NC State athletics has been on a roll with their content recently. Over the past few weeks, they’ve been releasing a series called ‘Thundercats’ which is an interview series where Wolfpack Football’s strength coach, Dantonio ‘Thunder’ Burnette’s kids sit down for a Q&A session with some of the football team’s biggest stars.
And it’s not just football. Now, they’ve started releasing a series titled ‘Get to know the Wolfpack’ where they ask a series of personal questions to some of the basketball players.
Get to know your Wolfpack! 📝 pic.twitter.com/KiTaOfoDfb
— NC State Men’s Bball (@PackMensBball) August 30, 2022
Again, this is great content. The goal here is to create interest in the players and by doing that, fans create a closer relationship with the team. Humanizing players (and marketing them) at the college level is something that teams have started doing a lot more of in the past few years and NC State has been one of the programs really capitalizing on that lately.
With that aside, let’s take a look at a few of the tidbits we found interesting.
Casey Morsell: His season motto of “The Journey is the Reward” is rather fitting. This is a guy who started his career at Virginia, started as a freshman, but slumped and was forced to the bench. With transfer rules loosened two years ago, Morsell decided to change course and head to NC State where it seems he’s revitalized his career. He’s now a major piece to this year’s NC State squad and is being looked to for his leadership skills and his defensive prowess.
Another interesting takeaway is that Morsell lists his hidden talent as ‘computer programming’ and in his off-time enjoys doing puzzles and playing tennis. Pretty darn well-rounded if you ask me!
Breon Pass: His season motto is “one day at a time” which again, makes sense. This is a kid who was a 4-star recruit and struggled a bit last season to transition to the ACC level. He had some really bright moments, but it was clear that he’d need an off-season of building up his body and improving his craft before we really got to see what he’s capable of.
Meanwhile, in his free time, Breon says he’s a skilled cook and wants to remind everyone that he’s still good at football. (Note that he was a highly recruited football prospect as well!)
LJ Thomas: The freshman hasn’t even played a game at NC State yet, and he isn’t someone people are talking much about, but the kid is good. He was the #4 ranked player in NC last year and he’s got a college-ready body, a nice jump shot, and a solid handle. He too says his hidden talent is cooking, and like most kids his age, he likes to spend his downtime playing NBA 2k (video game) and hanging out.
Ebe Dowuona– The narrative lately has been that NC State has recruited over Ebe Dowuona after a season where the Pack was beaten pretty bad in the paint all season long. However, it’s good to note that Ebe barely played as a freshman and was thrust into a starting role last year when Bates went down. I don’t think it’s safe to write off Dowuona. This is a guy who could see things click soon. He’s a talented shot blocker and has built up his body this off-season. It will be interesting to see if his back-to-the-basket play advances with an off-season of work. That seems to be the thought process of Dowuona himself, who isn’t looking to give up his minutes in the paint that easily. His season motto of “My Turn” suggests that he’s ready now and wants to show Wolfpack nation what he’s capable of. He lists God in his “things he loves” section and says his hidden talent is soccer. His favorite quote is “Rule your mind or it will rule you” which suggests that this is a kid who is focused, driven, and understands that this is the season for him to take control of his destiny.
We’re looking forward to more of these, and will make sure to share them when they’re posted.
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.