Notre Dame came in struggling. They were 1-8 in conference and had lost 7 of their last 8. On paper this looked like an easy home win for NC State, but in reality this wasn’t going to be a cakewalk at all.
For one, Notre Dame doesn’t play a true big man. They have Nate Laszewski, who does most of his damage outside. He’s shooting over 40% from long range and wants to pick and pop. The problem for NC State is that DJ Burns is playing 30 minutes a game now, which is a lot of him, and he’s not quick enough to guard a guy like Laszewski that far out.
Putting Burns in action that far out is going to through everything out of whack. ND’s guards are going to get mismatches they can exploit, or they’ll be able to turn the corner if Burns doesn’t hedge and cut them off on ball screens (which he’s not very good at.)
Once those ND guards get in the paint, they can score alright, but they also like to find shooters on the wing, and ND has tall shooters who can knock it down.
On top of that, Terquavion Smith was coming off a pretty bad fall and he might not be 100%.
As it turns out, Burns had trouble guarding the high screen, the ND guards were creating havoc and their shooters were knocking down 3 after 3. Meanwhile, Smith was off all night.
So how did NC State pull this off?
Jarkell Joiner stepped in and took control
With Smith not himself, Jarkel Joiner stepped up in a huge way. The senior guard was putting pressure on the defense all night, and did a great job stepping in as the main scoring threat with Smith struggling. Joiner finished with 26pts and 6 boards. He only turned the ball over once. Joiner is your MVP in this one.
Keatts masterful move against the zone
Notre Dame jumped out to their largest lead in the first half when they went into a 2-3 zone. They were backing the back line and extending the top. This left Burns wide open in the middle to take the 15 footer. They were banking on Burns missing that shot, and they bet right. Burns doesn’t shoot that 15 footer as well as one might expect, but he was so open he almost had to take it.
After a few missing, NC State’s offense looked lost and stagnant. Keatts decided to move joiner into the high post and take out Burns. This was a great move, as suddenly that flash to the middle was a wide open jumper for a guy who thrives on mid-range jumpers. After he hit a couple, Notre Dame switched to a 1-3-1 zone, but that was leaving too much room on the wings and the corners for State shooters.
Eventually, the Irish went back to some man, and Burns started to take over.
This was the game within the game that I’m not sure people paid attention to. Keatts made moves that won this game, so give him the credit he deserves.
DJ Burns is such a monster
No one can stop Burns. When he gets it on the block, he scores. But when teams throw double teams at him, he finds the open man. NC State could very easily run their entire offense through DJ Burns if they wanted to. But they choose to use him in spurts, which I think keeps him fresh and keeps defenses on their toes. I mean, they also have one of the best guard tandems in the nation you have to worry about. Burns finished with 14 points, 4 boards and 3 assists.
Casey Morsell deserves more credit
Terquavion Smith, Jarkell Joiner and DJ Burns get the hype, but no one has been more consistent than Casey Morsell. He’s shooting a blistering 44% from long range on the season, is scoring at the bucket and is the teams best defender. Morell isn’t flashy, but he might be the glue that is really putting this NC State run together.
Ebe Dowuona is coming into his own
When Mahorcic went down, State fans were worried. Could Burns handle this big of a load? Could he play 30+ minutes per game? And if he does, could Dowuona spell him? Well, Ebe has quietly been a real surprise for NC State for the past few weeks. He was a key in this game because he was able to guard the ND bigs on the perimeter without fouling. He also has been adding a little offense to his game. He looked like a mini Burns in this one, going 3 for 4 from the field, even showcasing a little lefty hook. He added 3 blocks as well. If Dowuona can become a guy that you drop the ball down to for a bucket, then heck, State might finish the season with 3 viable bigs (something almost no team in the conference has).
Smith was off, but dropped 6 assists in this one, I’d love to see even more!
Thank God the kid is ok. I wasn’t sure he was going to suit up in this one, but I felt as if, if the Dr. cleared him, he’d play. He wore a little back brace in this one, and I’m not sure if that threw him off or not, but he just never could get it going. But, despite his struggle shooting the ball, he was doing a great job of facilitating. He had 6 assists on the night. This is where Smith has really improved. I know he wants to score and keep his average up, but this kid is SO dangerous when he starts attacking and dishing. I’d like to see him start trying to get 10 assists and 12 points per game. Cut down on the long range bombs and instead put pressure on the d with drives and dishes. NBA scouts know Smith can score. There’s not question. But if this kid started throwing up a few double digit assist games and then plop down a 30-piece once in a while, it would certainly move him up the draft boards.
#22 NC State 50 #8 UVA 63: Box Score
#22 NC State lost to #8 UVA 63-50 up in Charlottesville, falling to 19-6 overall, and 9-5 in the ACC. Below is the Box Score.
NC State’s Men’s Basketball Team is Having One of it’s Best Runs in the ACC Ever
Heading into tonight’s Top-25 matchup between #22 NC State and #8 UVA, the Wolfpack are in the midst of one of their best runs in ACC play since the conference was formed in 1953.
The Wolfpack are 9-4 in the ACC, but they have won 8 of their last 9 conference games.
The last time NC State went on a run like this in ACC Regular Season games was during the 1972-73 and 73-74 seasons, when the Wolfpack went 12-0 in ACC play.
12-0 (1972 & 73-74)
12 of 13 (1958-59)
8 of 9 (2022-23, 1961-61, 1954-55)
7 of 8 (1974-75, 1969-70, 1964-65, 1955-56)
6 of 7 (2005-06, 1979-80, 1960-61, 1957-58)
#22 NC State is a 7.5-Point Underdog at #8 UVA Tonight
#22 NC State is a 7.5-point underdog at #8 Virginia tonight at 9pm, and the Total is sitting at 137.
- NC State is 19-5 Straight Up.
- They are 11-11-2 Against the Spread.
- UVA is 17-4 Straight Up.
- They are 8-12-1 Against the Spread.
- The Total has gone Over in 13 of NC State’s 24 games.
- The Total has gone Over in 12 of UVA’s 22 games
- UVA is 15-2 as the Favorite.
- NC State is 4-4 as the Underdog.
- NC State is 4-1-1 in their last 6 games against UVA Against the Spread.
- The Total has gone Over in 5 of NC State’s last 7 games.
- The Total has gone Over in 4 of UVA’s last 5 games.
- The Total has gone Under in 5 of the last 6 games between these two in Charlottesville.
- NC State has won two in a row, and 3 of the last 4 against UVA.
- Kevin Keatts is 3-4 against UVA. He is 2-2 at UVA.
NC State vs. UVA
NC State is the ONLY Team in the Triangle Ranked for the 1st Time in 40 Years
NC State’s Men’s Basketball team is back in the AP Top 25 for the first time in 4 years, landing at #22 in the Week 14 AP Poll.
NC State is ranked. Duke and UNC are not. Last time that was the case? December 27th, 1982. Over 40 years ago. It’s only the 6th time in 67 years that this has happened.
Wolfpack was 17th that week. UNC was unranked in two polls all year, Dec. 20 and Dec. 27. Duke was not ranked that season (Dawkins, Alarie, Bilis, Henderson were freshmen).
Other *cough* ACC teams on Dec. 27: Virginia (4), Louisville (13), Syracuse (14).
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) February 6, 2023
Before that: The preseason poll in 1973, the final poll in 1970 and Dec. 5, 1955. So this is the sixth time in 67 years.
Happened pretty often between 1952-55. NC State was ranked during the entire 1950-51 season while neither Duke nor UNC was.
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) February 6, 2023
Anyone remember what happened that 1982-83 basketball season?
NC State won the National Championship.