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Thoughts on NC State’s 83-87 Loss to Syracuse

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NC State’s (16-10/8-7) 83-87 loss to Syracuse this evening might have been the nail-in-the-coffin when it comes to the Wolfpack’s NCAA Tournament aspirations. They were barely on the bubble as it was, but this game and the next two games against Boston College and Florida State were “must wins.” On top of that, the Wolfpack probably needed to beat Pitt in the regular season finale, and beat either Duke or UNC.

With this loss, NC State will need a miracle. They will need to win the rest of their regular season games, which concludes with 3 consecutive Quad 1 games.

In regards to this evenings game, it’s hard to beat a team when you allow them to shoot 61.3% in the first half, and allow a guy who averages 11.3 points per game (Chris Bell) to sink 8 of 9 three’s at the halfway mark. Sure, you could make the excuse that they were just hitting everything they threw up, but the defense was lackluster, and they failed to adjust to a player with a hot hand.

What I’m about to say isn’t meant to describe a moral victory for NC State. With that being said, this team didn’t give up, and clawed back from a 15-point halftime deficit (16-point at one point in the 2nd half), to take a 1-point lead with 3:15 left in the game. That was the first time the Wolfpack had led since it was 2-0.

Senior DJ Horne was sensational once again, scoring 25+ points for the 5th straight game, matching what Cat Barber did back in 2015-16. Horne finished with 32 points, hitting 11 of his 20 field goal attempts, and an insane 6 of 8 from three.

Could you argue that Horne was fouled on the last play? I guess, but I wouldn’t have called it.

Three other Wolfpack players scored in double figures: Ben Middlebrooks (12), DJ Burns (12) and Jayden Taylor (10). Honestly, they all shot well. Middlebrooks had a double-double, with 10 rebounds.

Mohamed Diarra was solid with 7 points (3-6) and 8 boards.

Syracuse came back to reality in the second half, and ended up shooting 51% from the field, but the Wolfpack shot 47%. Both teams shot well. In fact, NC State actually scored more points off of turnovers, had more second chance points and had more free throws.

You simply can’t put yourself in a position to dig yourself out of a 16-point deficit. You can’t allow a guy to make 8 of 9 three’s in the opening half, with 6 of them being practically uncontested.

The Wolfpack have lost 3 of the last 4, and all 3 losses have been by 4 points or less. I wouldn’t say the Pack lost any of those three games due to a lack of effort. Rather, I would say it was primarily due to inconsistency, a lack of discipline and poor decisions in timely moments (Jayden Taylor’s TO with 1:13 left with the game tied).

With Wake Forest beating Pitt tonight, a Wolfpack win would have put them in 4th place in the ACC.

A big missed opportunity for the Pack this evening.

Matthew is Co-Owner of Pack Insider. He writes for all sports, with a focus on football and recruiting, and is in charge of business strategy. He is an NC State alum who majored in business. Matthew is also the lead pastor of The Point Church in Cary, NC.

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NCSUMets
NCSUMets
1 month ago

At least O’Connell only played 16 minutes. Here’s Morsell’s minutes and points the last four games: 2/7 – 37 minutes, 5 points 2/10 – 39 minutes, 9 points 2/17 – 33 minutes, 6 points 2/20 – 32 minutes, 4 points Morsell is a combined 7-25 from the floor in these games, including 1-7 from behind the arc. Plus, he’s 9-17 from the foul line in this stretch. Just how bad does he have to be to spend more than eight minutes on the bench? Dennis Parker Jr. isn’t scoring, either, but at least he’s not taking a bunch of shots… Read more »

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
1 month ago
Reply to  NCSUMets

Whatever happen to Thomas?

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
1 month ago

O’Connell 16 minutes of play box score
16 Minutes
0-1
0-0
0-0
0
1
1 Total rebounds
1 Assists
0
0
2 Turnovers

0 Points

This is a walk-on level output. Why is he in there at all? Wrong coaching decision among a host of others. KKIAL,

NCcarguy
NCcarguy
1 month ago

Losing close games comes down to coaching. Go back and look at what Coach K’s record was when the team was behind or tied within the last minute vs. what Keatts record is. I’m just guessing here, but I’ll bet it’s dramatically different. Keatts can’t coach at this level. There was some reason to give him a couple of years beyond the NCAA battle and subsequent penalty, but at this point, what are we hoping for? That next year is his year? Duke and Carolina both have lost hall of fame coaches within the last 5 years and both are… Read more »

wolfpack74
wolfpack74
1 month ago
Reply to  NCcarguy

SOSDD. Time to show him the door. If not, the seats at PNC can be filled with illegal immigrants next year.

NC State Basketball

NC State’s Mohamed Diarra Has Professional Options in France

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According to a source, when NC State Forward Mohamed Diarra went back home to France after the Final Four, the option of playing professionally in his home country next season became a very viable option.

Diarra has one year of eligibility remaining, and according to my source, the Wolfpack coaching staff obviously wants him back next season in the Red & White.

With that being said, from what I’m hearing, Diarra returning next season to NC State is pretty much a coin toss at this point. It’s worth noting that Diarra just wrapped up his 4th year of college, playing his first two seasons at Garden City Community College, and then 1 year at Missouri before coming to Raleigh.

Diarra was a significant player for NC State all season long, averaging 6.3 points and 7.8 rebounds (team high), but his impact in March was tremendous, recording 10+ rebounds in 7 of the Wolfpack’s 10 postseason games, and five of those performances were double-doubles.

This isn’t an easy decision to make for Diarra, but NC State is somewhat in limbo until he calls his shot. Currently, if Diarra were to pursue the professional route next season, NC State would have a frontcourt made up of Ben Middlebrooks and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield. While those are two good pieces, without Diarra, NC State would be in desperate need to find depth in the post in the Portal pronto.

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NC State Basketball

NC State’s Kevin Keatts Named Clarence “Big House” Gaines Division I College Basketball Coach of the Year

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NC State’s Kevin Keatts has been named the Clarence “Big House” Gaines Division I College Basketball Coach of the Year.

The Clarence “Big House” Gaines College Basketball Coach of the Year Awards are presented to the head coach in NCAA Division I and Division II, who may not earn recognition from mainstream outlets. (Link)

Kevin Keatts, the men’s basketball coach at North Carolina State University, and Alfred Jordan, the men’s basketball coach at Clark Atlanta University, have been named the Clarence “Big House” Gaines College Basketball Coaches of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. The Gaines Awards will be presented during the NSMA’s 64th awards banquet on July 1, 2024 in Greensboro, N.C.

Keatts, the Division I winner of the Gaines Award, took NC State on a magical run through the postseason. After finishing the regular season with a 17-14 record, the Wolfpack swept five games in five days to win the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Washington, D.C., the Wolfpack’s first ACC Tournament title since 1987. As the ACC’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament, NC State then rang up four straight wins to reach the national semifinals, where the Wolfpack lost to eventual runner-up, Purdue University. In seven seasons at NC State, Keatts’ teams are 139-94. His NC State teams have won at least 20 games in five of his seven seasons at NC State. (Link)

Here’s a look at former coaches who have won the award:

 

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NC State Basketball

WATCH: Pack Insider’s DJ Burns 2024 ACC Tournament Highlight Reel

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There would be no ACC Championship if it weren’t for Senior DJ Burns.

Burns averaged 15.2 points per game over the 5 games, shooting an absurd 62.7% from the field, going on to win the 2024 ACC Tournament MVP Award.

Check out Pack Insider’s DJ Burns 2024 ACC Tournament Highlight Reel.





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NC State Basketball

NC State vs. Duke in the Elite Eight was the Most Watched Game of the Men’s NCAA Tournament

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The 2024 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has come and gone, but it’s still remarkable to note that the Elite Eight matchup between NC State and Duke was the most watched game of the entire tournament.

Elite 8: Duke/NC State: 15.1 million
Finals: UConn/Purdue: 14.8 million
Final 4: UConn/Alabama: 14.1 million
Final 4: NC State/Purdue: 11.45 million
Elite 8: Purdue/Tennessee: 10.39 million

The game between the two ACC crosstown rivals was the most watched Elite Eight game in the past 5 years. The 15.1 million viewers was more than all but 5 college football games last season.

Sunday’s NC State-Duke NCAA men’s basketball tournament regional final averaged a 6.4 rating and 15.14 million viewers on CBS, marking the most-watched Elite Eight game since Michigan State-Duke in 2019 (16.20M) and the most-watched basketball game of any kind, including the Final Four and NBA Finals, since the 2022 national championship (Kansas-North Carolina: 17.05M)

Since the wave of cancellations and postponements that decimated the industry four years ago, the Wolfpack’s win ranks fifth among basketball games behind the aforementioned 2022 title game, North Carolina-Duke in that year’s Final Four (17.66M), the 2021 national championship (Baylor-Gonzaga: 17.08M) and Gonzaga-UCLA in that year’s Final Four (15.39M). (Link)

(The above information was before the Women’s Championship Game between Iowa and South Carolina beat all of those with 18.89 million.)

 

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