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NC State ready for first test vs #3 Kansas | Player by Player matchups and How to Watch

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NC State Wolfpack vs. Elon Phoenix
Time: 12:00 PM
Location: Bahamas (Battle 4 Atlantis)
TV: ESPN
Line: KU by 9

Point Guard Matchup

Dajuan Harris Jr – Junior – 6’1, 175lbs
Harris is a true point guard. He’s quick, he’s got a great handle, and he’s always looking to set his teammates up. Last year he averaged just 5 points per game and scored just 6 against Duke a week ago, so he’s not a guy who is going to light you up (he’s shooting just 14% from 3 this year), however, he did dish out 10 dimes vs Duke. He’s a good defender and a good game manager. He sets the tone for the Jayhawks.

How he matches up with Jarkel Joiner: Harris and Joiner will likely match up, and honestly, it should be a good one. Joiner is a 5th-year senior and comes in at 6’1, 180 lbs. These guys are the same size, both lightweight quick, and both can mix it up and get physical on drives. Harris is more of a distributor, while Joiner is more of a scoring threat. I don’t see a clear advantage for either player here, so this should be a pretty even matchup.

Shooting Guard Matchup

Kevin McCullar JR – Senior 6’6, 210lbs
You might remember McCullar from that nice run Texas Tech made last season. He was one of their top players and now he’s transferred to KU. This guy is a very athletic, slippery guard who has a nice touch and can really put up points quickly when he’s on. He can also get lost in the shuffle at times, He scored just 5 points vs Southern Utah and 6 points vs. North Dakota State. However, he did drop 12 on Duke. He’s not a great 3-point shooter, but he’s big and he’s a very good slasher and finisher at the rim.

How he matches up with Terquavion Smith
Smith is 6’4, 165 lbs, so he’s going to be giving up some size to McCullar, but Smith is certainly the better overall player here. McCullar is a good, long defender so he might make it tough for Smith to get off clean shots. Meanwhile, Smith McCullar moves well without the ball and lately, Smith’s off-the-ball defense has been pretty bad. Will he be able to keep track of him with all the movement? Will Smith be able to get off shots? I think this matchup will make or break the game for NC State. Smith is by far the better offensive player, but McCullar’s size makes him a pretty tough matchup. I do think Smith’s quickness will give McCullar issues. The stopping, starting, herky-jerky nature of Smith’s game is going to get the 6’8 McCullar tangled up at times. Again, I think this matchup is a push. I think there are advantages that McCullar has, and advantages that. Whoever exploits those advantages, wins this battle.

Small Forward Matchup

Grady Dick – Freshman – 6’8, 205lbs
Dick is only 4 games into his college career and he’s exactly who Kansas thought he’d be. He’s a 6’8 shooter who is agile enough and long enough to guard opposing 3s, but on offense, he’s an elite spot-up shooter. He’s not going to take you off the dribble much, but with a guard like Harris who can get in the lane and draw attention, he’s the perfect compliment. A guy who can just sit out there, wait, and knock down 3s. At 6’8 he doesn’t need to be all that open either. He can get his shot off over most defenders. He’s averaging almost 17 points per game over his first 4 games and is hitting 50% of his 3s.

How he matches up with Casey Morsell
This will be an interesting matchup. Morsell is a good off-the-ball and on-the-ball defender. If anyone can limit Dick’s looks on kick outs, it’s Casey. However, Morsell is just 6’3, so he’ll be giving up 5 inches to Dick. Morsell has been one of the biggest bright spots for NC State so far this season, so this matchup should be interesting. I do think Dick’s size is going to be an issue, so I’m going to give him the upper hand in this matchup, but I could see Morsell really bothering the freshman with physicality. If he can do that, I think he can take Dick out of his rhythm and thus out of his comfort zone.

Power Forward Matchup

Jalen Wilson – Junior – 6’8, 225lbs
Wilson is a physical oversized guard who plays in the front court. That’s basically it. He’s averaging 25 points and 10 boards on the season. He’s just someone who can do everything. He has a nice stroke (33% from 3), a solid post game, he can get to the hoop off the dribble and he can spot up and extend the defense. Wilson does most of his damage because he’s usually matched up against bigger 4s that can’t match his speed. This is the main guy you need to stop on offense for Kansas. If you can make things tough for him, you have a chance. If he gets going, you’re in trouble.

How he matches up with Jack Clark
I don’t think in recent. years you’d have had anyone near as ready to matchup with Wilson as Clark is. At 6’8, 205lbs, Clark’s mobility and skillset are almost identical to Wilson’s. Wilson is a little more advanced, more physical and has a little better handle, but Clark isn’t to be beaten by Wilson’s speed an agility like most. If anything, Clark will struggle with Wilson when he goes to the block and tries to muscle him up. Now, that isn’t something he does very much, or has done much this season at least, but a guy with this many tricks in his bag, may see the advantage and try to exploit it. While Kansas does have a small leg up in this matchup, I don’t think it’s huge and I think this is NC State’s biggest chance to win this game. If Clark can matchup well and slow down Wilson, Kansas will need to get points from elsewhere and that’s something they’ve struggled with early this season.

Center Matchup

KJ Adams Jr. – Sophomore – 6’7, 225lbs
Adams is a strong big with very good handles. He’s undersized a bit and not super athletic, but he’s got the ability to breakdown bigger centers off the dribble and score off the bounce, while still having the muscle to guard in the post. He’s averaging 6 points and 5 boards per game, so he’s not really dominating at this point, but it will be interesting to see how he deals with a really physical presence like Mahorcic (who is basically the same size) or with someone much stronger in DJ Burns who is 6’9, 275. THe question will be, can Mahorcic and or Burns stay in front of Adams on drives? My guess is it might be a struggle so you might see Keatts throw a zone at them at times. Kansas is shooting 33% from long-range, which is decent, but not as good as NC State’s 37%.

How he matches up with Mahorcic and Clark
Like I just noted, State will have the size advantage here, but will they be able to stay in front of Adams? I’m not sure. I’m guessing when Burns is in, we see some zone or we see Keatts at least try it. I don’t think this matchup is going to make or break the game. Each guy has their own advantage, so I see this as kind of a wash as well.

 

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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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