Wednesday Woolgathering

NC STATE BASKETBALL
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Joe Giglio (N&O)
Wood, Howell set for NC State senior night game against Wake Forest

Scott Wood, Richard Howell, Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie will play one last home game together for N.C. State.

The Wolfpack (21-8, 10-6 ACC) closes its home schedule Wednesday night against Wake Forest (WRAL, 9 p.m.), a concept seniors Wood and Howell aren’t quite ready to process.

“Nah, not yet,” Howell said.

Wood was even less wistful about the prospect of his final home game.

“I’m more concerned about getting the win than anything else,” Wood said. “I could care less that it’s my last home game, that’s more for the parents. It will be more emotional for them.”

Wood, Howell, Brown and Leslie have started together in 78 of the past 97 N.C. State games. The veteran quartet led the program to its first NCAA tournament appearance in six years, and into the Sweet 16, last season. The group has posted consecutive 20-win seasons and has the Pack in position for a second straight NCAA tournament bid this March.

They’ve lived through the program’s valleys under former coach Sidney Lowe and its renaissance in two seasons under coach Mark Gottfried.

Juniors Brown, who leads the ACC in assists (7.0 per game) and Leslie, who leads the team in scoring (15.1 points per game) for the second straight year, have the option of returning for a another season but both are expected to jump early to the NBA. Leslie said no matter what happens, it won’t be the same without Howell and Wood.

“I’m going to miss those guys but you try not to think about,” Leslie said. “You don’t really miss it until it’s gone.”

Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
N.C. State’s Richard Howell, Scott Wood enter senior night with long-standing connection

Five years ago, Scott Wood reached out to his future teammate with a text. They had crossed paths on the AAU circuit, but Wood sent the message to officially introduce himself to the newest member of N.C. State’s recruiting class.

Richard Howell replied. To say he did anything more would be an embellishment.

“I was like, ‘Word, what’s up Scott?’ ” Howell recalled with a laugh. “That’s the last time I talked to him before we got to school.”

The connection is much clearer now. Tonight, when the Wolfpack (21-8, 10-6) faces Wake Forest (12-16, 5-11) at PNC Arena, it’ll be the final home game for the two seniors.

Wood is a four-year starter, and the late-blooming Howell has emerged as an ACC Player of the Year candidate. Together, they’ve helped N.C. State return to relevance within the conference and on a national scale.

Howell is a double-double threat who leads the league in rebounding, and Wood was its most prolific 3-point shooter entering this week. Many of his open shots follow a solid screen from Howell, a bearded, 250-pound roadblock.

“If you kind of have the expression on your face that you’re looking to knock somebody on a screen, I feel like the refs are kind of looking for that, so I try to keep the same expression,” Howell said. “I do chuckle a little bit when someone just runs straight into me and falls down.”

GoPack.com
Pack Faces Wake Forest On Senior Night

Wake Forest (13-16, 5-11 ACC) vs. NC State (21-8, 10-6 ACC)
9 p.m. | Raleigh, N.C.
PNC Arena (19,700)
SERIES RECORD: NC State leads 136-100
LAST MEETING: Wake Forest, 86-84, 1/22/13
TELEVISION: ACCN
Play by play: Tim Brant Color: Dan Bonner

For seniors Richard Howell, Jay Lewis and Scott Wood, Wednesday’s home game against Wake Forest will be their last appearance at PNC Arena. The trio along with managers Aaron Bessey, Ronnie Tortoriello and Tyler White will be honored during pre-game ceremonies.

Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried says this group has been enjoyable to coach during his first two seasons at the helm of the NC State program because of their work ethic.

“In the two years that I’ve had with Richard, Scott and Jay,” Gottfried said, “they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do. They understand the importance of winning and that makes me appreciate them in a tremendous way.”

NC State enters Wednesday’s game with Wake Forest having won five of its last six contests and in contention for a first-round bye in the upcoming ACC Tournament.

Gottfried said his team has a lot to play for in its final two regular-season games with the postseason approaching.

“We’re playing for a first-round bye and potentially finishing third (in the ACC),”Gottfried said. “We’re also playing for an NCAA Tournament berth and NCAA Tournament seeding.

“We’ve talked about that with our players, so I anticipate our guys being ready to go.”

A victory over the Demon Deacons would also give the Wolfpack 16 home wins for the first time since the 1999-2000 season, when it won 17 on its home court. It would also give State a 7-1 ACC home mark for the first time since 1990-91.

Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
Wake Forest Tries To Stay Perfect In ACC Road Games

Wake Forest’s offense has been respectable at home, and the Deacs averaged more than 1.1 points per possession in their wins over NC State and Miami. Road games are a different story. Jeff Bzdelik has not been so successful at winning on the road since coming to Wake, and this year has changed nothing–Wake is 0-7 on the road in league play. (Let’s not change that tomorrow okay thanks guys.)

Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
Richard Howell And Scott Wood Have One More Home Game *sobs*

I knew we’d inevitably arrive here since I haven’t yet discovered a way to halt or reverse time, but it’s still kind of hard to believe that this is the last timeRichard Howell and Scott Wood will play a game in Raleigh. The last four years have been interesting, to say the least. They came here to play for Sidney Lowe and his staff, and that didn’t work out like they might have hoped or assumed.

But they didn’t quit when a coaching change was made, and they’ve only gotten better since then. Richard Howell is on pace to set career-highs in FT%, 2FG%, turnover rate, and block rate. He’s still a great rebounder at both ends, and I’ll always have an extra bit of respect for guys who clean up at the defensive end. Defensive rebounding takes a different sort of motivation. A lot of players (and teams) are great at the offensive end and bafflingly terrible at the other.

Rich has never been afraid to scrap, and he’s simply out-worked a lot of guys who are either taller or more athletic. In addition to his efforts on the glass, he’s added a decent mid-range game, and he has a deceptively quick first step that can lead to layups against the unprepared. Now he might be a first-team all-conference player. This is the breakout season that always seemed possible, and dammit, this is also the end.

Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
N.C. State vs. Wake Forest: Three to know

1. Respect the technique

N.C. State beat Wake by 36 points in Winston-Salem last season, then won by 11 in Raleigh.

When they met again at Joel Coliseum earlier this season, the Wolfpack wasted a 16-point lead in an 86-84 loss. The Demon Deacons scored 51 second-half points in the stunning upset.

“They played a phenomenal second half against us earlier in the year, and they’ve gained our respect,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said.

It should be noted that Wake coach Jeff Bzdelik delivered his “you give respect by showing no respect” line after last year’s game in Raleigh. So expect N.C. State to show Wake no respect tonight.

PackInsider.com
NC State Recruiting Update 3/5/13

- Julius Randle will be making his college decision on March 20th on ESPNU. Does this mean he knows where he’s going? He says no, but I think he has a good idea.

NC State has done enough to land him, but are there any factors that could steer him away from Raleigh? Well, Kansas is having a very good season and Kentucky, well you can never count them out, but I think State really does or did have a chance here. The Pack’s main linke to Randle was his relationship with Rodney Purvis. I know things were looking good early on with Randle and there was a time when State felt like they were the front runner, but Purvis had that little slump and found himself losing minutes to Warren and Lewis. I know Purvis wasn’t happy with his playing time, but I think he understood. He said in an interview recently that he didn’t think he deserved to be on the court during that funk. He has since broken out of that cold spell, but does that effect Randle’s decision? That’s the big question. Gottfried made the right coaching move with Rodney, TJ and Lewis…those who produced, played. But the question is, ‘How did Randle view that?’ If he’s looking at the big picture he’d see that with Zo, CJ, Wood and Howell, there’s only one real spot for 3 guys and those four starters will all be gone next season, opening up a boat-load of PT. State should be a very attractive alternative for Randle, it just depends on how he’s looking at it.

ACC BASKETBALL

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Luke DeCock (N&O)
Uncertainty surrounds all-ACC vote

With a week still to go, this ACC season has the potential to produce a topsy-turvy all-ACC team that no one saw coming five months ago. Without even a consensus player-of-the-year candidate, it’s almost impossible to figure out who will end up being honored.

Mason Plumlee, once a national player-of-the-year candidate, is now facing competition within the ACC from Virginia Tech’s Erick Green and Miami’s Shane Larkin while Virginia’s Joe Harris makes a last-minute run.

N.C. State put two players on the preseason all-ACC team, but both have been surpassed by teammate Richard Howell. Across the league, it’s hard to figure out who’s up and who’s down.

First, a few certainties. Plumlee, despite his relative fall from grace, is still clearly worthy of a first-team place and a strong player-of-the-year candidate. The same can be said for Green and Larkin – one the nation’s leading scorer, the other the best player on the ACC’s best team.

That leaves two spots open at the moment, and the breeze is blowing in the direction of Harris and Howell, with everything still subject to change in the final week.

What a fair, but strange, first team that would be – which is to say unexpected, not undeserving.

stonzm9 (bloggersodear.com)
ACC Tournament Seeding Projections

Struggling to make heads or tails of the mess that is the ACC standings? I used the KenPom projections to generate 100 simulations of the rest of the conference season, and then meticulously studied tiebreaker scenarios to create seed-line probabilities. Wake Forest has the potential to be six (6!) different seeds in next week’s tournament, the most of any ACC team. Click through for a rundown on where each team stands, and what it means moving forward.

North Carolina State

Seeds Possible: 3, 4, 5, 6

Seeds in 100 Sims:
3 seed: 5 times
4 seed: 28
5 seed: 67

What to Expect:
NC State is relatively likely to be the 5 seed, but a first-round bye is not yet out of the question. Unfortunately for State fans, Coach Gottfried and company have little control over the situation. State fans who want a bye need to root hard for UVA in particular to lose at least once this week. Note that the 6 seed is still a possibility for NC State, although it is very unlikely.

Does it Matter?
Somewhat. State is safely in the tournament field, and I don’t think that would change even with a loss in the 5/12 game. Barring a run to Sunday, the Wolfpack are probably stuck in the always-unpredictable 6-10 seed range for the NCAAs. The ACC Tournament is little more than a tune-up for State this year.

NC STATE BASEBALL

GoPack.com
No. 8 Wolfpack Drops Slugfest

Eighth-ranked NC State fell 24-12 in the rain and cold on Tuesday night at Elon, despite two homers from sophomore Trea Turner.

The Wolfpack (10-2) dropped its first contest since opening day, snapping a 10-game winning streak in the process. Turner finished with a 4-for-5 night including two home runs, a triple, five RBIs, three runs, and two stolen bases. The sophomore scored in the first inning to improve to 20-for-22 on scoring when reaching with less than two outs, but that number fell to 20-for-24 by the end of the game. Turner is now nine stolen bases away from tying the NC State career record.

Elon (6-5) took a 3-1 lead at the end of one inning, and never looked back thanks to five runs in the second and nine more in the third. State dug itself an 18-3 hole by the end of the fourth, but chopped that lead down to 20-12 by the middle of the sixth. Elon added one in the bottom sixth and three in the eighth to pull away.

Sonny Jones (FayObserver.com)
Campbell at N.C. State: Preview and a pick

Teams: Campbell Camels at N.C. State Wolfpack
Site: Doak Field, Raleigh
Series: Wednesday, March 6, Noon
Admission: Adults: $8; Seniors/Youth, $5
Records: Campbell: 10-1, N.C. State: 10-1
Coaches: Campbell: Greg Goff, 6th season, 144-144 (Montevallo, 4 seasons, 152-84). N.C. State: Elliott Avent, 17th season, 609-382 (prior to Tuesday’s game against Elon)

Notes
• N.C. State leads the all-time series 45-13-1. The teams split last season with N.C. State winning in Raleigh 9-2 and Campbell winning in Buies Creek 8-6. The Wolfpack won in 2011 by scores of 3-2 and 10-2.
• If you’re hoping for a pitching matchup between N.C. State’s Carlos Rodon and Campbell’s Ryan Mattes, don’t count on it. The Wolfpack opens ACC play this weekend against Clemson. Rodon, who struck out 16 on March 2 in a 2-1 win over Florida Atlantic, figures to go in Game 1 against the Tigers.
• N.C. State is ranked No. 8 in the latest Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s NCAA Division I rankings and No. 12 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll. Campbell is receiving votes in the NCBWA poll.

Called Third Strike’s pick: Let’s hope Mother Nature isn’t the winner, although, according to the National Weather Service, it doesn’t look good. Nothing says baseball like a weather forecast calling for a chance of rain and snow showers before 10 a.m. Assuming there is a game, this is a great test for Campbell, which could use some stronger competition heading into Big South play in a couple of weeks. A Campbell win at Doak Field will be impressive, but don’t believe it will happen. N.C. State wins 5-3.

NCAA

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Joe Lunardi (ESPN.com)
Bracketology

March 5, 2013

ACC (5)

Duke(1), Miami(2), North Carolina(7), NC State(8), Virginia(11)

TeamRankings.com
Bracketology 2013

N.C. State Wolfpack NCAA Tournament Bracketology Projection

Prediction Seed: 7

Chris Dobbertean (SBNation.com)
Bracketology: The bid picture is clearing up a bit

ACC

Bids Today: 5/On Friday: 5

Protected Seeds (2): East No. 1 Duke, West No. 2 Miami
The Blue Devils got Ryan Kelly back on Saturday — and they needed all 36 of his points to hold off the Hurricanes. While Miami can clinch the ACC Tournament No. 1 seed with a win in either of its two remaining very winnable home games, Duke represents the conference on the top line, thanks to an impressive non-conference performance and unbeaten record with Kelly in the lineup. The Hurricanes are certainly still in the hunt; however, they may have to wait until a potential third meeting in Greensboro on Selection Sunday to make their final argument.

Of course, if Duke falls in Chapel Hill on Saturday night, the top seed race will open up just a bit more.

This Week’s Schedules
Duke: Virginia Tech (Tue.), @North Carolina (Sat.)
Miami: Georgia Tech (Wed.), Clemson (Sat.)

Near Locks (2): North Carolina, N.C. State
After five wins on the trot, it appears the Tar Heels are peaking at exactly the right time. If they knock Maryland off the bubble in College Park on Wednesday, they’ll be a sure lock no matter what happens when Duke visits three nights later.

As for N.C. State, the Wolfpack’s final regular season schedule might be considered easy for most squads, but they’re a likely adventure for a Mark Gottfried team. Credit to the Pack for taking care of Boston College and Georgia Tech last week, but two tricky games await.

This Week’s Schedules
North Carolina: @Maryland (Wed.), Duke (Sat.)
N.C. State: Wake Forest (Wed.), @Florida State (Sat.)

Bubble In (1): Virginia
Much like Maryland in mid-February, the Cavaliers followed up a huge win over Duke with a damaging loss at Boston College. It would be easy to overlook Sunday’s one-point setback in Chestnut Hill if not for the half-dozen other losses Virginia has accumulated against teams from outside the Top 100. A sterling 7-2 Top 50 record, featuring four Top 50 wins, might very well go to waste if the Cavaliers manage to struggle in their final two regular season contests.

This Week’s Schedule: @Florida State (Thu.), Maryland (Sun.)

Bubble Out: Maryland
The Terps’ Wednesday night loss at Georgia Tech should have eliminated them from the conversation. Then, Saturday happened and the bubble picture became even more muddled. A 3-7 record against the Top 100 isn’t great, but Maryland will have two shots to improve upon it this week. More troubling than the lack of quality wins is the two bad losses the Terrapins picked up in late February after they’d done so well avoiding them all season.

This Week’s Schedule: North Carolina (Wed.), @Virginia (Sun.)

Five ACC Games To Watch
North Carolina at Maryland, Wednesday 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Virginia at Florida State, Thursday 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
N.C. State at Florida State, Saturday 2 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Duke at North Carolina, Saturday 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Maryland at Virginia, Sunday 6 p.m. ET (ESPNU)

Pac-12

Bids Today: 5/On Friday: 5

Bubble Out: Arizona State
Three straight losses have all but eliminated the Sun Devils from the picture. Yes, Arizona State has a 4-4 record against the Top 50, but it also has a woeful RPI rank (93rd) driven by a weak non-conference schedule and losses at Utah and against DePaul in Tempe. Defeating Arizona Saturday will help a bit, but the Sun Devils will need to cut down the nets in Las Vegas to qualify.

This Week’s Schedule: @Arizona (Sat.)

About 1.21 Jigawatts

Class of '98, Mechanical Engineer, State fan since arriving on campus and it's been a painful ride ever since. I live by the Law of NC State Fandom, "For every Elation there is an equal and opposite Frustration."

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14 Responses to Wednesday Woolgathering

  1. Wufpacker 03/06/2013 at 8:14 AM #

    “Turner is now nine stolen bases away from tying the NC State career record.”

    That’s a pretty amazing statistic IMHO.

  2. Rochester 03/06/2013 at 8:49 AM #

    As for N.C. State, the Wolfpack’s final regular season schedule might be considered easy for most squads, but they’re a likely adventure for a Mark Gottfried team.

    I call crap on this. Maybe I’m taking a “I can pick on my little brother, but you sure as heck better not touch him” attitude, but I’m sick of these people crapping on us. We’re 5-1 since Zo came back, with our last three wins coming by 13 points or more. I realize we’re no lock to go 2-0 here, but no one in this conference is a lock. Wake beat Miami, after all. So stop trying to be clever at our expense and suck it, Dobber.

  3. Dr. BadgerPack 03/06/2013 at 9:04 AM #

    The Sonny Jones baseball “insight” (term used very loosely) is pretty pathetic…

  4. Texpack 03/06/2013 at 9:47 AM #

    I’m telling you, we are primed to run the table. This team has found it’s identity. Barring some freakish performance against us we are set up perfectly.

  5. graywolf 03/06/2013 at 10:01 AM #

    College baseball…..go figure. You go to Elon and lose 24-12. Basketball…..we must win out to open ACC play on Fri. and hope someone else loses. I hope we don’t realize the ACC tournament is on the road.

  6. packof81 03/06/2013 at 10:16 AM #

    “I’m telling you, we are primed to run the table.”

    Hope you’re right. We really need to put the quietus on Wake Farce.

  7. state73 03/06/2013 at 10:55 AM #

    DeCock is way off base. Richard Howell should be a lock for first team. Double- doubles almost every night. Number 1 in rebounding, and the most consistent player in the conference.

  8. vtpackfan 03/06/2013 at 11:03 AM #

    I know it’s only early March and the weather sucks for a South Fla guy but……

    Tszam: One inning, 6 ER, strikes out the side, is the capsule of this young mans career at State. He came out as such a great Prep recruit but never shook off the Tommy John surgery. I would hope Avent/Holliday will look at the freshman (especially the tall kid from PA) to establish themselves as weekday starters.

  9. cWOhLFrPAiCKs 03/06/2013 at 11:08 AM #

    ^^ agree whole-heatedly, state73. Howell may not be the flashiest player in the league, but he brings it night in and night out. Would be a shame if he doesn’t get it.

  10. PackerInRussia 03/06/2013 at 11:40 AM #

    Wow, 24-12. If you’re not a fan of pitching, that must have been a fun game. I think Elon could have out-scored Wisconsin’s basketball team.

  11. IMFletcherWolf 03/06/2013 at 1:03 PM #

    State73: DeCock stated that Howell has been State’s best player all season and that he believes he would make the First Team All-ACC if votes were taken today. I’m not sure what you mean when you say that DeCock is “off base.” There are no clear great players in the conference, so the votes will be spread out over many players. Hence, his comment about Howell not being a “lock.” I believe he will make the First Team – and deservedly so.

  12. Tau837 03/06/2013 at 1:29 PM #

    Regarding Howell, I posted this on another forum a couple days ago (so the numbers don’t reflect Duke’s game yesterday):

    “These stats are for conference play only:

    Howell: 16 G, 35.3 MPG, .497 FGP, .761 FTP, 12.7 PPG, 11.9 rpg, 29 AST, 22 TO, 21 STL, 17 BLK
    Plumlee: 16 G, 36.0 MPG, .556 FGP, .645 FTP, 15.7 PPG, 9.6 rpg, 36 AST, 49 TO, 20 STL, 29 BLK

    That’s really close. Plumlee with edges in FGP, PPG, AST, and BLK probably gives him the overall edge, but Howell outrebounds him by a good margin and is #1 in the conference in both offensive and defensive rebounding. Plumlee also has more than twice as many TOs.”

    It seems pretty hard to justify leaving Howell off 1st team at this point. I think he’ll make it.

  13. vtpackfan 03/06/2013 at 1:58 PM #

    Love the story of Howell replying to Wood during AAU ball. I can just imagine some continuation…
    Howell: “Who RU?”
    Wood: “Going to State-played with Julius Mays”
    Howell: “Who is he?”

  14. packalum44 03/06/2013 at 3:31 PM #

    Memo: Tendencies

    Attn: ACC Officials
    From: John Swofford and John Clougherty
    Date: March 6, 2013
    Subject: Richard Howell

    It has recently come to our attention that Richard Howell has a “tendency” to laugh and remain stoic when he sets screens.

    Ensure to be extra diligent on anticipating fouls each time he or any player in red so much as grins.

    Also if Richard or any red player do not change facial expressions for more than 10 seconds, be especially vigilant in anticipating an illegal screen or any other form of off-the-ball foul.

    If somehow a player in red chuckles while remaining stoic at the same time, immediately call a technical foul. Something bad certainly happened we can figure it out after the game.

    P.S. It goes without saying to extend your diligence to the fans of PNC Arena. They have tendencies to hurt the feeling of the officials. If any referee has their feelings hurt, swiftly publicly humiliate said fan by expelling them from the arena.

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