative if he wants his team to come out victorious in this one.


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3 months ago

You tube TV does not show this game on ACCN tonight. It has FSU at GaTech at 9pm. ???

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