NC STATE BASKETBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Life after Duke, UNC wins hasn’t been so kind to Wolfpack
Lorenzo Brown is happy that N.C. State knocked off No. 1 Duke on Saturday and that the Wolfpack is 3-0 in the ACC, but he’s also tired of talking about the last game.
A road game with Maryland, maybe the last trip by N.C. State to the Comcast Center for the foreseeable future, awaits the No. 14 Wolfpack (14-2) on Wednesday night, and that’s where the Wolfpack’s focus is, Brown said.
“I’m happy we won, but we still have more games to go,” Brown said. “It’s a regular game, it wasn’t the national championship or anything.”
Brown said the players haven’t talked about Duke since Saturday’s 84-76 win at PNC Arena. Getting past wins over Duke or North Carolina has been a problem for N.C. State over the past 20 years.
Since the start of the 1992-93 season, N.C. State has 14 regular-season wins over Duke and UNC. In its next ACC game, N.C. State’s record is 1-12, with the one win coming against UNC in 2002-03, which was preceded by a home win over No. 3 Duke.
None of the post-Duke/UNC losses were to the Blue Devils or Tar Heels, but five were to Maryland.
The Terrapins (13-3, 1-2 ACC) have had N.C. State’s number recently, especially in College Park, Md. Maryland, which is in the process of leaving the ACC for the Big Ten, has won 18 of 20 home games in the series and nine of the past 10 games overall.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Wolfpack still has work left to do, even after beating Duke
If you’re of the opinion that N.C. State’s upset of then top-ranked Duke on Saturday was validation of its selection as the ACC’s preseason favorite and a signal that the Wolfpack’s long-suffering basketball program had finally gotten over the proverbial hump, you’re only half right.
The memorable 84-76 victory did prove that coach Mark Gottfried’s veteran team is capable of playing with and beating anyone in the country.
But when it comes to that hump, the one that has often looked as high and intimidating as the mountains that line the western border of our great state, let’s just say the book is still out on that one.
For this Wolfpack team to truly differentiate itself from those that have preceded it during the 2½ decades since its school’s last ACC championship, it needs to put the celebration of Saturday’s triumph behind it and continue winning – starting with Wednesday’s game at Maryland.
“We beat a great team and a great coach, but we can’t stop here,” start forward C.J. Leslie said after being carried off the floor at PNC Arena on the shoulders of fans who stormed the court at the final buzzer. “We’re going to come back out and give it our all.”
It’s a task that in a lot of ways, might be even more difficult than the one State just accomplished against the rival Blue Devils.
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
N.C. State at Maryland: Three to know for Wednesday
No. 14 N.C. State (14-2, 3-0) at Maryland (13-3, 1-2), Wednesday at 7 p.m. on ESPN2
3. Breaking down the opponent
Maryland opened the season with a 72-69 loss against Kentucky and won the next 13 games, including the ACC opener against Virginia Tech. The Terrapins’ best non-conference victories came against Northwestern, George Mason and Stony Brook.
Maryland has lost two straight games, falling 65-62 at home against Florida State and 54-47 at Miami. Former Maryland guard Terrell Stoglin, who entered his name into the NBA draft after receiving a one-year suspension, wasn’t exactly impressed with the effort.
watching my old team play is literally a joke ! what happened to college basketball? how dare u all bash me ! smh
Raleigh’s Dez Wells, who played with C.J. Leslie in high school at Word of God before transferring to Hargrave Military Academy, scored 18 of Maryland’s 47 points. He considered transferring to his hometown school after being expelled from Xavier in August, but N.C. State wasn’t one of his four finalists.
Wells was declared eligible for 2012-13 two days before Maryland’s season opener and is the team’s second-leading scorer at 12.2 points per game. Alex Len, a 7-foot-1 sophomore, averages 13.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks, highlighted by a 23-point, 12-rebound, four-block performance against Kentucky.
The Terps have uncertainty at point guard and power forward. Seth Allen and Pe’Shon Howard have struggled running the offense in the last two games, meaning 6-6 sophomore Nick Faust could spend more time there. He played only five minutes against Virginia Tech because of muscle spasms, had 14 points against Florida State and shot 1-for-8 against Miami.
At the ’4′ spot, senior James Padgett returned to the starting lineup against Miami and played 17 minutes, grabbing five rebounds and scoring one point. Shaquille Cleare was going to start at center, allowing Len to operate away from the basket as a power forward, but back spasms forced Cleare to come off the bench and limited him to four minutes.
Charles Mitchell played only 12 minutes because of an “immaturity issue,” and coach Mark Turgeon pulled a surprising move by inserting walk-on Spencer Barks for two minutes.
Game Time: 7 p.m.
No. 20 NC State (14-2, 3-0 ACC) at Maryland (13-3, 1-2 ACC)
SERIES RECORD: Maryland leads 76-73
LAST MEETING: NC State, 79-74 (1/8/12)
PxP: Jon Sciambi Color: Jay Bilas Sideline: Jeannine Edwards
“We just want to pick up where we left off in our last game,” said senior Richard Howell, who was named the ACC Player of the Week for his 16-point, 18-rebound effort. “We just want to keep the momentum going against Maryland.”
The ball has been rolling the Wolfpack’s way for the last 10 contests, the program’s longest winning streak since the 1988-89 team won 11 in a row. A victory in Wednesday’s 7 p.m. contest – the 150th meeting between the two old rivals – would give second-year head coach Mark Gottfried and his team the school’s best record to start the ACC season since the 1973-74 national championship team won all 12 of its conference contests.
Howell has been a big part of the Wolfpack’s success in its first three league games. He has grabbed double-figure rebounds in each of the three contests and posted his ninth double-double of the season and the 22nd of his career against the Blue Devils.
He was a big reason the Wolfpack overcame an early 14-4 rebounding deficit against Duke, grabbing 14 of his 18 boards in the second half.
“I think rebounding is kind of a lost art,” Howell said. “It has a lot to do with both mental and physical toughness. If you can’t beat 14-4, that means you are getting smacked around.
NC State at Maryland Game Notes
Matt Norlander (CBSSports.com)
Why NC State fans should expect a loss Wednesday at Maryland
Something I always keep in mind: For as interesting and fun as these kind of trends and statistical nuggets are, they have little true impact. Most of State’s players weren’t even in kindergarten when this Duke/UNC hangover trend began. It has no real bearing on how NC State will play Wednesday. These players don’t carry the images of all the losses in their heads. State has three seniors who were part of the 2010 win over Duke/loss to Maryland, but it’s not like they were factors.
Unless the discussion and bend of the trend seeps into the psyche of the team, this is merely one of the funkier streaks in college hoops, one that’s bound to turn around if Gottfried continues on the track he’s built. If the Wolfpack do indeed lose to Maryland, this pattern will have almost nothing to do with it.
I will say, though, that this tendency is so purely State-ish. There is always something about the program that allows its fans to wallow, and even amid this season of reclaim, we’ve found a tiny reason for anxiety.
Andrew Jones (FoxSportsCaronlinas.com)
Wolfpack must avoid letdown versus Maryland
To further validate itself after knocking Duke from the No. 1 ranking in the nation last Saturday, N.C. State can’t slip up at dangerous Maryland on Wednesday.
A loss to the 13-3 Terrapins would take away some of the luster of beating the Blue Devils, but would also cast a shadow of doubt over the Wolfpack as a team with a seemingly legitimate national agenda.
This is a very losable game for the Wolfpack because the Terrapins have the composition of a team that should give the nation’s 14th-ranked program problems. The Terps are deep, talented, athletic, possess the ability to get hot from the perimeter and have a terrific player in the post. They are also well-coached by Mark Turgeon and are quite hungry coming off consecutive losses.
Then consider that Comcast Center can be an extremely difficult place for visiting teams and that this Wolfpack team wasn’t overwhelming in its ACC opener at Boston College, and bolting out of College Park with even a one-point victory will be a significant achievement. It also may require a heck of a performance, too.
If Saturday’s win over the Blue Devils is indeed a sign of the times for the ACC in 2013 as opposed to a flash-in-the-pan performance, Mark Gottfried’s team must be ready to claim a big road victory.
N.C. State should pass the test at Maryland and could roll until visiting Duke on Feb. 7. That includes a visit from North Carolina during that stretch.
Saturday’s win over Duke wasn’t a fluke. The Wolfpack believe they’re the best team in the ACC right now, it’s hard to argue they aren’t. Now it’s a matter of going out and validating the belief they have in themselves.
Let the great Nick Faust point guard experiment begin?
This morning, the Nick Faust-playing-point-guard idea seemed little more than a twinkle in Mark Turgeon’s eye, a “hey, we might decide to give this a shot at some point down the road” half-baked thought.
Now? Uh, guys, kind of sounds like this is happening:
“Had a great practice, because he wasn’t trying to shoot the ball, he was just trying to run our team,” Turgeon said. “He wants to be a point. He wants to play there. It’ll allow me to get Seth off the ball some.
“Nick got seven shots up the other day and two, maybe two and a half were good shots. He was good today, disciplined today, ran our team, made guys better, which Nick can do. He defended and he led. We need Seth to score. Getting Seth off the ball will help him score a little more.”
Note the consistent use of “will”, not “would” or “might.” Maybe it’s just reading too far into things, but the more Turgeon talks about this possibility, the more it sounds like it’s not just some crazy hare-brained idea, but instead something that he’s going to give a real run out at some point, maybe even as soon as tomorrow.
And I’m finding it tough to blame him. What Maryland truly needs right now is probably a little stability, but Turgeon’s in a tough situation there, because he has to make sure he’s stabilizing the right things. Getting a more stable lineup doesn’t do anyone much good if the stability simply results in a stagnating offense that can’t produce, because that’s what the pieces add up to. Maybe more stability would mean that the current lineup would eventually start producing, but after the past two games, how many people really want to take that gamble?
I mentioned earlier today that I’d try to dig up some old stats I had crunched over the offseason about Nick at the point last year, and after some searching I did finally find them. The takeaway: there isn’t all that much to indicate that the team was ever much better with Faust running point instead of Howard, but he did grow into the position and at the very least upped his own productivity, plus did little to make me think there should be any reason not to give it a try.
Alex Prewitt (WashingtonPost.com)
Coach Mark Turgeon: Terps exploring Nick Faust at point guard
In the reality-check world of ACC play, however, Howard and Allen have struggled with their decision-making at the point. They enter Wednesday’s matchup against North Carolina State with a combined 3-to-10 assist-to-turnover ratio over Maryland’s two-game losing streak. That contrats with the stats of Hurricanes point guard Shane Larkin, who had 10 points, six assists and zero turnovers Sunday evening at BankUnited Center, eliciting rave reviews from Turgeon.
Having Faust at point guard, Turgeon said, could allow the Terps to play more scorers at once in an attempt to jump start an offense that set a season low for points in Coral Gables, Fla. against Miami.
“Yeah we talked about it,” Turgeon said. “It’s hard right now, not a lot of practice time, a lot of games piling up on us. But I know he knows the position, he wants to play it, and it’s something we’re looking at most definitely. He’s not scoring the ball, it can get some more scorers on the floor. He rebounds well for us and can defend. Talked about last week, didn’t do it last night, maybe one or two possessions I think, but we practiced it and it might be an option Wednesday.”
Turgeon singled out point guard and the power forward position as the two areas where the Terrapins “are not playing well.” James Padgett started in place of Shaquille Cleare (lower back spasms) while Charles Mitchell sat because of a disciplinary issue.
But the point guard problem has been more glaring. Allen is the higher risk-reward option, often mixing spectacular layups and steady three-point shooting with 2.3 turnovers per game.
Alex Prewitt (WashingtonPost.com)
N.C. State Coach Mark Gottfried breaks down the Terps-Wolfpack matchup
“I think the transition game is their strength, I think they really run,” Gottfried said in a telephone interview Tuesday morning. “They’re like a lot of us. When they make shots they’re all a lot better. Then I think they have a lot of different weapons, a lot of them are young but talented.
“We have a team that’s been through the wars of this league. They’ve experienced that, which we hope will always be a plus for us. We’ve then got some young freshmen who are contributing well. We’re like a lot of teams. We’ve gotten better from the start of the year.”
And there’s the big difference between Maryland and the Wolfpack. No. 14 North Carolina State returned four starters from last season’s team, including leading scorer C.J. Leslie (16.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg), junior Lorenzo Brown (13.0 ppg, 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio) and reigning ACC player of the week Richard Howell, a 6-foot-8, 257-pound monster who hung 16 points and 18 rebounds on Duke and averages a double-double this season.
Of course, that’s without mentioning three-point specialist Scott Wood (12.3 ppg, 45.2 percent three-pointers) and freshmen T.J. Warren (12.3 ppg off the bench) and Rodney Purvis (9.8 ppg). So yeah, Gottfried has some weapons at his disposal.
But no N.C. State player stands taller than 6-9, so Gottfried, like most other ACC coaches, has focused the game plan on Alex Len.
“The first thing that all of us coaches are trying to deal with is Alex inside,” Gottfried said of Maryland’s 7-1 center. “That’s where everything starts with them. Not a lot of teams in our league have a player like him. That’s the matchup or the part of the game that becomes critical. [When teams stop Len] it’s not been one thing. Some teams have doubled him, some teams have tried to be real physical, offensively got him to some foul trouble.
“He’s just gotten a lot stronger, a lot more confident. I think offensively, he’s like most players. He’s improving as a scorer as well. It’s going to be difficult for us. We’re not that big. We have a tough challenge.”
Howell matched up well against Duke’s Mason Plumlee, out-dueling the all-ACC candidate, who put up a double-double of his own. The big-bodied forward figures to guard Len, with the 6-9 Leslie handling Maryland’s power forward, be it James Padgett, Charles Mitchell or even Len if Shaquille Cleare is on the floor, too.
Alex Prewitt (WashingtonPost.com)
Mark Turgeon expands on Maryland’s point guard situation
“Nick got seven shots up the other day and two, maybe two and a half were good shots. He was good today, disciplined today, ran our team, made guys better, which Nick can do. He defended and he led. We need Seth to score. Getting Seth off the ball will help him score a little more. And we all know Pe’Shon’s a good player. Pe’Shon’s just got to start playing that way.”
But Howard’s minutes could dwindle even further if Faust excels at point guard. Howard hasn’t made a field goal through three ACC games, at times looking tentative offensively and over-dribbling. Turgeon said it wasn’t a confidence issue. Rather, Howard was “creating [his] own problems.”
When asked if he sent a message to Howard over the past few days, trying to jump-start one of Maryland’s two captains, Turgeon was quite blunt.
“My message since the last game is quit feeling sorry for yourself, because no one else is,” Turgeon said. “Maybe your dad is. Get your head out, start playing the way you’re supposed to play. Quit pouting. I guarantee North Carolina State isn’t feeling sorry for him. Neither is North Carolina,” which Maryland visits on Saturday.
Faust has some experience at point guard, filling in last season for the injury-plagued Howard. By giving Faust ball control, Turgeon hopes, he’ll display better shot selection, trying to create off the dribble rather than firing errant jumpers on the wing like he did against the Hurricanes.
Inside Wolfpack Sports
Inside Wolfpack Sports takes you behind the scenes of the NC State vs. Duke men’s basketball game.
Lauren Brownlow (accsports.com)
Three To Look Back At/Three To Look Forward To, Jan. 15
No. 20 N.C. State 84, No. 1 Duke 76
In case there was any doubt, N.C. State is a legitimate ACC regular-season title contender. (Just like everyone predicted going into the season, of course.) This was a huge win for the Wolfpack under Mark Gottfried and the biggest win for the program in nearly a decade (Julius Hodge and company knocked off No. 1 Duke at home in 2004). It was also a fantastic national showcase for the best the league has to offer. N.C. State had a disappointing start this season, but it’s safe to say it has bounced back just fine.
The Blue Devils were bound to lose at some point, but with their injury situation, more losses may follow. Duke didn’t have Ryan Kelly (who is out indefinitely with a foot injury), but fought hard against N.C. State anyway and played very well, considering. The real problem came when Seth Curry went down late in the game with an ankle injury. Fortunately for Duke it doesn’t appear that Curry will miss any future games. Either way, these two teams are the clear best of this league this year, and the rematch in Cameron should be one of the most anticipated games of the season.
Special shoutout: Richard Howell.
Yeah, Calvin “C.J.” Leslie led the Wolfpack with 25 points. But he wasn’t one of the N.C. State players that Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski chose to single out for “special praise”. After the game, Krzyzewski was asked about Howell’s big second half of 10 points and 14 rebounds after Howell’s relatively quiet first half (six points, four rebounds). I’ll let Krzyzewski take this one:
“The kid’s good. He’s one of the most unique players in the country, Howell. He’s a kid that every team would want…and would be so easy to play with. He plays with amazing maturity and he rebounds the heck out of the ball. The kid is one of the better players. They have a lot of talent, but uniqueness in (Lorenzo) Brown in transition and Howell on the rebounding, those are exceptional qualities, and they have that.”
N.C. State at Maryland, Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.
Coming off of an emotional win over Duke, N.C. State will be facing a Maryland team that could really use a win. At this point, though, Alex Len and Dez Wells can’t do it on their own. (No, literally, those two shot 13-of-24 at Miami while their teammates combined to shoot a brisk 5-of-33.) Will N.C. State have a letdown after its big win? (Is that the most overused subplot to a sporting event ever?) Will Maryland’s confidence be too shaky to pull off a much-needed upset? If I knew the answers to questions like this, would I be .500 in picks this year? (Rhetorical.)
Player to watch: Dez Wells.
He was the best thing Maryland had going for it at Miami, as the sophomore swingman had six of Maryland’s 14 (!) points at halftime on Sunday and for nearly 12 second-half minutes, no one scored a basket without Wells scoring it himself or assisting on it. He’s a special player, and he’s shown that he’s willing to take on as much of the scoring load himself as he possibly can. He’s also a Raleigh native, so do with that what you will, N.C. State fans.
Michael Lananna (accsports.com)
ACC Freshman Watch, Jan. 15
1. T.J. Warren, N.C. State (12.25 ppg, 67.2 FG%, 3.50 rpg)
T.J. Warren’s numbers have come back down to Earth a bit, sure, but they’re still a stratosphere above what most of his peers have been posting. The forward had a curiously quiet 24 minutes against Georgia Tech last week (no points and just one field-goal attempt), but even when he’s not scoring (which is rare), he’s good for a few rebounds and a steal per game. And in most games, he’s N.C. State’s biggest scoring threat off the bench. Warren definitely needs to improve at the free-throw line, where he’s shooting just 48.6 percent, but I’d say his 67.2 field-goal percentage makes up for that deficiency.
Previous rank: No. 1
7 Rodney Purvis (9.81 ppg, 45.3 FG%, 1.75 apg)
I like what I’ve seen out of Rodney Purvis in the last few weeks. The fact that he hasn’t moved up in the rankings is more a testament to the talent of the ACC’s freshmen than it is a knock on him. Though he eventually fouled out of the game, Purvis and his 19 points were crucial in staving off Boston College a couple of weeks ago. And he’s continued to shoot for a good percentage since then. On a team with C.J. Leslie, Richard Howell, Lorenzo Brown and T.J. Warren, Purvis isn’t going to be the first scoring option N.C. State turns to, and perhaps that has hurt his production a bit. But when Purvis does get the ball, he’s proven he knows what to do with it.
Previous rank: No. 7
8. Seth Allen (8.19 ppg, 2.81 apg, 1.22 AST/TO)
Seth Allen has kicked it up a notch, to say the least. The guard has battled some turnover issues and inconsistency this season off the bench, but in a four-game stretch starting Dec. 29 against Delaware State, Allen averaged 14.25 points per game. Coach Mark Turgeon took notice and started Allen in place of the struggling Pe’Shon Howard at Miami on Sunday. While Allen wasn’t great in that 54-47 loss, he was far from the only one who struggled. Look for him to bounce back.
Previous rank: No. 10
Joe Ovies (WRALSportsfan.com)
ACC still a wide open affair
Saturday’s contest between NC State and Duke was such an impactful local sporting event that folks are still discussing peripheral issues left in its wake. There has been debate as to whether or not the win itself was an upset at all, if the Wolfpack will suffer a letdown against Maryland on Wednesday, if the result would have been the same had Ryan Kelly been healthy and whether or not Duke should still be considered the top team in the country based on their early season résumé.
And, of course, there’s the viral phenomenon of Will Privette, the wheelchair-bound NC State student who had the student body president push him into the center of the post-game pandemonium. Privette has done countless interviews, including a spot on “Today” with Matt Lauer, and inspired an officially licensed shirt with “Roll Pack” emblazoned on the front.
All of this has taken attention away from what’s happening in the rest of the ACC, which has been confusing to say the least. One could run themselves in circles trying to gauge where various teams stand at this point, so maybe all the talk about NC State and Duke is for the best.
Joe Lunardi (ESPN.com)
NC STATE FOOTBALL
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
NC State Football Recruiting: Dravious Wright, Sean Paul Commit
Dave Doeren picked up his first commitments as NC State’s head coach on Monday–if you don’t count the previously-committed prospects he’s been able to keep on board. Dravious Wright and Sean Paul, who are teammates at Vero Beach High School in Florida, have decided to attend NC State.
Both Paul and Wright are listed as 5’10″ defensive back prospects.
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
Shadrach Thornton Singlehandedly Revives Planking
Thornton spent Monday night doing everything he could to bring back planking, and if you are horrified at the thought of an NC State athlete potentially risking his safety in any sort of manner, well, I cannot blame you. We’re all fretting about the same thing. Is Thornton fretting about anything? SHIT NO. He is planking on top of the McDonald’s golden arch. I’m guessing this is on Western Boulevard, but that doesn’t really matter. SHADRACH THORNTON IS ON TOP OF A MCDONALD’S SIGN.
It didn’t stop there. He was challenged to plank on the big wolf statue in front of the Murphy Center. He obliged.
Omega Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
N. C. State Football Dates Taking Shape
In a perfect world, N. C. State’s new coaching staff and new quarterback would ease into the 2013 schedule against one of their weaker out-of-conference foes, but, according to the official athletic websites of the 2013 opponents, it appears that the opposite will be the case. Louisiana Tech, fresh off a 9-3 season that saw the Bulldogs lead the nation in scoring at over 50 points a game, will kickoff the season in Carter-Finley on August 31st.
Of course the Bulldogs, like the Pack, will be breaking in a new staff after Sonny Dykes bolted for Cal. Hopefully Holtz can do what he did to the South Florida program by the time August 31st rolls around.