NC STATE BASKETBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Stung last season, Wolfpack warily prepares for Yellow Jackets
N.C. State avoided most of the pitfalls on the ACC schedule last season with a notable exception.
Georgia Tech beat N.C. State 82-71 in Raleigh last January. It was one of only four ACC wins for Georgia Tech last season and it also was the Yellow Jacketsâ€™ highest-scoring game in an otherwise offensively-challenged campaign.
N.C. State got a win back from Georgia Tech last season in Atlanta but the lessons from that early hiccup remained intact. The Wolfpack will try to avoid a repeat against the Yellow Jackets on Wednesday night in Raleigh.
â€œI remember that game, we started too slow and they were into it early,â€ senior forward Richard Howell said. â€œWe canâ€™t let that happen again.â€
No. 20 N.C. State (12-2, 1-0 ACC) got into a similar game at Boston College on Saturday, but the Wolfpack found a way to win 78-73.
Like Boston College, the Jackets will want to play at a slower pace, but the Jackets will be more physical.
â€œTheyâ€™re a tough team and theyâ€™re physical,â€ guard Lorenzo Brown said. â€œThatâ€™s how all their games are. We have to play our game and push the ball more.â€
Akula Wolf (Backingthepack.com)
Georgia Tech Vs. NC State Preview: Jackets Bring Tough D, Unreliable O
Georgia Tech profiles pretty much the same as last year, which is to say that the Jackets are somewhat offensively challenged. I hesitate to get into this too much for fear of bringing on a repeat of what happened in Raleigh last season. Buncha fluke-shootin’ jerks! But given that they’re coming off a game in which they scored 49 points, there’s probably nothing I need say. A strong performance against NC State is virtually guaranteed.
While shooting accuracy remains a problem for the Jackets, they have at least managed to get the turnovers under control. They really need that to hold up throughout conference play, and it wouldn’t hurt if they got more aggressive about grabbing offensive boards. The Jackets have played four power-conference teams so far this season; their offensive efficiency in those games: 87 (L), 90 (L), 100 (W), 76 (L).
Georgia Tech has been very good at this end of the floor–the Jackets are 16th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. Their 2FG% is fantastic and they are blocking shots at a good clip, which helps. They’ve done a great job of keeping opponents off the glass, and hell, even their FT% “defense” is outstanding.
Whether it’s by design or simply a product of Tech’s interior defense, opponents are taking a lot of three-pointers. So that’ll be something to keep an eye on from State’s perspective, though it’s pretty tough to make NC State launch a bunch of threes because the Pack is stubborn like that.
Game Time: 8 p.m.
Boston College (10-3, 0-1 ACC) vs. No. 20 NC State (12-2, 1-0 ACC)
SERIES RECORD: 52-37, NC State
LAST MEETING: 61-52, NC State (2/9/12)
TELEVISION: The ACC Network
PxP: Tim Brando Color: Mike Gminski
After successfully opening ACC play with a 78-73 victory at Boston College last Saturday, No. 20 NC State (12-2, 1-0 ACC) returns home to entertain Georgia Tech (10-3, 0-1) in its league home opener at PNC Arena on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
This is the fifth time that the Wolfpack has opened the home portion of its conference schedule with the Yellow Jackets, with each winning two of the previous four meetings.
Last year, the two programs split, with the visiting team winning each contest. In the first meeting between NC State and Georgia Tech on Jan. 11, 2012 in Raleigh, the Yellow Jackets claimed a 82-71 victory.
Tech shot .500 from the floor, including .667 from 3-point range on the night.
Glen Rice, Jr., came off the bench for Georgia Tech to lead all scorers with 22 points. C.J. Leslie was one of five State players to score in double figures on the evening with a team-high 16 points.
Ken Sugiura (AJC.com)
Techâ€™s next test: No. 20 N.C. State
The next step of Techâ€™s 18-game journey through the ACC will offer the Jackets the opportunity to address their shortcomings against Miami, but at the same time will demand even more from the Jackets. Wednesday, Tech will go on the road to play No. 20 N.C. State, the preseason favorite to win the ACC. If the Jacketsâ€™ effort and level of play arenâ€™t considerably better, the Wolfpack could run the Jackets out of PNC Arena (formerly the RBC Center).
â€œThey can hurt you in a lot of different ways,â€ Gregory said. â€œWeâ€™re going to have to play extremely well for 40 minutes.â€
Against most of Techâ€™s nonconference opponents, moments of inattention could be overcome by the talent advantage that the Jackets enjoyed. The ACC opener was an education for freshmen Marcus Georges-Hunt, Chris Bolden and Carter. None played particularly well against the Hurricanes.
â€œPace, better players, everybody here can play,â€ said Carter, citing the differences he observed. â€œItâ€™s just a better game. (But) we can play in it.â€
Georges-Hunt and Carter lead the team in scoring at 11.2 and 9.8 points per game, respectively. Gregory didnâ€™t think they and Bolden were overwhelmed by Miami but wants them to be aggressive with their offensive chances against N.C. State.
â€œI like the progress theyâ€™re making, their development,â€ Gregory said. â€œIn this league, itâ€™s hard sometimes to rely on freshmen, and thatâ€™s why our upperclassmen are so important to us.â€
While Miami appears to be one of the most physical teams in the ACC, N.C. State punishes teams with its speed. The Wolfpack can convert missed shots or turnovers on the defensive end into transition baskets with fearsome efficiency. N.C. State leads the country in field-goal percentage at 53.1 percent, a reflection of the number of fast-break opportunities that it creates. Tech will need to find a way to slow down guard Lorenzo Brown, from Centennial High.
Jeniece Jamison (The Technician)
T.J. Warren, the sixth man
Head coach Mark Gottfried said the Wolfpack has six starters on its roster. One of which is freshman forward T.J. Warren.
â€œI kind of tell our guys we have six starters,â€ Gottfried said. â€œAlthough heâ€™s not in the lineup I consider him like a starter. Itâ€™s maybe something we look at from time to time. But, I think heâ€™s done a good job.â€
Warren is currently the teamâ€™s second-leading scorer, averaging 13.4 points per game, and is second on the team in field goal percentage. For his first time coming off the bench in his career, Warren is certainly making use of every opportunity he gets.
Gottfried said Warrenâ€™s performance has fallen somewhere between a surprise and according to expectations.
â€œPart of us knew how talented he was,â€ Gottfried said. â€œBut, youâ€™re never sure of how quickly a freshman will adapt. I think heâ€™s done a great job. Itâ€™s really not that surprising to me though.â€
The logical evolution of every sixth man who is contributing beyond expectations is to make the jump into the starting lineup, but Warrenâ€™s is concerned with being able to contribute to the teamâ€™s success.
â€œComing off the bench is kind of weird because Iâ€™ve never come off the bench in my life,â€ Warren said. â€œComing off the bench, Iâ€™m just trying to be productive and just be as efficient as possible for me and the team.â€
Duke-State A Big Deal Once More
N.C. State is talented enough to beat Duke, especially in Raleigh – and especially if the Blue Devils are without Ryan Kelly, who injured his right foot against Clemson. Although ridiculously early in the ACC race, itâ€™s a game the Pack needs to win to remain a viable contender for the ACC regular-season title. On the other hand, a road victory at its toughest competitor would leave Duke in an enviable position in the ACC race â€“ assuming Kelly doesnâ€™t miss too much time.
But no matter what happens in this early showdown, the two teams will meet again a month from now in Durham. That used to be a given in the ACC â€“ that every pair of league teams played twice each season.
Unfortunately, the ACCâ€™s home-and-home schedule became a victim of expansion. When the ACC brought in Miami and Virginia Tech in 2005 and Boston College in 2006, teams were no longer guaranteed two games â€“ even against their rivals. The Duke-State rivalry was one of the most significant victims (along with UNC-Wake Forest) of the new scheduling.
There have been times when Duke-State was the most important rivalry in the ACC. For instance, when Everett Case arrived at N.C. State, Duke was the team he most often battled for Southern Conference and then ACC supremacy. Case always seemed to have the upper hand when it mattered â€“ he beat the Devils in five conference title games (and twice in the semifinals) between 1948 and 1956. Duke got so frustrated by finishing second to the Old Gray Fox that AD Eddie Cameron hired Caseâ€™s right-hand man, Vic Bubas, to revive the Blue Devil program.
The two programs went back-and-forth for the next three decades. Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Valvano were hired within weeks of each other and battled each other furiously in the 1980s.
Itâ€™s only been since Valvanoâ€™s departure that Krzyzewski has seized control of the rivalry. The Blue Devils have dominated the last two-plus decades, winning 39 of 47 games since Valvano was replaced.
That record might be more lopsided except that the teams have rarely met twice in the post-expansion era. Duke and N.C. State have faced each other just 10 times in the last seven years since Boston College entered the league (with Duke winning eight).
Top 10 college basketball games: Week 9
No. 1 Duke at No. 23 North Carolina State, Saturday, noon ET, ESPN
No. 1 Duke, led by senior forward Mason Plumlee (pictured), looks nearly unstoppable this season. Junior C.J. Leslie (pictured) and No. 23 NC State will look to become the first team to dethrone the Blue Devils on Saturday afternoon.
Andrew Jones (FoxSports)
ACC Hoops Power Rankings: Duke still at top
1. Duke (14-0 overall, 1-0 ACC)
The Blue Devils certainly didnâ€™t play like the No. 1 team in the nation this past week in wins over Davidson and Wake Forest, but they remain unbeaten and well-established to continue forging forward. Ryan Kelly had a big week with 40 points, which is a really good sign. If he can score 15 a night, Duke can take another step forward.
2. NC State (12-2, 1-0)
Disregard NC Stateâ€™s struggle at Boston College over the weekend; it was expected and was healthy for the Wolfpack. NC State needs to learn how to win close games on the road against foes that target it, unlike in years past. Mark Gottfriedâ€™s team got better with the win.
3. Maryland (13-1, 1-0)
Mark Turgeonâ€™s team has a lot of weapons and may be the team to watch moving forward. The Terrapins are deep, can defend when necessary and are well-coached. The 94-71 win over struggling Virginia Tech showcased all that the Terrapins can do with the ball. Thereâ€™s more to come.
4. Miami (10-3, 1-0)
What a terrific win the Hurricanes had in taking care of Georgia Tech in the Yellow Jackets’ new home. Rion Brown was excellent off the bench, but the Hurricanes defended big time. They better do a lot more of that to make up for not having Reggie Johnson for the next several weeks or more.
8. Georgia Tech (10-3, 0-1)
The Yellow Jackets built up a lot of confidence racking up six consecutive wins before Miami got them 62-49 on The Flats. Perhaps had Brian Gregory played a tougher slate of games, the Jackets would have been better prepared for Miamiâ€™s athletic ability and length.
Andrew Jones (FoxSports)
Duke’s Kelly leaves game after re-injuring foot
Duke senior forward Ryan Kelly on Tuesday night re-injured the same right foot that kept him out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments last spring.
Kelly, who scored 12 points in the first half of top-ranked Duke’s 68-40 victory over Clemson at Cameron Indoor Stadium, didn’t play in the second half, a decision made by coach Mike Krzyzewski after learning his third-leading scorer had hurt his foot in the first half.
“We don’t know the extent,” Krzyzewski said. “It’s the same foot. He’ll have to do a CAT scan, X-rays and all of that, but we don’t know the extent of the injury. As soon as we find out (Wednesday), we’ll put some word out. We’re hopeful that it’s not real serious. But for precautionary reasons, we felt it wasn’t good to play him in the second half.”
A 6-foot-10 forward capable of draining perimeter shots as well as taking the ball to the basket, Kelly was removed from the game with 56 seconds left before halftime and the Blue Devils leading 25-10. He re-entered, however, with 33 seconds left when Duke had regained possession. Krzyzewski put the Raleigh native back in without knowing he had already suffered the injury.
The staff doesn’t believe any added damage occurred during Kelly’s last stint on the court.
Jeff Goodman (CBSSports)
First-half review: During football, an interesting hoops season unfolded
â€¢ The Duke Blue Devils are No. 1 in the nation. No one predicted this. Not even Mike Krzyzewski. Seriously. Many predicted Coach K & Co. would finish third in the ACC, but this Duke team has improved chemistry and ball movement, quality leadership and a now-confident star in senior big man Mason Plumlee. It began with a win in Atlanta over Kentucky and also includes victories over Louisville, Minnesota, Ohio State, Virginia Commonwealth and Temple. Duke has accomplished more than any other team and sits atop the polls. Does that mean the Blue Devils are the most talented team in the country? No, but one worthy of its ranking.
â€¢ What the heck is going on in Chapel Hill? Roy Williams did lose four first-rounders from last season (Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Kendall Marshall), but it’s still somewhat surprising that the Tar Heels have already lost four games, were blown out by Indiana and dropped the ACC opener at Virginia. James Michael McAdoo has been unable to carry the load and freshman point guard Marcus Paige isn’t quite ready. Leadership is also lacking with the Tar Heels.
â€¢ The jury remains out on North Carolina State. This is a team that was picked to win the ACC, but then came a 20-point drubbing to Oklahoma State back in mod-November out in Puerto Rico. Mark Gottfried’s team has talent and a nice blend of youth and experience, but will they live up to the hype? The Wolfpack have yet to notch a victory over a Top 25 team.
â€¢ A trio of coaches that need to start winning — and quick — in order to save their jobs: Southern California’s Kevin O’Neill, Wake Forest’s Jeff Bzdelik and Rice coach Ben Braun. O’Neill’s Trojans are just 6-9 overall, Bzdelik’s team is 7-6 and Braun’s Owls are just 3-10 and have been ravaged of talent this past offseason.
Eamonn Brennan (ESPN.com)
The 2013 RPI is officially here
Yes, the RPI is old, outdated, and all too easily gamed, and we have vastly better ways of evaluating, sorting and ranking college basketball teams. But year after year, rant after rant, the RPI lives on. Its persistence is cockroachian.
Still, much as we wail and gnash our teeth about the metric, the bottom line is that as long as it plays a major role in how teams are understood by the selection committee, we have to keep an eye on it, too. As such, I am obligated to inform you that the NCAA released its first public edition of the official RPI rankings on its website this week; you can see them here.
Joe Lunardi (ESPN.com)
One-On-One: Dave Doeren
Since being named NC State’s new football coach on December 1, Dave Doeren has been a busy man. GoPack.com recently sat down with the Pack’s new head coach to see what he has been up to since accepting the job.
NC STATE BASEBALL
Akula Wolf (Backingthepack.com)
Danny Canela, NC State â€˜Just Kind of Parted Waysâ€™
“We just kind of parted ways.” I have absolutely no idea what that means, but the timing sure is odd given that Canela was going into his senior season. Transfers are plenty common in college baseball, but now Canela is going to spend his final year at an NAIA school? Very strange.
Canela was third on the team in extra base hits last season, and he led the Pack in walks. His isolated power was very good by NC State standards, and the team would have benefited from having him in the lineup this year, whether he was the DH or catcher. Austin hopefully will hit for more power this season, but Canela’s departure is a significant loss for State’s offense regardless.