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Wolfpack look to get back on track vs. Notre Dame | Preview, Breakdown and How to Watch

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NC State Wolfpack vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Time: Saturday, 3:00pm
Location: Raleigh, NC
TV: ACCN
Ken Pom Line: ND -1

NC State went back and forth with Notre Dame in the first half of their first meeting. They then jumped out to a 5 point lead to open the second half.

And then the wheels fell off.

Nate Laszewski scored 8 in a row and 11 of Notre Dame’s next 13 points. During that time didn’t score a single point. Meanwhile. Laszewski blocked a shot, got a steal, and took a charge. He took over the game.

By the time he came back to earth, the Irish were up 8. And guess what NC State lost by?

That’s right 8. The final score was 73-65.

So what happened and what is NC State going to do about Laszewski (who finished with a team-high 18)? Well, Laszewski didn’t score again after that flurry, and the reason is that Keatts decided to go small. See, Mike Brey moved Laszewski to the 5 and removed his main post presence, Atkinson. This forced the NC State bigs to guard Laszewski on the perimeter. Something they just could not do. Keatts played a lineup with Hellems as his center, and this neutralized Laszewski.

This game is going to be a chess match between the coaches. Brey (ND head coach) is going to want to try to get Laszewski in as center against the NC State bigs. Keatts will attempt to meet that with a smaller lineup. Brey will then bring in Atkinson to exploit NC State’s small lineup, and Keatts will respond by bringing his big back. Can Keatts keep up? Can Keatts make moves that will put Brey on his heels? Will he throw a zone at them?

The problem is, NC State is thin right now, so options are limited. Most nights, NC State is being forced to play. reactive, since honestly, they’re pretty one-dimensional (guard-oriented).

That said, this is going to be a close game and despite the difference in records, these teams match up really well.

KEYS TO THE GAME FOR NC STATE

Get Seabron, Smith and Hellems going.
Last time out vs. Notre Dame, Seabron and Hellems had good games, but Smith had maybe his worst of the season. He was 1-9 shooting, had 4 points and 4 turnovers (he did have 7 rebounds though). They need these 3 to play well to win this game.

more morsell…More Morsell…MORE MORSELL!!!
Man, we can’t stress this enough, the guy needs to play Seabron and Smith type minutes. Those guys get 35 to 38 minutes per game. Morsell is getting a lot (played 30 vs Syracuse), but that’s not enough. He’s too valuable to have on the bench for even those 5 extra minutes. He’s by far your best defender and he’s NC State’s best 3 point shooter (% wise). I’ll say that again, he is NC State’s best 3 point shooter this season. He is hitting 42.9% from 3. Hellems is second at 41.6%. So why would Morsell ever be out of the game unless it’s for a quick breather? The truth is, he can’t be and shouldn’t be. Because the guys you are bringing in for him, Hayes and Allen aren’t giving you close to the value. Hayes hasn’t hit a 3 for almost a month. And as we showed you, while he’s a good on-ball defender, he’s constantly lost in the team defensive scheme. Allen is hitting a few 3s here and there, but he also is a prime culprit for losing his man in the team defensive scheme. Neither one of these guys are providing more value than Morsell offensively, and neither of them are anywhere close to the defender he is (on or off-ball). So, I hate to call guys out like this, but it’s VERY clear at this point. When you take out Morsell, you’re immediately providing less value on both ends of the floor.

Will Breon Pass finally start claiming the minutes he’s earned vs. ND?
Ok, here is another thing I think (hope) you’re going to start seeing down the stretch. Breon Pass is going to get more minutes. He’s proving nightly that he deserves them. Since 12/29 vs. Miami, Pass has 10 assists and 4 turnovers. That’s a 2.5 Assist-to-Turnover ratio. That’s very good. In fact, most coaches say that an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3 is elite level. Pass is close.

During that same period Seabron has 43 assists and 32 turovers (1.34 Assist-to-Turnover ratio) and Cam Hayes has 23 assists and 18 turnovers (1.28 Assist-to-Turnover ratio).

See, it’s understandable that you’re living with Seabron’s lower ratio because you really can’t take Smith, Morsell or Hellems off the floor, and against most teams, you need a big. So Seabron gives you the best option at the point. He allows you to play your best lineup, and he is such a danger to get to the rim when he has the ball in his hands. He also is also leading your team in rebounds. So, yeah, he’s not coming out.

But what about Hayes or Allen? Why are those guys getting more minutes than Pass? Well, it seems to be a lineup thing. Pass needs to play PG when he comes in. That’s really the only place he fits. But then what do you do? Do you take out Hellems, Seabron, or Smith? You need those guys. I think Pass should be the first guy off the bench, and I think you’ll see more of him in this one as NC State may be forced to play a smaller lineup, moving Hellems to the 5, Seabron to the 4, Morsell to the 3, and Smith at the 2 with Pass at point.

Pass is doing a great job getting to the middle and kicking out. He’s also showing his ability to score, which was one of his best attributes in HS. And oh yeah, he’s a great, physical defender too. So, what’s the deal? It’s time to get Pass more run and I hope it starts in this game.

Limit the looks from 3
NC State ranks 327th nationally in defensive 3pt %. Meaning, they allow their opponents to shoot a higher percentage from 3 than 327 Division 1 teams. This is pretty sad, seeing as there are only 358 D1 teams overall. Why is this the case? Why do teams shoot so well vs. NC State?

It’s actually kind of crazy, seeing as NC State is really built to NOT allow this. They have a long, athletic, tall guards all over the floor. They should be a really tough team to get shots off against. That’s really how bad their defense has been. They are so out of position, so often, that teams constantly get open looks. Just look at the proof. We showed you how in the game vs Syracuse, 11 of the Orange’s 15 1st half FGs were a result of defensive mistakes by NC State.

So how do you clean this up? Well, here’s the bad news. It’s not going to be cleaned up this season. They need to adjust defensive strategy. In the short term, NC State could throw teams off rhythm by throwing in some zone. Confusing defenses with some matchup zone. Who knows, but man they gotta do something. This team is LAST in the ACC in eFG% defense, defensive efficiency, and defensive 3pt % (and they are 12th in the conference in defensive 2pt%). Everyone complains about the offense, but with the right lineup in there, that’s not the issue. The defense is what is killing NC State.

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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NC State Basketball

Kevin Keatts’ Postgame Press Conference After Butler Win: BULLETED

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Head Coach Kevin Keatts met with the media for his postgame press conference after NC State’s 76-61 win over Butler last night. You can watch it here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.

  • First of all, let’s talk about Butler a little bit.
    • Thad [Matta] has done a really good job everywhere he’s been.
    • We beat a good Butler team. They’re going to continue to grow. They’re going to continue to get better.
  • We played extremely hard, and I only say that because that’s part of our culture, but we were able to do that on Day 3, and that says a lot about this team.
  • Our young guys came in, played well, and gave us great minutes in Breon Pass, LJ Thomas, and Ernest Ross, and then I thought our veterans put us over the hump.
    • Dusan Mahorcic and Jack Clark were really, really good.
  • We’ve been led all weekend, really all year, by Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner, and when they didn’t have a huge scoring night, they found other ways to affect the game.
    • When you look at Terquavion, he had 5 assists and 1 turnover, and they all played on the defensive end.
  • I’m proud of my team. It’s a great tournament. It always has been.
    • You’re fortunate if you can get out of here with one win. Two is great, and then three is over the top.
    • I’m excited about our team as we continue to grow, and we’ll continue to get better.
  • I love our team. I try not to look too far head. We’re just going to continue to work.
    • My job with these guys is to get them locked into the next game.
    • I’ve learned just to lock in, be positive, and take it one game at a time, and that’s what we’ll do.
  • Well, everybody’s dangerous. What sparked me was that I watched Dayton and BYU, and it was a 23-point lead, and the lead was erased.
    • We’re all playing on tired legs, and if you can find a way to get through this, one of the blessings, even though we didn’t want to lose to Kansas, one of the good things about it was that we were able to play a 10 o’clock game tonight.
    • We got a little rest. It’s a great tournament because it prepares you for ACC, and it prepares you for the conference tournament, but it’s tough because you’ve got to play 3 great teams back-to-back-to-back.
  • I’m proud of Manny [Bates]. Manny’s a tremendous kid.
    • Obviously at NC State, he had some unfortunate injuries that slowed him down a little bit, but he’s a great kid and a really good basketball player.
  • I love the team that we put together. We hit it really good with the transfer portal, and we got good people that have connected off the court.
    • One of the things that helped us was taking a trip to the Bahamas in August. We were able to grow as a team.
    • Every coach’s challenge when you have so many transfers is trying to figure out how to develop chemistry early.
    • We’re a little ahead of the curve. We still have a long way to go in a lot of areas, but we’ve grown over the last 2 weeks.
  • You play Kansas, the defending National Champions, tough enough to win, and you don’t win the game, will there be a letdown over the next couple of days?
    • I don’t think we did. I thought we bounced back and beat 2 good teams, 2 good programs, by double-digits.
    • I learned a lot about my guys in how we respond.
    • Sometimes, it’s better to learn a lesson through a win. We learned a couple of lessons through the loss to Kansas, and we built on it.
  • We also have 2 very efficient post guys.
    • When you look up their stats, they can score the ball. D.J. Burns has had a good 2 days where he was unstoppable in the post. I thought he did some really good things.
    • Late in games, I wanted to play through our post guys. We talked about getting more paint touches instead of settling for 3’s.
    • When you look at tonight, we typically take anywhere from 25 to 35 three-pointers, and we only took 15, and a lot of that was because we wanted to establish our post guys.
    • Our post guys tonight took 21 shots.
  • I’m grateful he [Jack Clark] made the shot [big 3 to end scoring drought].
    • I thought the willingness to make the pass is the biggest one, because the tendency during scoring droughts is to step up and make the big shot.
    • The pass was just as good as the shot, but it was very important at the time.
    • I wouldn’t say we got tight, but we relied on our defense a little bit.
    • We got a little reckless with the basketball, but once we got our composure, we were able to make some plays.
  • We conducted ourselves as professionals.
    • We can make the argument that we played hard for 3 straight nights, and that’s hard to do.
    • I love what our guys are building. They’re starting to coach each other. They’re starting to reward each other. I think that’s big.
      • It’s going to help because you know you’re capable of doing it.
    • We used our bench a little bit more tonight than we did in the 1st couple of games, and I thought those guys really came in and made a positive impact for us.
  • We can have balanced scoring. I think everyone knows that we’ve got a really good set of guards, and I include Casey Morsell in that, that have led us in scoring all year long, but we’ve got some bigs that can really score the ball.
    • Our guys are really starting to understand that and get them in positions. It took a while for us to realize that, even though we love to run a lot of ball screens, we’ve got to roll this guys into the post and make sure we play off of them.
    • Also, the bigs are willing passers. You look at DJ, he made a couple of backdoor passes.
    • Dusan was very effective.
    • It’s really, really balanced when you have guard scoring and your post guys can score also.

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NC State Basketball

NC State 76 Butler 61: ACCDN Highlight Reel

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NC State’s Men’s Basketball team wrapped up an impressive showing down in the Bahamas last night, defeating Butler 76-61. You can check out the Box Score here. The ACC Digital Network’s Highlight Reel is below.

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NC State Basketball

Men’s Basketball: NC State 76 Butler 61: BOX SCORE

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The NC State Men’s Basketball team defeated Butler 76-61 tonight in the Bahamas, improving to 6-1. Below is the BOX SCORE.

The Wolfpack had 5 players score in double figures.

Once again, Point Guard Jarkel Joiner led the Pack in scoring, with 15 (4-11 FG).

Big fella DJ Burns was the player of the game for the Wolfpack, with 14 points, on 6 of 11 shooting from the field.

NC State’s other big man, Dusan Mahorcic, had 13 points (6-10 FG) and 6 rebounds.

What’s impressive about what Burns and Mahorcic did, is the fact they put up that kind of production against former Wolfpack Center Manny Bates.

Jack Clark chipped in 10 points (4-9 FG/2-4 3PT), and led the team with 8 rebounds and 3 steals.

Terquavion Smith had 10 points on yet another poor shooting night (4-14 FG), but he did lead the team with 5 assists (1 TO), and also snagged 5 rebounds.

The betting line was EVEN on this game, so it’s extremely impressive that NC State took the game by 15 points.

NC State out-rebounded Butler by 1, out shot the Bulldogs (44.6%/41.9%), had more assists (13/10), and scored 21 points off 14 Butler turnovers.

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NC State Basketball

NC State Players Celebrate By Planting Their Flag on UNC Logo and Saying: ‘UNC…What Happened???’

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The NC State Football Players had fun after beating their archrival UNC today, the Wolfpack took to the field with their flag in Chapel Hill.

Ben Finley, the 4th string Quarterback through much of the season, planted that bad boy in Kenan.

Safety Cyrus Fagan, as fiery as ever, was running the field with the flag.

Derrek Pitts, Jordan Houston and Devin Carter planted that flag right on the UNC logo at midfield.

You’ve got to love the sass of Nose Tackle Corey Durden taking a lap around the field waving bye to all the UNC fans.

Then the boys in the locker room trolled the Heels with this…UNC…WHAT HAPPENED?

 

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