January 25, 2012
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Caulton Tudor (N&O)
Gottfried keeping it simple in prep for UNC game
N.C. State basketball coach Mark Gottfried wants to keep things simple in preparations for his first game against UNC as the Wolfpack’s coach.
State (15-5 overall, 4-1 in the ACC) goes to UNC (16-3, 3-1) on Thursday (7 p.m., ESPN).
The Wolfpack hasn’t won in Chapel Hill since 2002-03. The Tar Heels won by 20 at home and by 12 at State last season. Gottfried hasn’t reviewed films of either game.
“I don’t want to get caught in how this team played last year,” Gottfried said Tuesday. “We’re a different team. I don’t know that (going over old tape) does a lot of good … sometimes that actually clouds your judgment.
“We want to approach and prepare for this year’s game with our team and their current team. Let’s be good at being us. Let’s improve.”
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Is State for real? We’ll find out Thursday
No, that’s not a mistake. N.C. State really is 4-1 and tied for first place in the ACC men’s basketball standings more than a quarter of the way through the conference schedule.
And yet, even as the Wolfpack basks in the excitement of its best start since 2003-04, there is a certain skepticism that follows coach Mark Gottfried’s veteran team each time it takes the court.
As Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton said after beating Duke last weekend, nobody ever got into the NCAA tournament with only four wins. By Gottfried’s own standard, State still needs seven more to have a shot at getting into the field.
With that in mind, the question must be asked: Is the Wolfpack really that good, or is its early ACC record nothing more than an illusion created by the most favorable schedule imaginable?
Even the players themselves probably aren’t completely sure. But like the rest of us, they won’t have to wait much longer to find out the answer.
Though State’s upcoming games against North Carolina and Virginia this week won’t make or break its season – win or lose – they will go a long way toward determining whether the Wolfpack is a factor or a fraud heading down the home stretch of the regular season.
Thursday’s game in Chapel Hill will be especially telling.
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
So You Want To Go Up-Tempo (Part XV)
But so far Gottfried has delivered what he said he would. In conference play, NC State is averaging 71.3 possessions per 40 minutes, which ranks second behind only UNC. That’s up from 67.2 poss/40 last season. Overall, State ranks 46th in the nation in adjusted temp, up from 143rd in 2011 and 248th in 2010.
So… we’re a running team now I guess? I don’t know this is weird, man. The UNC-State game could potentially become a track meet. (Herb Sendek, sitting at his desk in Tempe, just felt a cold shiver come on for reasons he cannot explain.)
James Henderson (PackPride.com)
Gottfried: “We Need To Play Our Game”
“Our guys are excited about the opportunity to play. We’ve played good teams this year. I think part of playing a difficult non-conference schedule is you hope it helps you when you get in your league. I thought our schedule in November and December probably helped us Sunday on the road.”
“Outside of foul trouble I anticipate [Kendall Marshall] being in the game a lot. He’s not going to be out of the game much. Again, he is such a good passer and so good in the open floor. It’s hard to take away his strengths in those regards. When he has the ball on the break, good things usually happen. He’s a terrific passer.”
“There is no question this [rivalry] is unique.”
The Sports Xchange (PackPride.com)
Developing The Rotation
QUOTE TO NOTE: “We’re going to try to run and score a lot of points.” — Coach Mark Gottfried, whose team has at least 71 in six consecutive games, including all five of its ACC games.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK’S GAMES:
–at North Carolina, Jan. 26
KEY MATCHUPS: N.C. State will need to lace up the sneakers for this potentially fast-paced game and the Wolfpack’s depth is bound to be tested against a deep North Carolina team, which will be without starting G Dexter Strickland for the first time since his season-ending knee injury. But the Tar Heels are well-stocked and their interior players C Tyler Zeller and F John Henson will provide a big challenge for F Richard Howell in the lane.
–vs. Virginia, Jan. 28
KEY MATCHUPS: The Wolfpack has shown the preference for a faster pace and Virginia will make every attempt to reduce the tempo. This will be the Wolfpack’s only home game during a four-game stretch and keeping track of Virginia F Mike Scott will be one of the key assignments.
Jeniece Jamison (TechnicianOnline.com)
Williams provides senior leadership for the Pack
On every team, seniors are usually expected to lead the team and serve as mentors for the younger members. For Wolfpack men’s basketball, forward C.J. Williams, the only scholarship senior on the team, is that leader and mentor.
Williams, who averages 12.2 points and 3.9 rebounds for State, said he believes the knowledge he’s gained over the past four years fits in well with the younger lineup.
“On the court, I have a little more knowledge about the game because I’ve been through so much for four years now,” Williams said. “We’ve got a lot of smart guys on our team, so it kind of fits in.”
Williams’ clout as a leader is also high with first-year head coach Mark Gottfried. According to sophomore forward C.J. Leslie, Williams, along with sophomore point guard Lorenzo Brown, serves as a coach on the floor.
“I would say it’s both of their jobs,” Leslie said. “He knows that C.J. is older than the rest of us and he’s a very experienced player.”
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
White provides point guard insurance for Tar Heels
Stilman White’s position on the North Carolina basketball team is officially listed as backup point guard. In reality, his role until last Thursday night at Virginia Tech was that of an insurance policy.
He was the player coach Roy Williams hoped he wouldn’t have to use in a major role this season. But now that he has to, Williams is glad he has the freshman from Wilmington at his disposal.
White figures to see expanded playing time begining with Thursday’s game against N.C. State now that starting shooting guard Dexter Strickland is gone for the year with a torn ACL in his right knee.
Although sophomore Reggie Bullock will take Strickland’s spot in the starting lineup and freshman P.J. Hairston will get the bulk of minutes behind him, White should also figure into the equation because of Strickland’s contribution as the primary backup to point guard Kendall Marshall.
Andrew Jones (FoxSportsSouth.com)
ACC Basketball Report Card
N.C. State – Grade: A
A pummeling of Boston College at home and a very impressive win at Miami has the Wolfpack right in the thick of things in the ACC. And, by winning three straight conference games, with each performance a step forward, the inconsistent questions have subsided, for now. BTW, kudos to Scott Wood for breaking J.J. Redick’s all-time ACC consecutive free-throw record by draining his last 58 attempts. (US Presswire)
North Carolina – Grade: B+
Excellent response to the 33-point drubbing at FSU, as UNC was magnificent in the second half of an 82-68 win at Virginia Tech. Carolina overcame hot Hokies perimeter shooting and an injury to Dexter Strickland last Thursday. Now UNC must do it again. The Tar Heels played just once last week.
Virginia – Grade: D
Nobody knew 7-foot Assane Sene meant as much to the Cavaliers as he apparently does. UVa crushed Georgia Tech on the road, 70-38, but fell at home Sunday to Virginia Tech, 47-45. Mike Scott was bottled up because he had to play closer to the basket. This was a bad loss for the Wahoos. (US Presswire)
NC STATE FOOTBALL
James Henderson (PackPride.com)
Davis Switches to NC State
Raleigh (NC) Broughton linebacker Drew Davis picked up an offer from NC State last week and it took just a few days for him to switch his commitment from Minnesota to NC State.
“It’s nothing against Minnesota or their coaches but I want to be close to my family and that is right here in Raleigh at NC State,” said Davis. “I’ve told the coaches at both schools my final decision and I’m excited about it.
“State’s coaches were happy. They are glad that I’m going to be a part of the family and that I will be on campus this weekend for an official visit. I’m ready to get over there.”
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
The Wolfpacker Podcast: Football recruiting update
With National Signing Day quickly approaching on Feb. 1, The Wolfpacker Podcast is back to update fans on NC State football’s class. We talk about the three newest commits, other schools making late runs at the Pack’s pledges and a possible late addition to the group.
Riddick & Reynolds
R&R Podcast: Episode 35
Ernie Myers joins us in the first segment to discuss the continued strong play of NC State thus far this year and helps us look ahead to Thursday night’s big game against UNC.
Segment two features the return of the Page Ratings, Stone Cold Austin’s Lock-of-the-Week and more drunken ramblings from yours truly.
David Glenn (accsports.com)
David Glenn Chats With Mark Gottfried, Jan. 24
David Glenn recently caught up with N.C. State basketball coach Mark Gottfried on Glenn’s afternoon radio show.
Among the topics they discussed: if Gottfried and his family have watched much of the NFL playoffs; how Gottfried’s team’s current standing compares to his expectations coming in; if anyone has warned Gottfried about saying the right things before playing UNC; what Gottfried remembers about the Alabama-Auburn basketball rivalry as opposed to that football rivalry; and if Gottfried has any surprises, such as a bright-red blazer, in store for the N.C. State-UNC game.
Pack Perspective with Mark Thomas
Senior guard C.J. Williams discusses his practice routine and teaches Mark Thomas how to become a better shooter.
AUDIO: Pack Players Talk Heels
Gottfried: This is an opportunity
Scott Wood: We have a lot of confidence
Lorenzo Brown: We want revenge
C.J. Williams: It’s not just another game
C.J. Leslie: This is big!