February 14, 2012
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
Mark Gottfried excited about recruiting class
Do the upcoming games against Duke, Florida State and UNC, give your team a chance to cement your NCAA Tournament chances?
“I’m not talking about three games, I’m talking about one game. That is all we are worried about. I think a mistake that people make is they are grouping these three together. We have six very, very difficult conference games left, not three, six. We have one very difficult game Thursday and that is where our attention is. It isn’t anywhere past one game.”
Do you feel you have work to do to reach the NCAA Tournament?
“Without question. We have a long way to go. Like I said, at minimum, seven games left. We have a lot of work to do, a lot of games to be played. Our attention is not on anything other than Thursday’s game.”
What did it mean to have three signees make the McDonald’s All-American Game?
“We’ve got great opportunity here for young players. We have a new coaching staff. There is so much to sell here at NC State. The fact that they came tells me that they want to be a part of something really unique, and that is trying to build a basketball program back up. I don’t know if it says anything bigger than that. We could have one of those or two of those guys maybe not make that game, but we’d still be extremely proud of the guys we got and excited about them coming, whether they are in that game or not. I think the fact that they are in that game brings more attention obviously to the group. We are excited about them.”
What has it been like to clash on the recruiting trail with Duke and what impact will the game this week make?
“Oh, I don’t know, are you saying the winner, the outcome of the game determines recruiting? Not necessarily. We have a long ways to go here. When I took the job back in April, I was told repeatedly quite frankly how mediocre we’ve been. That was drilled into me. At the same time, we have big dreams, big goals. We are going to compete hard on the floor. We are going to compete hard in recruiting. We are going to compete. Hopefully, we can keep improving.”
Has the recruiting rankings showed that NC State can compete with Duke and UNC for recruiting success?
“I don’t know if it’s a statement. I don’t want to make it more or less than it is. We are going to recruit really hard, and we are going to try and recruit great players. I think there is enough to sell at NC State to attract very good players. Whether every year you have McDonald’s All-American’s or not, I don’t know. There are a lot of great players who have never played in the McDonald’s All-American Game.
“We are going to recruit the guys that we think fit in here. If North Carolina and Duke, or Georgetown, doesn’t matter, UConn happen to be recruiting those players, that doesn’t mean that we are going to stop recruiting them and not try. We are going to continue to aggressively go after the guys that we would like to have here.”
JP GIGLIO (N&O)
N.C. State: A NCAA team?
Mike Krzyzewski thinks N.C. State is an NCAA tournament team and so does ESPN braketologist Joe Lunardi.
Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried is not so sure.
“Without question, we have a long way to go,” Gottfried said Monday on the weekly ACC coaches teleconference.
The Sports Xchange (PackPride.com)
Pack Building A Solid NCAA Resume
It’s OK for the Wolfpack to think about the impact of its record so far on its NCAA Tournament aspirations.
The Wolfpack has moved into a decent position by winning seven of its first 10 ACC games. Included in those victories was Thursday night’s 61-52 victory against host Georgia Tech, avenging what was really the only ugly loss to date on the Wolfpack’s resume.
“You always do (look at the possibility of making the NCAA field),” coach Mark Gottfried said. “Anybody that tells you they don’t, they’re lying. You always do. But that can not be our emphasis every day.”
The Wolfpack (18-7) will have a week off to assess its credentials embarking on the final month of the regular season. It would be a good idea for N.C. State to concentrate on specific assignments as well because the most brutal stretch of the schedule is next. Three nationally ranked teams await the Wolfpack.
There’s a road game to Duke, followed by home matchups against Florida State and North Carolina. Then there’s a trip to Clemson.
“The way to get in the tournament is to win games,” Gottfried said. “Everybody that’s in the tournament every year, they’ve played their way in.”
– Senior G Alex Johnson scored five points in the Feb. 9 game against Georgia Tech. That’s a notable accomplishment because he accounted for all the points off the bench for the Wolfpack, which has received more than 86 percent of its points this season from players in the starting lineup.
For Johnson, it’s the most points in any ACC game in his first season since transferring to the Wolfpack. In the previous three games combined, N.C. State reserves had scored a total of six points (two points in each of the games), so any contributions in the scoring column from reserves seem monumental.
Watch The Mark Gottfried TV Show
In this week’s episode, Head basketball coach Mark Gottfried discusses the Georgia Tech game with host Tony Haynes. Mark Thomas visits with sophomore forward C.J. Leslie and go behind the scenes with the team on a recent road trip.
CAULTON TUDOR (N&O)
A basketball mid-season 4-pointer
Jim Young (accsports.com)
Three To Look Back On/Three To Look Forward To, Feb. 13
N.C. State at Duke, Thursday, 9 p.m.
What happens when the Wolfpack’s ACC schedule stops getting cushy and starts getting real? We’re about to find out, folks.
State’s trip to Durham begins a murderous three game stretch for Mark Gottfried’s team. After the trip to Duke comes home games against FSU and UNC. While the Wolfies have a lot of wins, they lack a big resume boosting victory. They’ve got three big opportunities coming up.
Back to this matchup. State has the inside power to battle Duke. And in Lorenzo Brown it’s got a point guard who could give Duke trouble off the dribble. But does it have enough depth and enough composure to pull out a win in Cameron?
Keep An Eye On
C.J. Williams. He’s the closest thing to a lockdown perimeter defender that State has. Expect him to spend a lot of time chasing Austin Rivers around.
FSU at N.C. State, Saturday, 1 p.m.
Yeah, I know we just spotlighted an N.C. State game. Want do you want us to do, try to hype up Clemson’s visit to UNC?
The vibe for this game is really dependent on what happens in Durham on Thursday. If the Wolfpack win that one, it’ll be playing with house money against the Seminoles. But if State loses that one, there will be tension in air at the RBC Center. I imagine many Wolfpack fans want to get that NCAA resume win out of the way before UNC comes to town.
If you like inside power, this is your game. Bernard James, Xavier Gibson, Richard Howell, C.J. Leslie … it’ll be a man’s game in the paint.
Keep An Eye On
Ian Miller. While the big men are pounding into each other and Michael Snaer’s likely attracting the attention of State’s perimeter D, a player like Miller – a talented scorer and a North Carolina native – could play a decisive role.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
BEYOND THE ARC: Classic finish leaves UNC crying a Rivers
4. Wolfpack payback: It wasn’t pretty, but N.C. State went to Atlanta, took care of business against Georgia Tech 61-52 on Thursday. In doing so, the Wolfpack avenged its most painful defeat of the season – an 11-point home upset at the hands of the Yellow Jackets in January – while keeping its NCAA tournament hopes alive.
1. Perfect no more: Scott Wood’s ACC record of consecutive made free throws came to an end at 66 on Thursday when he finally missed in N.C. State’s win at Georgia Tech. It was Wood’s first miss the season. He was so shaken by the end of his run of perfection that he ended up missing two more in the game.
2. Zeller’s two minutes of hell: UNC center Tyler Zeller is a frontrunner for ACC Player of the Year honors, but he’d just as soon forget the final two minutes of Wednesday’s loss to Duke. During the horrific stretch, he missed two free throws, tipped a ball into the wrong basket and was guarding the Blue Devils’ Austin Rivers on his game-winning shot.
3. Untimely injuries: Maryland lost point guard Pe’Shon Howard for the rest of the year with a torn ACL. Virginia forward Joe Harris suffered a broken bone in his left hand during Saturday’s loss at UNC. Although he’s likely to try to play through the injury, Harris’ injury can’t be good news to an already thin Cavaliers team as we had into the home stretch of the ACC season.
4. Rollercoaster ‘Noles: Just when it looked as though Florida State had finally figured out how to be a front-runner, coach Leonard Hamilton’s team reverted back to its old, bad habits by laying an egg against BC – a team that was tied for last in the league going into the game. The Seminoles have now beaten both UNC and Duke, but have also lost to bottom feeders BC and Clemson. Go figure.
5. ‘Never Tweet after a loss’: That’s the lesson Maryland’s Terrell Stoglin learned Sunday at Duke. Unhappy about being benched in the second half, the ACC’s leading scorer fired off an angry Tweet while coach Mark Turgeon was still in the interview room explaining the loss to the Blue Devils. Apparently he heard about it later, because the original Tweet was taken down and replaced with one apologizing for the outburst.
ACC basketball midseason awards
Most Improved Player
Bret picks: C.J. Williams, N.C. State
If you add up the scoring averages for Williams, a Jack Britt High School graduate, from his first three seasons at N.C. State, the total is 12.7, topping out at 4.7 as a junior. As a senior, he’s averaging 12.2 points thanks to a solid mid-range game and a rediscovered touch from outside the 3-point arc. Williams’ perimeter defense and passionate leadership are equally as important.
Stephen Schramm (FayObserver.com)
The Rebound: Film study edition
The word for the week is: Emulate
Duke’s Miles Plumlee put together a stunning effort in Saturday’s victory against Maryland, grabbing a career-high 22 rebounds. He said he was inspired by watching former Blue Devil Brian Zoubek, who became a rebounding savant midway through his senior season, helping power Duke to an NCAA title.
In that spirit, what other players would be well served to watch some film of former standouts in hopes of getting a similar boost?
N.C. State’s Scott Wood should watch C.C. Harrison
A deadly shooter, Wood is one of the Wolfpack’s most potent offensive weapons. But against rival North Carolina, he’s had a difficult go of it. Prior to dropping 11 points in the team’s first meeting this season, Wood had scored a total of 15 points in his four games against the Tar Heels.
Watching Harrison hit eight 3-pointers in a 1998 Wolfpack victory in Chapel Hill could get Wood in the right frame of mind to do similar damage.
Andrew Skwara (accsports.com)
ACC Hoops Power Rankings, Feb. 13
1. Duke (21-4, 8-2 ACC)
A little luck certainly played a role in the Blue Devils’ upset in the Dean Dome (see Tyler Zeller’s deflection that banked into his own basket), but so did a great comeback and a breakout game (along with a game-winning shot for the ages) from their freshman Austin Rivers (29 points). After following that with a 18-point home win over Maryland, the Blue Devils have earned the right to call themselves the best team in the ACC, again.
Games This Week: Thursday vs N.C. State, Sunday at Boston College
Previous Rank: No. 3
2. North Carolina (21-4, 8-2)
The Tar Heels should have beaten Duke. There’s no denying that. There’s also no denying they made some big errors and missed free throws under pressure in the final minute. But bouncing back from such a heartbreaking loss with a convincing win over a ranked Virginia team in their very next game shows that the Tar Heels have the kind of mental toughness required to make a deep NCAA tournament run.
Games This Week: Wednesday at Miami, Saturday vs Clemson
Previous Rank: No. 2
3. Florida State (17-7, 8-2)
Duke’s win over UNC would have paved the way for the Seminoles to take sole possession of first place in the ACC standings, but two hours earlier they suffered an inexplicable loss to to lowly Boston College, which has lost more than twice as many games (17) than its won (8). Beating a hot Miami team three days later keeps the ‘Noles in control of their own destiny in the conference (they are tied with Duke and UNC for first, but have beaten both), but their resume took a big hit.
Games This Week: Thursday vs Virginia Tech, Saturday at N.C. State
Previous Rank: No. 1
4. Virginia (19-5, 6-4)
Winning a big game in conference play continues to elude the Cavaliers and if they can’t find more help for the steadily productive Mike Scott (17.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg) you get the feeling that will remain the case.
Games This Week: Tuesday at Clemson, Saturday vs Maryland
Previous Rank: No. 4
5. Miami (15-8, 6-4)
In order for the Hurricanes to go from the NCAA tournament bubble (where they are at the moment) to a legitimate threat to do some damage in the bracket, Reggie Johnson must get more consistent. The big man who had 27 points in their upset of Duke, was held to just four in Miami’s loss at Florida State.
Games This Week: Wednesday vs North Carolina, Sunday vs Wake Forest
Previous Rank: No. 5
6. N.C. State (18-7, 7-3)
Don’t be too impressed with the Wolfpack’s three-game win streak. All three opponents (Boston College, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech) have sub.-500 records. A short road trip to Duke on Thursday followed up with a home game with Florida State just 40 hours later will really show what Mark Gottfried’s club is made of.
Games This Week: Thursday at Duke, Saturday vs Florida State
Previous Rank: No. 6
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
ACC power rankings after the first of two meetings between Duke and North Carolina
1. Duke (21-4, 8-2)
Miles Plumlee’s 22 rebounds were the most by a Duke player since Randy Denton’s 25 in 1970
2. North Carolina (21-4, 8-2)
Shooting guard Reggie Bullock is 3-for-15 from 3-point range in the Tar Heels’ last four games
3. Florida State (17-7, 8-2)
After playing Virginia Tech on Thursday, FSU returns to action Saturday afternoon at N.C. State
4. Virginia (19-5, 6-4)
Joe Harris broke a bone in his left, non-shooting hand vs. UNC, but he shouldn’t miss any time
5. N.C. State (18-7, 7-3)
The Wolfpack faces Duke, Florida State and North Carolina in a six-day stretch starting Thursday
6. Miami (15-8, 6-4)
The loss to FSU ended a five-game winning streak, and North Caroilna is next for the Hurricanes
Robbi Pickeral (ESPN.com)
Conference Power Rankings: ACC
Remember earlier this season, when it looked as though the ACC might not get more than three NCAA tournament bids? As many as six are making cases now. My attempt at this week’s power rankings:
1. Duke: The Blue Devils beat Maryland over the weekend, but it will be their come-from-behind victory at UNC on Wednesday — rallying from 10 points down in the final 2:38 — that will linger in the annals of the rivalry. Freshman Austin Rivers, who scored 29 points (including the winning 3-pointer) in the victory, averaged 20 points, three rebounds and three assists for the week — and shot his team back to the top of these ratings.
2. North Carolina: The Tar Heels — led by forward Tyler Zeller — bounced back from the Duke loss with a double-digit win over Virginia. But they’ve hit only 2 of their past 16 3-pointers and will be thin on the bench until freshman P.J. Hairston (who missed Saturday’s win with a sore foot) returns.
3. Florida State: Forward Bernard James scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half to help beat Miami, but the loss at Boston College has to burn. Guard Michael Snaer, who had been shooting better than 57 percent from 3-point range during his team’s seven-game winning streak, managed only one 3 against the Eagles, proving again how key he is to this team’s success.
4. Virginia: Coach Tony Bennett was able to rest star forward Mike Scott for a long second-half stretch in a blowout victory versus Wake Forest. But Bennett would have liked to have used him more at UNC, where the senior was in foul trouble early and his team lost by double figures. The Cavs have lost two of their past three games, both to Top 25 foes.
5. NC State: Junior Scott Wood finally missed a free throw, ending his ACC-record streak at 66. But the Wolfpack won their only game last week, at Georgia Tech, avenging their loss to the Yellow Jackets last month. They have won three in a row.
6. Miami: Reggie Johnson was held to four points as FSU halted the Hurricanes’ winning streak at five. Next up: a home rematch with UNC.
NC STATE FOOTBALL
SOURCES: Kitchings To Be Named RB Coach
According to sources close to the situation, Air Force Academy running game coordinator and running backs coach Desmond “Des” Kitchings is expected to be named running backs coach at NC State.
Kitchings spent the 2011 season at Air Force after a three-year stint at Vanderbilt where he was the running game coordinator and briefly offensive coordinator in 2010.