NC State Basketball
INSIDE THE MATCHUP: How does Creighton matchup with NC State? We break it down position by position.
NC State fans let out a collective sigh of relief when the Pack was announced as the 11 seed, matched up with the #6 seeded Creighton Blue Jays.
Now that we’ve all had time to celebrate the fact that NC State is dancing, it’s time to set our sights to our opponent.
Creighton: An Overview
Creighton finished 3rd in the Big East, sporting a 21-12 record. They had wins over Xavier, Arkansas, Texas Tech, Providence, and UConn, with their only really bad loss coming to Nebraska.
They are a pretty young team with three of their 5 starters being Sophomores. Their leading scorer, Ryan Kaklbrenner (7’1, center) is a junior, and their 6’7 wing, Baylor Schierman is a senior.
Last year the Bluejays made the tournament as a 9 seed and beat Sand Diego State (an 8 seed) before falling to #1 Kansas. 3 starters from this year’s team played in the tournament last season (then freshmen Trey Alexander and Arthur Kaluma and then sophomore Kalkbrenner).
By the Numbers
You could look at all sorts of numbers here, but I think the most relevant are these: Creighton is ranked 101 overall in turnovers per game. That’s a lot for a tournament team, and harks back to the fact that they are starting 2 sophomore guards. Meanwhile, NC State is 6th overall with just 9.4 per game. NC State is 16th in turnover margin, while Creighton is 291st.
Creighton averages 71 possession per game, meanwhile, NC State averages 71.6.
This tells me exactly what the eye test was telling me. Creighton is sloppy with the basketball, and they don’t really turn you over. Meanwhile, NC State protects the basketball and DOES turn you over. The ramped-up pressure from the Pack guards on the Creighton sophomores is going to be where you see this play out in real-time.
This also tells you that both NC State and Creighton play at a similar pace. Neither team really works around the basketball to find the best shot, instead, they like to get down and get a shot up. Betting on the volume of possessions to even things out.
I believe that the numbers tell a story that the Wolfpack have a really good matchup here. They are going to be playing at a pace they like, against a team that’s a little loose with the basketball and has young guards.
Defensively, Creighton packs it down a little bit and plays pretty disciplined defense. They get back in transition and they don’t gamble. That said, they are going to have trouble limiting the Pack’s looks due to their personnel. We’ll get into this more in the matchup segment, but NC State has better athletes at the 3 guard positions by far, and Creighton doesn’t have those big bruising guards that have caused trouble for Smith and Joiner this season.
A Look at the Matchups
PG- Ryan Nembhard (6’0, 170lbs, Soph) vs. Jarkell Joiner (6’1, 180lbs, Senior)
Nembhard is fast, pushes the pace, and really keeps the pressure on the defense by constantly being in attack mode. At the same time, he gets sped up, gets out of control at times and can get in trouble because of that. He’s a decent 3pt shooter if you leave him open, but he’s not out there trying to pull up off the bounce. He’s a true pass-first PG who is looking to create havoc and push the issue.
This matchup won’t bother Joiner. Joiner has 10 pounds on Nembhard, is way more athletic, and can easily match his speed. Joiner will be able to elevate over him for jumpers or body him up on drives. On defense, he will be able to stay in front of him, speed him up and hopefully get him to turn the ball over (he leads Creighton in TOs).
SG- Trey Alexander (6’4, 190lb, Sophomore) vs. Terquavion Smith (6’4, 165lbs, Sophomore)
Alexander is a bigger guard, but he doesn’t really play all that physical. He’s more of a shooter and a guy who can do a little bit of everything. He’s got a knack for scoring, but he’s not a guy that is great off the bounce. He can knock down 3s if you leave him open (he’s shooting 44% from long rage) but he shoots such a high percentage because he’s selective with his shots. He’s not going to force the issue.
This matchup is going to be fine for Smith. Offensively, Smith is much quicker than Alexander and will certainly be trying to attack him off the bounce when he can. On defense, Alexander isn’t a guy who is applying massive pressure with rim runs. He’s more of an opportunistic scorer. So if Smith can stay home and keep Alexander in front of you, you can keep him from blowing up like he did against Georgetown where he went for 25pts on 7-10 shooting from 3.
SF– Baylor Sheierman (6’7, 205lbs, senior) vs. Casey Morsell (6’3, 200lb, senior)
This is the matchup of the game. Baylor Sheierman is a zero-conscience lefty with a nice stroke. He’s averaging 12.8ppg and has knocked down a team-high 77 3s. He wants to get hot and he puts a lot of pressure on the defense with his ability to shoot the 3 or get inside and body you up. He’s going to let it fly, but NC State has an answer for him. Morsell is the Pack’s best defender and they’re going to need him in this one. Morsell will be able to frustrate Sheierman with hands in his face, and being able to match his physicality when he goes inside. While Sheierman is 6’7, he plays more like a 6’5 guy. Certainly more of a guard than a forward. He’s also the most active on the glass, scooping up over 8 boards per game. Morsell is good at boxing out and keep his man off the glass. NC State’s best defender will be on the guy I think is Creighton’s difference maker, and it’s another reason I like NC State’s chances here.
PF- Arthur Kaluma (6’7, 225lbs, Soph) vs. Jack Clark (6’8, 200lbs, Senior)
Kaluma is like a slightly less-skilled version of Virginia Tech’s Justyn Mutts. He’s an athletic 6’7 kid who does a little of everything but does nothing great. He’s a 32% 3-point shooter, and really only shoots when he’s wide open. He’s pretty physical, likes to drive it, but isn’t a crafty scorer or anything and he’s not insanely athletic either. But none of this is a knock on Kaluma, he’s good. I actually think he could be a problem in the paint vs. Jack Clark. Clark is a little better at guarding stretch 4s, while Gantt is the guy who would be more ideal to face off against Kaluma. Without Gantt (most likely) Clark and Ross will have to take on this matchup, and Kaluma is going to try to back it down in the paint and play a more physical game.
C- Ryan Kalkbrenner (7’1, 260lbs, junior) vs. DJ Burns (6’9, 275lbs, senior)
Kalkbrenner is Creighton’s leading scorer at 15+ ppg. He reminds me a lot of BC’s Quinten Post. He’s big, tall, and skilled, but not super mobile. He can knock down shots if you leave him open, but most of his damage is going to come if he get deep position or if he’s catching an oop off a pick and roll (which they love to try). This type of big really hasn’t been big trouble for DJ Burns this season. Burns has struggled against more mobile, super-physical bigs. Burns quick-spins and pump-fake-pivots are going to work well against Kalkbrenner, and because he’s so big, I believe (at least at the beginning) they are going to try to allow him to play 1 on 1 with Burns.
All in all, if NC State had to be an 11 seed, this is the 6 seed I’d want to go up against. A young backcourt that can get turnover prone, and a defense that doesn’t really create many turnovers. A big that doesn’t stretch the floor much and hype man being guarded by Casey Morsell.
NC State out athletes Creighton at all 3 guard spots. They only give up size at the 3, and DJ Burns is likely going to have room to operate. I know the Pack is a 5.5 point dog in this one, but I like their odds this Friday.
NC State Basketball
NC State’s Terquavion Smith Will Forgo His Remaining College Eligibility & Declare for NBA Draft
Well, it’s official. NC State Sophomore Terquavion Smith will forgo his remaining two years of college eligibility and officially declare for the 2023 NBA Draft.
Here’s what Smith had to say to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony regarding his decision.
“I’m forgoing my college eligibility and going all the way in,” Smith said. “I’m thankful for everything the NC State coaching staff and fans have done for me. This is the right decision for me to take care of my family.”
“I showed a lot of different things this year,” Smith said. “Teams wanted to see me be more of a point guard, making the right play, making the right decisions. They wanted to see me improve my finishing, and I increased that. I showed I can be a leader.”
“I improved my grades. I’m a year closer to getting my degree now. You only get one chance to be a college student and get that college vibe. There was no rush for me. I’m ready to contribute to an NBA team now.”
“I’m feeling good about everything now,” Smith said. “I came back to do what I needed to do. I feel like I did everything the right way. I know what’s coming now in the pre-draft process because I’ve been there already and know what to expect. I’ll be a lot more confident in myself now. It’s going to be a straight grind.” (ESPN)
Smith earned 2nd Team All-ACC honors this year, averaging 17.9 points and 4.1 assists per game.
He currently ranks 30th on ESPN’s Top-100 2023 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings. In most NBA Mock Drafts, Smith is projected as a late first round pick.
Smith’s career scoring average of 17.1 ranks 8th in school history. He made 187 three point shots in two seasons, ranking 8th all-time in NC State history. His 96 made three-pointers last year are the most ever by a Freshman in school history, and his 91 made three-pointers made this year are the most ever by a Sophomore.
If Smith goes on to be taken in the 1st round of the 2023 NBA Draft, it will be the first person to do so from NC State since Dennis Smith Jr. was taken 9th overall in 2017. If Smith is taken in the first round, the would become the 17th player in school history to do so.
NC State Basketball
NC State’s Men’s Basketball 2022-23 Season: BY THE NUMBERS
NC State’s Men’s Basketball 2022-23 season has come and gone, and I thought we should take a moment to look back on this season BY THE NUMBERS.
- NC State finished the season with a 23-11 overall record.
- The 23 wins are the 2nd most of the Kevin Keatts era.
- In 2018-19, the Wolfpack had 24 wins (2 in the NIT)
- The 23 wins are the 2nd most of the Kevin Keatts era.
- The Wolfpack had 22 regular season wins.
- This was the most regular season wins since 2012-13.
- NC State had 12 ACC regular season wins.
- This is the most conference wins since they increased the slate of conference games to 20 in 2019-20.
- It’s the most conference wins since 1973-74, when the Wolfpack was 12-0 in ACC play. Obviously this stat is not representative of the best conference performance by NC State since 1973-74, because they played significantly more conference games than years past.
- The Wolfpack’s winning percentage in ACC play was 60%, which is the 2nd highest winning percentage in conference play under Kevin Keatts.
- In his first season in 2017-18, the Wolfpack’s ACC winning percentage was 61.1%.
- NC State shot 45% from the field this season;.
- This is the 2nd to worst shooting season under Kevin Keatts, trailing only 41.3% last year.
- The Wolfpack shot 34.7% from three-point range.
- That number is the 4th best in 6 seasons under Kevin Keatts.
- NC State shot 72.2% from the free-throw line.
- This is the 2nd best number under Kevin Keatts (72.5% last year was the best year).
- For the first time since 2018-19, NC State won the rebounding margin over their opponents on the year.
- It was the 2nd highest rebounding margin under Kevin Keatts, with +1.7 margin. (In 2018-19, the margin was +4.3)
- NC State averaged 77.7 points per game, which is the third highest number under Kevin Keatts, but the highest since 2018-19.
- The Wolfpack forced 477 turnovers, which is the 3rd highest total under Kevin Keatts, and the most since 2018-19.
- NC State only committed 320 turnovers, which is the lowest total under Keatts (328 in 2020-21, which was a shortened season, was the lowest before.)
- NC State held opponents to a 44.5% field goal percentage, which is the lowest since 2019-20, and the third lowest under Keatts.
- The Wolfpack held opponents to 31.6% from three, which is tied for the 2nd lowest percentage under Keatts.
- NC State had 434 assists, which is tied for the 3rd most in a season under Keatts.
- The Wolfpack had 152 blocks, which is the most in a single season under Keatts.
- NC State finished ranked 51 in KenPom’s
NC State Basketball
UNC Transfer Dontrez Styles Expected to Visit NC State Soon
UNC Guard/Forward Transfer Dontrez Styles (6’6″/210) is expected to be visiting NC State soon. According to a source, he was expected to take an unofficial visit tomorrow, but it has been rescheduled to Monday.
Styles entered the Transfer Portal on March 17th.
Over the past two seasons, Styles has seen limited action for the Tar Heels, averaging 5.9 minutes in 45 total games (15 this season).
Styles is no stranger to NC State. He played high school for Kinston (Kinston, NC), and was offered by Kevin Keatts. Styles was a consensus 4-Star prospect coming out of High School. 247Sports ranked him as the #62 overall player nationally in the 2021 recruiting class, and the #2 player in the state of North Carolina.
ON3 ranks Styles as the #21 player currently in the Transfer Portal.
NC State Basketball
All-AAC Temple Transfer Damian Dunn Visiting NC State this Weekend
According to a source, Temple All-AAC Transfer Shooting Guard Damian Dunn (6’5″/195) was expected to be at NC State today on an unofficial visit.
Dunn entered the Transfer Portal on March 20th.
— Damian Dunn 🇦🇸 (@Dam1anKD) March 20, 2023
Dunn averaged 15.3 points per game this season, earning 3rd Team All-AAC honors. He shot 41.1% from the field this season, and 34.8% from three-point land.
In 2021-22, he led the Owls in scoring (14.9), and earned 2nd Team All-AAC honors.
Dunn originally is from Kinston, North Carolina, but played his Senior season of High School for Meadowcreek in Georgia, finishing his high school career as a 3-star prospect.
With the almost guaranteed loss of Terquavion Smith, NC State will be in need for a dynamic scorer, and Dunn has proven that he can do just that at the collegiate level.
Currently, Dunn is the 16th ranked player in the Transfer Portal according to ON3.
Dunn is a Redshirt Sophomore this season, with 2 years of eligibility remaining.
Writer couldn’t be more biased in his opinion. Creighton is going to work us no question. They are legit this year. I like the positivity though by the editor!
I agree Creighton is going to be tough and hope we bring our A game because we are going to need it.
Turns out I am actually going to get to see NC State play at Ball Arena!!! Excited!
So cool! Hope it’s unforgettable.
Wow! That’s great! Be sure to wave at us!
I cannot wait!
Just eightish more hours. But I’m not excited or anything.
Bleacher Report “ Upset Special: No. 11 NC State over No. 6 Creighton I really like this Creighton team. It could be a Final Four squad with a little bit of luck. But I also have a rule: When I’m appalled about a team receiving an at-large bid—particularly if it’s an ACC team—I have to pick that team to win at least one game. Notre Dame won two games last year. Syracuse won two games in 2021 and made the Final Four in 2016. And NC State is going to go on a run this year. But it will never… Read more »
Sports Illustrated ranked the NCAAT teams. Creighton #20, Wolfpack #49. Not good.
This is a good breakdown. I watched some of their earlier win over Xavier and felt like they are going to struggle big time with our guard quickness.
They are really good rebounding on defense, not so much on offense. We need to shoot well or get fast breaks because most shots will likely be one and done. If we can get a few offensive boards that could tilt the scales.
Thanks for this, and very encouraging. Someone tweeted that Gantt was listed as a ‘game time decision’ – no surprise there. I think that is the only diagnosis we know.