NC STATE BASKETBALL
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 arenâ€™t quite ready to process.
“Nah, not yet,” Howell said.
Wood was even less wistful about the prospect of his final home game.
“Iâ€™m more concerned about getting the win than anything else,” Wood said. “I could care less that itâ€™s my last home game, thatâ€™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.
Theyâ€™ve lived through the programâ€™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 wonâ€™t be the same without Howell and Wood.
“Iâ€™m going to miss those guys but you try not to think about,” Leslie said. “You donâ€™t really miss it until itâ€™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.”
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
Play by play: Tim Brant Color: Dan Bonner
For seniors Richard Howell, Jay Lewis and Scott Wood, Wednesdayâ€™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.
â€œIn the two years that Iâ€™ve had with Richard, Scott and Jay,â€ Gottfried said, â€œtheyâ€™ve done everything weâ€™ve asked them to do. They understand the importance of winning and that makes me appreciate them in a tremendous way.â€
NC State enters Wednesdayâ€™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.
â€œWeâ€™re playing for a first-round bye and potentially finishing third (in the ACC),â€Gottfried said. â€œWeâ€™re also playing for an NCAA Tournament berth and NCAA Tournament seeding.
â€œWeâ€™ve talked about that with our players, so I anticipate our guys being ready to go.â€
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.
â€œThey played a phenomenal second half against us earlier in the year, and they’ve gained our respect,â€ N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said.
It should be noted that Wake coach Jeff Bzdelik delivered his â€œyou give respect by showing no respectâ€ line after last yearâ€™s game in Raleigh. So expect N.C. State to show Wake no respect tonight.
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 heâ€™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 Packâ€™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 wasnâ€™t happy with his playing time, but I think he understood. He said in an interview recently that he didnâ€™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 Randleâ€™s decision? Thatâ€™s the big question. Gottfried made the right coaching move with Rodney, TJ and Lewisâ€¦those who produced, played. But the question is, â€˜How did Randle view that?â€™ If heâ€™s looking at the big picture heâ€™d see that with Zo, CJ, Wood and Howell, thereâ€™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 heâ€™s looking at it.
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, itâ€™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 Techâ€™s Erick Green and Miamiâ€™s Shane Larkin while Virginiaâ€™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, itâ€™s hard to figure out whoâ€™s up and whoâ€™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 â€“ one the nationâ€™s leading scorer, the other the best player on the ACCâ€™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 â€“ which is to say unexpected, not undeserving.
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
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 Tuesdayâ€™s game against Elon)
â€¢ 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.
â€¢ If youâ€™re hoping for a pitching matchup between N.C. Stateâ€™s Carlos Rodon and Campbellâ€™s Ryan Mattes, donâ€™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.
â€¢ N.C. State is ranked No. 8 in the latest Collegiate Baseball Newspaperâ€™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: Letâ€™s hope Mother Nature isnâ€™t the winner, although, according to the National Weather Service, it doesnâ€™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 donâ€™t believe it will happen. N.C. State wins 5-3.
Joe Lunardi (ESPN.com)
March 5, 2013
Duke(1), Miami(2), North Carolina(7), NC State(8), Virginia(11)
N.C. State Wolfpack NCAA Tournament Bracketology Projection
Prediction Seed: 7
Bracketology: The bid picture is clearing up a bit
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)
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.)