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NC State Basketball

OUR TAKE: On NC State’s sloppy and uncomfortable 74-63 win over Elon

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NC State is 4-0. They beat Elon. But this one wasn’t pretty.

First off, Elon played a lot of zone vs. NC State, making it the first time NC State saw a team well-versed in zone, sit back and make the Pack shoot them out of it. Unfortunately, the Pack didn’t shoot all that great, and it kept the game close throughout. Is this a sign of things to come, or a great learning experience? Let’s take a closer look.

Here is ‘our take’…

– You might look at NC State’s first 4 games and see cupcakes, and you’re not wrong,  but really I’d like to applaud Keatts for the type of cupcakes he scheduled. Austin Peay was kind of a “Hey, let’s slaughter someone and get off on the right foot with this new roster.” Then you had Campbell, which is a local team who had this game scheduled and was invested in trying to knock off the Pack. So you get a less talented but motivated and feisty team, who just so happens to play a 5-out offense that gives you a look you likely won’t see during the regular season, but may run into in the post season. FIU was team that was going to play as physical as they can and not back down, and finally Elon, another local team that was going to be focused on knocking you off, but also going to throw a zone at you, a defense you might end up seeing a lot of this season. These were 4 winnable games that State won. No one is going to hold a parade for this run, but it was well structured, gave the new Pack roster a lot of variety to play against, and had them going up against a couple of pretty hungry teams. Well done, staff.

NC State tried to shoot Elon out of the zone. Unfortunately, Smith, Joiner, and company weren’t hitting enough to do that and that is going to be the case at times this season. The Pack has shooters, but playing against a zone doesn’t mean you should just be hacking it up. Players shoot a much higher percentage when catching a pass coming from inside, with their shoulder squared to the basket. After settling down they did a better job of getting Jack Clark and Dusan Mahorcic involved, which allowed them to hold off Elon. This is something that Keatts will focus on. This team likes to play fast, but against a zone you need patience and to work the ball inside before settling for an outside shot. You need to flatten out that zone and allow your shooters some space. State was only 11-33 from 3pt range.

NC State’s defense didn’t look great. I know they held Elon to the lowest % shooting of any team they’ve played this season at 38.3%. That said, NC State had more talent, length, and athleticism at every position, but they aren’t really able to exploit that because as a team they don’t lock down and play position defense. Like I’ve said a million times, this team gambles too much and goes for too many steals. It hurts them against these weaker teams, but at times it kills them against better opponents. I get that they want to create turnovers, but picking your spots to gamble yourself out of position is extremely important and this team seems to just throw caution to the wind and jumps everything.

NC State really needs Terquavion Smith to sure up his off-the-ball defense. And by sure up I mean learn how it even works. This is an absolutely glaring problem with his game. Run back the game and just watch Smith on defense. When he is in help-side he completely locks in on the ball and loses his man. This cost NC State 8 to 1o points in the second half alone. Almost all of those absolutely wide open buckets on the block that Elon was getting, most of the time those were on Smith. This kid is the best offensive weapon NC State has had in years. He’s a good on the ball defender. But, this type of stuff has to be cleaned up if State is going to be competitive. And for those of you at home wondering what I’m talking about. Remember when your coach told you to “see man and ball!” when you’re playing off the ball defense. This means keeping both in your peripheral view at all times. Positioning yourself so you can see both AT ALL TIMES. And if there is a off-the-ball switch, make sure it’s communicated LOUD. It’s not that hard. If you’re not doing it it’s because you don’t want to. It’s that simple.

-Jack Clark showed a little aggressiveness. He was 9-18 shooting and added 9 boards. Clark needed a game like this, but he still shot just 3-10 from 3pt range. He finished with 21 points. It was good to see Clark being a little more aggressive offensively. He’s a big piece to this team’s offense, but we haven’t really seen him push the issue lately. The shots will fall for him eventually, so he needs to keep shooting. But what was bigger was the fact that he was successful in playing in the middle of this zone.

– DJ Burns didn’t have a great game, and he’s just struggling right now, but usually, he’d be the type of guy who can fill some gaps in the zone and attack them from inside. They’ll need him if they’re going to beat Kansas, so you gotta hope the increase in competition kicks him into gear.

Ross, Pass, and LJ Thomas didn’t look great against the zone. Again, seeing this team play a zone was concerning. They looked sloppy and out of control and it didn’t allow them much depth. These guys didn’t look great against the zone, and if I’m playing NC State this year, this is something I key in on.

– State looked disinterested. Honestly aside from Morsell, Mahorcic, and at times Clark, State looked like they didn’t really feel like playing. Sure, it was kind of a trap game. Easy opponent before the big Kansas matchup. Opponent then lulled you to sleep using a zone. Made you frustrated and started forcing stuff. I get it. And at the end of the day, you walk away with the win. But you definitely hope these things are cleaned up soon, because good opponents will exploit them.

 

 

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Dof87
Dof87
3 days ago

Noon game today. I have no idea what to expect other than our team putting out full effort. As was said, if we hit a decent number of 3s and are respectable on the boards, we’ll probably have a shot.

Last edited 3 days ago by Dof87
40yrPackFan
40yrPackFan
4 days ago

I was at the game and noticed T not playing help defense. Mahorcic apparently also noticed and chewed his butt out while running back down court, then turned and gave him some more. I was thrilled, we have been defense optional for so long, it’s about time a player or coach demanded someone play defense. This team has a ton of potential, but only if they play as a team and on both sides of the ball.I like the new assistant coaches and new teammates, but the leader of the team has to lead.

Papajohn
Papajohn
4 days ago
Reply to  40yrPackFan

Nice!
These upperclassmen holding the younger players accountable could make a world of difference. Never under estimate the power of peer pressure.

Rev
Rev
3 days ago
Reply to  40yrPackFan

Your handle got me thinking. I have been a Pack fan for 53 years now. Definitely seen the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Anyway, I don’t think we have the horses to run and gun with Kansas, mainly because I still worry about rebounding…..

Rev
Rev
6 days ago

I know I have been consuming massive quantities of alcohol here in Key West, but Gantt wasn’t in the box score at all. did I miss something? Or did I kill those brain cells?

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Dof87
Dof87
6 days ago
Reply to  Rev

I believe Gantt still isn’t back to 100% game shape yet.

Rev
Rev
6 days ago

All of us saw it and PI just confirmed the defensive flaws and offensive difficulty with the zone. Of course the coaches saw it,too. Let’s hope this new staff is better at fixing things, and quickly.

Papajohn
Papajohn
6 days ago

Really appreciate this generally positive take. This is where PI shines. Great analysis on T Smith’s defense. I noticed it as well, but hadn’t realized that so many of those defensive lapses were caused by him. I’m really surprised DJ hasn’t played better than he has. Based on what we are seeing in the games, the decision to start Dusan (which initially I was surprised about) was an easy call for the coaches. They both like to play physical so we’re probably going to need all of those 10 fouls. We need to see that POY start showing up in… Read more »

Last edited 6 days ago by Papajohn
Dof87
Dof87
6 days ago

Glad we scheduled a zone team to give us some good game film to work with.

Now we have to focus and ratchet up intensity. We can be the feisty underdog this time.

Last edited 6 days ago by Dof87
Rev
Rev
6 days ago
Reply to  Dof87

Good point. Let’s see how these guys respond as the (God I hope they’re feisty) underdog.

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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