NC STATE BASKETBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Gottfriedâ€™s goal is Wolfpack playing in April
Mark Gottfried spent his first 18 months on the job trying to mute expectations for N.C. State’s basketball program.
The brakes the second-year coach usually pumps fell right off the bandwagon Friday night at “Primetime with the Pack.”
Gottfried made a grand entrance into the Wolfpack’s not-quite Midnight Madness when he zip-lined down from the second level of the PNC Arena to court with the theme from “Superman” playing in the background.
Gottfried landed safely on the court and addressed the crowd of 10,257.
“Our goal is real simple, we’re going to work extremely hard every day because we want to play on Monday night in April,” Gottfried said. “That’s the goal.”
There’s only one game scheduled in the NCAA tournament on a Monday night and that’s the championship game.
As he slowly descended from the upper deck of PNC Arena, second-year NC State basketball coach Mark Gottfried was a little apprehensive â€“ until he saw the eager faces of the 10,257 Wolfpack fans waiting for his arrival.
â€œIt was a little unnerving, but I have to tell you, the atmosphere out there was unbelievable,â€ said Gottfried, who was locked into a harness and lowered from the upper level with a temporary boom in the rafters of PNC Arena. â€œWhat was absolutely great about tonight was that our fans continue to prove the are the best in the country.
â€œWho wouldnâ€™t want to jump into them?â€
Gottfried jump-started the activities after the players were introduced with spotlights and fireworks.
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
A different breed of freshmen
The team has added highly-touted groups of freshmen in the past, including in 2010, when the newcomers included four-star point guard Lorenzo Brown, along with five-stars C.J. Leslie and Ryan Harrow. However, this year’s group, which was ranked as the No. 4 incoming class in the country by Rivals.com, is unusually special and the current players have already noticed that.
“They’re different,” Brown noted. “I remember me being a freshman with me, C.J. and Ryan here, and they’re a different bunch. I don’t see them as freshmen. They’re built for college basketball, especially T.J. and Rodney.
“They’re ready to play. They’re athletic, they can shoot, they can play defense, they have the total package. People don’t think Tyler is ready, either, but he’s going to surprise a lot of people.”
Not only is the collection of talented rookies extraordinary, but the team that they are joining is in a much better place now than 2010, according to Brown.
“My freshman year, we didn’t have the leadership we were supposed to,” he said. “With us – me, C.J., Richard and Scott being here – showing them the ropes and what they need to do, it pays off for them at the end of the day.
“We’re very confident. You always need maturity on teams to be great, and just us being here helps the freshmen out a lot. I think these three guys are like the missing pieces that we need to make it even further in the tournament.”
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
Video: Primetime with the Pack highlights
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
Video highlights: C.J. Leslie, Lorenzo Brown lead way
Inside Wolfpack Sports TV Show
On today’s episode of Inside Wolfpack Sports hosts Tony Haynes and Mark Thomas prepare State fans for the start of basketball season. Also on the show, meet the inaugural class of the NC State Athletic Hall of Fame.
NC STATE ATHLETICS
After dropping its first set for just the sixth time this season, NC Stateâ€™s volleyball team came back to win three in a row to beat Virginia 3-1, for its second ACC road win in as many nights.
The Wolfpack (17-3 overall, 7-2 ACC) used its sophomore attack, as second-year players Nikki Glass, Alesha Wilson and Dariyan Hopper each posted double-digit kills on the night to beat the Cavaliers (5-14, 0-9). Friday night, the Pack defeated Virginia Tech, also by a 3-1 outcome.
Hopper led the team with 14 kills and a .190 hitting average. Wilson added 13 kills, a .296 hitting average and nine total blocks on the night, while Glass had 12 kills, a career-high 20 digs and a pair of service aces.
The NC State softball team concluded its fall schedule on Sunday with two more wins in the Ray Chandler Memorial Softball Tournament at Raleighâ€™s Walnut Creek Softball Complex.
Sophomore pitcher Emily Weiman pitched a complete game in a 3-2 win in eight innings against Elon Sunday morning. Weiman, who had not given up a run in her four previous fall outings, gave up two against the Phoenix, but got the support of two unearned runs from her offense and a walk-off bloop single by junior catcher Kirsty Grant in the bottom of the eighth.
Freshman Chelsea Stanfield also pitched a complete-game victory as the Wolfpack downed UNC Pembroke in its afternoon game. Grant had two hits in the game, while freshman first baseman Hanna Sommer drove in a pair of runs.
â€œWe did what we were supposed to do in these games, go out and win,â€ said NC State first-year head coach Shawn Rychcik, whose team went 4-1 this weekend and 6-1 overall in the fall. â€œI like what I saw this weekend and how far we have come during our fall workouts.â€
Sommer, a native of Tustin, Calif., who was ranked the No. 37 overall prospect in the nation by ESPN, continued to impress Rychcik with her timely hitting, helping with the two wins on Sunday and in the Pack’s two wins in three games on Saturday.
â€œShe was a machine this weekend, driving in five or six runs for us,â€ Rychcik said. â€œShe came to play and is obviously ready to get going.â€
Wolfpack Claws Past Virginia Tech 1-0
Behind Danny DiPrimaâ€™s goal in the 77th minute on an assist from Alex Martinez, NC State scored a crucial 1-0 road victory over Virginia Tech on Friday night.
â€œIâ€™m very pleased with the road win,â€ said NC State head coach Kelly Findley. â€œAt this time of year, you have to be willing to work and grind out wins. Our guys did a great job of that tonight. Itâ€™s been a tough spell for us lately, but weâ€™re looking forward to finishing strong for the rest of the season.â€
The Wolfpack (8-6, 1-4 ACC) took control of the match early, involving Martinez heavily, but could not break through in the first half. Emerging from the locker room tied 0-0, State continued to press the issue in the second half.
Eric Bossi (Rivals.com)
Madness: First practices bring out star prospects (w/video)
Pack-ing them in
Out on Tobacco road, Mark Gottfried and N.C. State are proving that they can recruit with the big boys. Friday night, they’ll have a big-boy type lineup of prospects in town as they kick things off.
He’s already visited officially, but five-star point guard and verbal commit Anthony Barber will be back in town. He’ll be looking to pick up his first assist or two for the ‘Pack. Likely, he’ll be focusing a lot of his time on top 40 senior big man Dominic Woodson who very well might be the next player to call things for the Wolfpack. Five-star junior Theo Pinson will be on hand, as will recent junior commitments and top 50 players Caleb Martin and Cody Martin. The visit list is rounded out by potential class of 2015 four-stars Brandon Ingram and Jamar Ergas and probably one of the top five or so players in 2016, Harry Giles.
Florida State: Jarquez Smith, Joel Berry (2014), Jay Henderson (2014)
Maryland: Roddy Peters, Phil Booth (2014), John Crosby (2014), Dwayne Morgan (2014), Dion Wiley (2014), Romelo Trimble (2014), Obi Enechionyia (2014), Josh Ayeni (2015), Malachi Richardson (2015).
North Carolina: Nate Britt, Isaiah Hicks, Troy Williams, Kennedy Meeks, Justin Jackson (2014)
Notre Dame: Demetrius Jackson, Austin Torres, Sean O’Mara (2014)
Syracuse: Tyler Ennis, Rysheed Jordan, B.J. Johnson, Chinoso Obokoh, Isaiah Briscoe (2015), Thomas Bryant (2015)
Virginia Tech: Ben Emelogu, Maurice Kirby
A Positively Precise Positional Prediction Preview
POINT GUARD RANKINGS
Jerry’s Rankings: 1) NC State; 2) Miami; 3) North Carolina; 4) Wake Forest; 5) Florida State; 6) Duke; 7) Virginia; 8) Virginia Tech; 9) Georgia Tech; 10) Maryland; 11) Boston College; 12) Clemson
Team Win Shares Projections: 1) NC State (6.0); 2) Virginia Tech (5.35); 3) tie – Florida State and Miami (3.5); 5) Virginia (3.3); 6) Duke (3.1); 7) Clemson(2.8); 8) Maryland (2.3); 9) Georgia Tech (2.25); 10) Boston College (2.0); 11) tie – North Carolina and Wake Forest (1.5)
Jerry’s Top Players: 1) Lorenzo Brown (NC State); 2) Ian Miller (Florida State); 3) Shane Larkin (Miami)
Top Win Shares Projections: 1) Lorenzo Brown (NC State) – 5.5; 2) Erick Green (Virginia Tech) – 4.4; 3) Shane Larkin (Miami) – 3.5
SHOOTING GUARD RANKINGS
Jerry’s Rankings: 1) Duke; 2) Florida State; 3) Miami; 4) Wake Forest; 5) NC State; 6) Virginia; 7) North Carolina; 8) Maryland; 9) Georgia Tech; 10) Boston College; 11) Virginia Tech; 12) Clemson
Team Win Shares Projections: 1) North Carolina (5.65); 2) Duke (5.5); 3) tie – Florida State and Miami (5.3); 5) Wake Forest (5.2); 6) Virginia (3.9); 7) Virginia Tech (3.4); 8) Boston College (3.2); 9) Clemson (3.1); 10) tie – Maryland and NC State (2.5); 12) Georgia Tech (2.2)
SMALL FORWARD RANKINGS
Jerry’s Rankings: 1) NC State; 2) Wake Forest; 3) Miami; 4) North Carolina; 5) Duke; 6) Florida State; 7) Virginia; 8) Maryland; 9) Virginia Tech; 10) Boston College; 11) Clemson; 12) Georgia Tech
Team Win Shares Projections: 1) North Carolina (6.5); 2) Virginia (5.8); 3) NC State (5.7); 4) Virginia Tech (4.8); 5) Wake Forest (4.7); 6) Miami (4.35); 7) Boston College (3.3); 8) Duke (3.2); 9) Maryland (3.0); 10) Clemson (2.4); 11) tie – Georgia Tech and Florida State (1.5)
Jerry’s Top Players: 1) Travis McKie (Wake Forest); 2) Scott Wood (NC State); 3) Reggie Bullock (North Carolina)
Top Win Shares Projections: 1) Joe Harris (Virginia) – 5.3; 2) Scott Wood (NC State) – 5.2; 3) Jarell Eddie (Virginia Tech) – 4.8
– Ladies and gentlemen, Scott Wood! Wood is one of those players that stat heads gush over. I made a case for him as a short-list contender for ACC PoY last March based on his efficiency margins. Before you scoff, Wood had a ridiculous 128.0 offensive rating, by far the best of any starting player in the conference. His contributions are supported by his equally high win shares. In fact, I’m kinda hoping he replaces CJ Leslie as the NC State ACC PoY candidate – both are deserving, but Scott Wood never gets hyped for anything (except maybe free throw shooting). I vacillated back and forth between putting Wood here or at SG, but it works out better for the Wolfpack if he’s here.
COMBINED BIG GUY RANKINGS
Jerry’s Rankings: 1) Miami; 2) NC State; 3) North Carolina; 4) Maryland; 5) Duke; 6) Georgia Tech; 7) Florida State; 8) Virginia; 9) Clemson; 10) Wake Forest; 11) Boston College; 12) Virginia Tech
Team Win Shares Projections: 1) Duke (11.9); 2) Miami (10.9); 3) Georgia Tech (10.8); 4) NC State (10.3); 5) Clemson (8.9); 6) Virginia (8.7); 7) Maryland (7.5); 8) Boston College (7.0); 9) North Carolina (6.8); 10) Virginia Tech (6.5); 11) Florida State (4.2); 12) Wake Forest (2.5)
Jerry’s Top Players: 1) Reggie Johnson (Miami); 2) CJ Leslie (NC State); 3)Kenny Kadji (Miami); 4) James Michael McAdoo (North Carolina); 5) Mason Plumlee (Duke); 6) Richard Howell (NC State)
Top Win Shares Projections: 1) CJ Leslie (NC State) – 6.0; 2) Mason Plumlee (Duke) – 5.4; 3) Kenny Kadji (Miami) 4.8; 4) Ryan Kelly (Duke) 4.5); 5) tie -Daniel Miller (Georgia Tech) and Richard Howell (NC State) – 4.3
– I think CJ Leslie has to be considered your preseason ACC PoY favorite. Between the coming-back-to-school narrative and the fact that, hey, he actually looks to be the best player in the conference (and plays for the preseason favorite… more on that in a minute), easy prediction right there.
OVERALL TEAM RANKINGS
Win Shares Projections: 1) NC State (25.3); 2) Miami (24.05); 3) Duke (23.7); 4) Virginia (21.7); 5) North Carolina (20.45); 6) Virginia Tech (20.05); 7) Clemson (17.2); 8) Georgia Tech (16.75); 9) Boston College (15.5); 10) Maryland (15.3); 11) Florida State (14.5); 12) Wake Forest (13.9)
– As mentioned, NC State is the early favorite here. However, they seem rather thin to me; I think they will realistically go 7 deep, with only 2 bigs. To me, they are one or two rotation bigs (not stars, but role players) short of being a legitimate national title contender. A team that has frontcourt offense should be able to get either Leslie or Howell into foul trouble and then go to town. Now which ACC teams are capable of that.
Luke Decock (N&O)
How season may pan out for NCSU, UNC, Duke, Wake Forest
At the halfway point of the college football season, the early returns are fair-to-middling-to-awfully good for North Carolinaâ€™s ACC teams.
Duke is one win from going to a bowl game for the first time in 18 years. North Carolina, while ineligible for postseason play, is in position to wreak havoc on the Coastal Division race. N.C. State is coming off a Saturday night upset of Florida State, while Wake Forestâ€™s loss at Maryland, without star receiver Michael Campanaro, dropped the Deacons back to .500.
Hereâ€™s a look at how the rest of the season may pan out:
N.C. STATE (4-2, 1-1)
Even if the Wolfpack had lost to Florida State on Saturday night, the schedule still set up nicely for an 8-4 finish. So normally, youâ€™d say after the upset of the Seminoles that the schedule now sets up nicely for a 9-3 finish. But this is N.C. State, and winning a game no one expected it to invariably results in losing a game no one expects it to (unless losing to Miami counts, in which case the Wolfpack is back to even).
The only thing stopping the Wolfpack from getting nine wins is itself, a problem more easily corrected than some faced by other teams.
Predicted results: at Maryland, W; at North Carolina, W; vs. Virginia, W; vs. Wake Forest, W; at Clemson, L; vs. Boston College, W.
Final record: 9-3, 6-2.
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Point is, ACC defenses struggling
Scoring is up and defense is down in the ACC this season.
That much is clear through 15 conference games. The average combined total in ACC play is 64 points, a record pace which is almost two touchdowns more per game than the 2011 season and almost 24 points per game more than when the league expanded in 2004.
Last Saturday, in four ACC games three defenses gave up at least 40 points, a fourth â€” Miami â€” gave up 41 points to Notre Dame, which will be a partial ACC member by 2014.
And itâ€™s not just one bad defense to blame: nine ACC teams have allowed at least 40 points in a conference game this season. Even Virginia Tech, which has ranked among the countryâ€™s top 10 scoring defenses seven times in the past eight years, is bleeding points.
It will probably get worse before it gets better, N.C. State defensive coordinator Mike Archer said.
“Thatâ€™s college football now, it has become a fastbreak, spread â€™em out, wild west shoot â€™em out show,” said Archer, who has been coaching defenses on the college or pro level for 37 years. “People are scoring 40 points like itâ€™s nothing. We, as defensive coaches, have to come up with a way to slow it down.”
Last Saturday, N.C. Stateâ€™s defense held then-No. 3 Florida State, which had averaged 50.5 points in ACC play, to 16 points. But the game before, Miami gouged the Wolfpack for 44 points.
“The Miami game was not a lot of fun,” Archer said. “Last week, was a lot more fun, but it is what it is.”
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
FIFTH QUARTER: Parity rules in the Coastal Division
1. Homecoming celebration: North Carolina RB Giovani Bernard returned home to South Florida for the first time and didnâ€™t disappoint. With his father and older brother among those in attendance, Bernard rushed for 177 yards and two TDs to lead the Tar Heels to an 18-14 win against Coastal Division rival Miami.
2. Sleeping Giant awakened?: Virginia Techâ€™s season on the brink was at a volatile crossroads when it fell behind 20-0 to Duke in the first quarter. Instead of imploding, the Hokies responded by scoring 41 points behind the passing of QB Logan Thomas and running of RB J.C. Coleman. But was the ferocious comeback the start of a substantive Tech turnaround or just a temporary reprieve?
3. Wide-open Noles: Criticized for his conservative play calling in last weekâ€™s loss at N.C. State, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher opened his offense up against Boston College. The result was 649 yards â€“ including a career-high 439 passing from QB E.J. Manuel â€“ and 51 points in a bounce-back win against the Eagles.
4. Making his points: FSUâ€™s Dustin Hopkins became the ACCâ€™s all-time leading scorer when he kicked a 51-yard FG on the final play of the first half against BC. Hopkins surpassed the old record of 393, held by former Seminole Derrick Schmidt (1984-87) and Marylandâ€™s Nick Novak (2001-04). His career total of 402 points is fifth on the all-time NCAA scoring list. Ironically, the 51-yard FG was the same distance as the one Fisher decided not to let him try late in last weekâ€™s loss to N.C. State.
5. Terpsâ€™ new Diggs: True freshman WR Stefon Diggs tightened his hold on the ACCâ€™s Rookie of the Year award Saturday by returning the opening kickoff 100 yards for a TD while catching eight passes for 89 yards in Marylandâ€™s rivalry victory against Virginia. Diggs leads the Terps with 21 catches and is among the ACC leaders with an average of 21.6 yards per reception.
Tim Booth (AP)
Wilson leads Seattle past Patriots 24-23
Tom Brady and the best offense in the NFL got upstaged by an undersized rookie.
In the final minutes, it was Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks making all the big plays.
“If guys didn’t believe in him,” Seattle safety Earl Thomas said, “I guarantee they believe in him now.”
Wilson found Sidney Rice behind the secondary for a 46-yard touchdown with 1:18 remaining, and the Seahawks rallied for 14 points in the final 7:31 to stun the New England Patriots 24-23 Sunday.
The matchup between the Patriots’ No. 1 ranked offense and Seattle’s No. 1 defense instead turned in to a starring performance for Wilson. And a shocking rally that gave Pete Carroll a win in the first matchup against the franchise he coached for three seasons in the late 1990s. Carroll was bouncing around the sideline in celebration after one of his biggest pro victories.
“I hadn’t even thought about that. That was a long time ago and there have been a lot of games,” Carroll said. “I really love Robert Kraft, he’s a great man and he’s been great throughout the years about our separation of sorts. I respect the heck out of him. But I’m a competitor and, heck yeah, I want to win against those guys.”
Wilson hit Braylon Edwards on fourth down for a 10-yard TD to get the Seahawks within 23-17. After a pair of holds by Seattle’s defense, Wilson found Rice streaking open on a double move for his third touchdown pass of the game. Steven Hauschka’s extra point gave Seattle (4-2) the lead with 78 seconds remaining.