NC STATE BASKETBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Leslie leads NC State to 81-66 win over Wake Forest
Leslie’s 19 points and 10 rebounds helped N.C. State throttle Wake Forest 81-66 for the Pack’s sixth win in seven games and third straight at home by double-digits. N.C. State closed out its home schedule with a 16-1 record, including an 8-1 mark in the ACC.
“I think we’re playing pretty well right now,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “We’ve done a nice job at home, we’ve just got to finish strong.”
The Wolfpack (22-8, 11-6 ACC) will travel to Florida State on Saturday and then its onto Greensboro before a second straight trip to the NCAA tournament. For Wake Forest (12-17, 5-12) it was another frustrating ACC road loss (0-9) in a season that has featured progress at home.
Wake’s 15 turnovers, combined with 16 offensive rebounds and 22 second-chance points for State, was the biggest problem, Wake coach Jeff Bzdelik said.
“Defense, defensive rebounding and turnovers,” Bzdelik said. “That is where we lost the game. We can’t give up easy baskets and have a chance to win.”
No basket came easier than an alley-oop from Leslie to guard Lorenzo Brown (11 points, seven assists) early in the second half, which brought a big smile to Leslie’s face and rare, celebratory fist pump.
Howell and Wood were honored on Senior Night, in the final home game together for State’s veteran quartet of Leslie, Brown, Howell and Wood and then Leslie proceeded to do the heavy lifting. Leslie shone with 19 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks and four assists.
“I thought he was really unselfish,” Gottfried said. “He rebounded well, he didn’t have a turnover, he blocked four shots. It was nice to see him play well.”
Luke DeCock (N&O)
Pack foursome’s legacy yet to be written
For all the time they have spent at N.C. State, four years for Richard Howell and Scott Wood, three for Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie, their legacies at N.C. State will be determined entirely by what happens in the next few weeks.
On the night N.C. State cut nearly all of its final ties to the Sidney Lowe regime – senior night for Howell and Wood and certainly the final home game for Brown and Leslie, with only Jordan Vandenberg remaining from the previous era – it tried yet again to find the spark that propelled the Wolfpack forward in March last year.
For all they have accomplished, they will be remembered by whether they can find it. For this group, there’s still so much yet to be written, and so little time left to do it.
“The main thing is you win games,” Wood said. “That’d be really fitting for this program and all my teammates and all my coaching staff if we could make a good run in the tournament.”
In many ways, the way N.C. State tore apart Wake Forest on Thursday on its way to an 81-66 win was the opposite of the collapse in Winston-Salem, the loss that epitomized the ways this N.C. State team has disappointed this season. Picked to win the ACC championship by both the coaches and the media, the Wolfpack still needs a significant amount of help elsewhere just to avoid playing on Thursday in Greensboro.
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
NC State Beats Wake Forest, 81-66
NC State led by as many as 24 points in the second half before putting it on autopilot for a while, though the Deacs never seriously threatened. A drama-free evening is always a good thing, and more importantly, it gave Mark Gottfried the opportunity to clear the bench. Senior walk-on Jay Lewis nailed a pull-up three-pointer in the waning minutes, prompting a fantastic celebration from the bench. That was one of those this-is-why-college-sports-are-great moments.
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
Wolfpack’s Scott Wood ready to look forward, not back
For the last time as an N.C. State player, Scott Wood walked onto the empty court in a quiet PNC Arena to run through his pregame shooting regimen with manager Tyler White.
Tipoff was two hours away, an 81-66 senior night win over Wake Forest four hours from being secured, and Wood put up 134 attempts over the next 12 minutes.
Starting in close, easing toward the free-throw line, rotating from elbow to elbow, going back and forth from wing to baseline, firing away from five areas behind the 3-point arc, he shot at almost every conceivable spot on the floor.
Of the 134 attempts, 115 went in. When his work was done, Wood headed to halfcourt for his big finish: The high-arching, one-bounce-off-the-court heave. On his seventh try, after hitting the rim on four of the first six, the ball finally fell through the net.
Wood walked toward the bench, sipped some water and disappeared into the tunnel. Business as usual, regardless of the scene that awaited.
Wood had a love-hate relationship with his home building, which doubles as a hockey arena and features abnormally bright lighting. He shot better at PNC this season, hitting 49 percent of his 3-point attempts, a fact the Steelers fan attributed to a name change tied to the Pittsburgh-affiliated bank.
“I’m going to miss it,” Wood said. “It’s your home court. I may not like the lights, but you know what, in the long run, it was my home court and I had a lot of good moments.”
Stephen Schramm (FayObserver.com)
N.C. State freshmen learn lesson from loss, keep pressure on Wake Forest
For T.J. Warren, the loss against Wake Forest on Jan. 22 served as a wake-up call.
That was the night the N.C. State freshman saw firsthand what happens when a team doesn’t come out prepared.
“When we’re not on our game, anybody can sneak up and beat us,” Warren said after the Wolfpack’s 81-66 win in the rematch on Wednesday night. “That’s what I experienced at Wake and we didn’t want to let that happen anymore.”
“They stepped up and I felt like we need that going further in the ACC tournament,” Wolfpack senior Richard Howell said. “I feel like Rodney, Tyler (Lewis) and T.J., they all have potential to be big-time freshmen in the ACC tournament and the NCAA tournament. I told Rodney today that I don’t think of him as a freshman. I think of them as sophomores and they need to start taking responsibility like sophomores.”
Stephen Schramm (FayObserver.com)
C.J. Leslie: N.C. State’s player of the game against Wake Forest
C.J. Leslie watched the introductions of the N.C. State seniors while seated on a courtside table on the baseline. Not known as a fiery type Leslie gave polite applause to each one.
But while he was on the court against Wednesday night at Wake Forest, the junior did all he could to make sure his teammates’ final game on their home floor was a victory.
In the 81-66 rout of the Demon Deacons, Leslie scored a team-high 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He also notched four assists and four blocks.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Bye or no bye, Wolfpack gaining momentum as postseason nears
And from the looks of things, State again seems to be saving its best for last.
Avoiding a second half letdown similar to the one it suffered in Winston-Salem the first time it played Wake Forest – a loss that still ranks as the season’s most mystifying – the Wolfpack took care of business in a 81-66 win against the Deacons that sent seniors Scott Wood and Richard Howell out at the PNC Arena as winners.
The victory was State’s sixth in its last seven games, continuing a late surge that is starting to look and feel a lot like the one that carried it all the way to the NCAA’s Sweet 16 last March.
“It’s all about momentum,” Wood said. “You see it every year. The team that gets hot at the end is the team that usually does well in the tournaments.”
The Wolfpack (22-8, 11-6) is certainly getting hot at the right time and is a team no one will look forward to playing next week. But to have a realistic shot at winning its first ACC tournament title since 1987, State doesn’t want to be put in the position of having to win four games in as many days.
For that to happen, it needs to hold serve its regular season finale at Florida State on Saturday and hope that Virginia loses to either the Seminoles or Maryland in one of its last two games.
It’s a possibility Gottfried’s players said he specifically mentioned in the locker room both before and after Wednesday’s victory, even though he downplayed the goal when asked about it by the media.
“We all can sit around and say ‘if this happened and if that happened and if that happened.’ But what we need to do is play our best basketball,” Gottfried said. “We need to go on the road to Tallahassee with that same mindset, that we want to play our best basketball this time of year and however it shakes out, that’s what it is and you go from there.”
NC State Rolls Past Wake Forest 81-66
C.J. Leslie had 19 points and 10 rebounds to help North Carolina State beat Wake Forest 81-66 on Wednesday night in its final home game.
T.J. Warren added 15 points as the Wolfpack (22-8, 11-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) pushed to a double-digit lead in the first half and coasted after halftime. N.C. State has won three straight and six of seven entering Saturday’s regular-season finale at Florida State, keeping the Wolfpack in the chase with Virginia for the final first-round bye at next week’s league tournament in Greensboro.
The Wolfpack took charge with a 13-0 first-half run and held the Demon Deacons (12-17, 5-12) without a basket for 7½ minutes to build a 15-point halftime lead. N.C. State quickly pushed that lead past 20 points and never let Wake Forest even flirt with cutting it to single digits on the way to avenging a January road loss.
In that game, Wake Forest rallied from 16 down to win 86-84 in an early sign that the preseason ACC favorite Wolfpack would have a tougher time climbing the standings than expected. It was a huge win for the Demon Deacons at the time, right up there with the later upset of then-No. 2 Miami on Feb. 23, but it’s been an otherwise frustrating run to the finish for third-year coach Jeff Bzdelik.
His team had to play without starting point guard Codi Miller-McIntyre, who didn’t travel due to strep throat. The Demon Deacons missed their floor leader, especially once the Wolfpack woke up from an early slumber and picked up the pace to take control.
Wake Forest has lost nine of 11 since beating N.C. State on Jan. 22. Worse, the Demon Deacons fell to 1-24 on the road in ACC games under Bzdelik, including an 0-9 mark this year.
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
NC State rolls to easy win on Senior Night
NC State enjoyed a festive Senior Night by wiping out Wake Forest 81-66 on Wednesday at PNC Arena.
NCSU junior power forward C.J. Leslie thrilled the home crowd with 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four blocks in one his best all-around efforts of the season. The Wolfpack featured four players in double figures and owned the second-chance points category 22-5 to avenge an early-season loss to the Demon Deacons.
NC State improved to 22-8 overall and 11-6 in the ACC and remain in the hunt to grab one of the top four seeds for the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Wake Forest fell to 12-17 overall and 5-12 in the league
NC State seniors Richard Howell, Scott Wood and Jay Lewis combined for 20 points and seven rebounds in the victory.
“I got a little emotional driving to the gym just kind of thinking about it,” Wood said. “I might not like the lights, but in the long run, it was my home court and had a lot of good moments. There are a lot of good memories here and a lot of bad memories here. You never get that opportunity to put on the white jersey at home. I’m going to miss it.”
Howell was able to see his daughter before the contest and share one last experience together at PNC Arena.
“I definitely got close [to being overly emotional], especially when I came off the floor the last time here, and everyone was chanting my name,” Howell said.
The trio were honored prior to the game and coach Mark Gottfried praised their developments and ability to foster a relationship with them.
“One of the joys of coaching, and we all want to win, and we get it,” Gottfried said. “To watch both [Howell, Wood] of them develop their games, I think they’ve both have had unbelievable senior years. It’s very rewarding to me.”
Gottfried said Howell and Wood have been shining examples to their teammates when it comes to the old saying of “To the victors, come the spoils.”
“They epitomize what you want in a basketball player in that they are tremendously unselfish,” Gottfried said. “Their motive is to win.”
James Henderson (PackPride.com)
Gottfried: “It Was A Good Win”
“After the first few minutes… we really got down in a stance and defended them well in the first half. I thought for the last 16 minutes of the first half defensively we made it hard for them to score.”
“I thought we got up and got a little sloppy there. Senior Night… guys are wanting everybody else to play and all that kind of stuff. Overall, it was a good win for us, we’ve got to keep moving forward.”
“I thought [C.J. Leslie] was really unselfish. He rebounded well, he didn’t have a turnover, he blocked four shots, I thought he was active. It was nice to see him play well. That was good.”
“We all want to win, but one of the joys is watching guys develop and build relationships with your players… just watching both them develop their games. I think they both had unbelievable senior years. They’ve got better, they’ve improved.”
“It was very rewarding for me with those two guys because they epitomize what you want in a basketball player in that they are tremendously unselfish. Their motive is to win, and the individual things that are going to come for them, they trust that if they just try to win those things will come later. Not all players are like that. Those guys have done it the right way. I’m very proud of both those two.”
“I’ve watched Richard change physically, emotionally… he’s grown up. He’s a good guy. When I first got here he was moody, you had to kind of break through this wall to get him to trust you, but again that’s a part of the reward for college coaches.”
“We need to play our best basketball. That’s what we need to be worried about. We need to play our best basketball this time of the year. Our mindset is to break this tape down, talk about the things we’ve done well… go to practice tomorrow and see if we can inch forward just a little bit. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Locker Room Report: Wolfpack Players
“Coach Gottfried really wanted us to beat them, beat them bad. That’s what he said.”
“He just said how important it is for us to not play on Thursday, so this game is really important for us.”
“I almost cried myself. I’m going to miss those guys a lot. Both of those guys had a huge impact on my life.”
“That’s what I do. I bring a lot of energy. I’m really fast so I get out in transition.”
“I play starter minutes so it doesn’t really bother me coming off the bench.”
Joe Ovies (WRALSportsfan.com)
Talking Points: Heels & Pack surging
1. Last year NC State was desperately looking for wins to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament, so playing on Thursday in the ACC Tournament ultimately played to their advantage. Now the Wolfpack is looking to avoid that opening round and position itself for the easiest run possible through Greensboro.
Unfortunately for NC State, it’s up to Virginia at this point.
“We can all sit around and say ‘if that happened and if that happened,’” said Mark Gottfried. “What we need to do is play our best basketball and we need to go on the road to Tallahassee with that same mindset.”
As added motivation, Gottfried ditched the usual coach-speak in favor of having his players engage in scoreboard watching. If the Wolfpack take care of their own business against Florida State and the Cavaliers split their final two games, the 4th seed goes to NC State.
2. The highlights of Senior Night for Richard Howell and Scott Wood didn’t happen on the court. Howell’s moments came during the introductions when he brought out his adorable daughter and after the game when he received high praise from Mark Gottfried. Meanwhile, Wood had his last opportunity to hold court with the media horde and drop a few quotables.
On the court, the seniors pushed through some struggles and inched closer to reaching specific milestones. Howell is a few shy of 1,000 rebounds and Wood needs nine more 3-pointers to catch Rodney Monroe’s record.
Jay Lewis, the other senior, eventually came off the bench when the game was well out of reach for Wake Forest. Encouraged by the “we want Jay!” chants, Lewis got the biggest pop from the crowd after burying a 3-pointer in the closing minute.
3. Time to play everybody’s favorite game — “CJ or Calvin?”
Leslie overcame a sluggish start of his own to finish with 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting and 10 rebounds. Along with the double-double, he blocked 4 shots and dished out 4 assists (including a filthy alley-oop transition to Lorenzo Brown). Impressively, Leslie cut the turnovers out and kept silly mistakes like goaltending out his game.
Let’s see what the judges think. Did we see CJ or Calvin in possibly his last game at PNC Arena?
The judges say, “Calvin.”
Ken Medlin (WRALSportsfan.com)
Wood and Howell leave their mark
But during their upper-class years, Wood and Howell became leaders on a team that underwent a resurgence — winning 24 games and making a Sweet Sixteen run as juniors, and almost assuredly leading the Pack back to the NCAA tournament as seniors.
When he’s finished, Wood will likely go down as State’s all-time leader in 3-pointers. And Howell… well, one can make an argument he was the best player in the ACC this season. (I don’t think Howell will win the conference player of the year award, but I do think he merits serious consideration)
The bottom line is, these guys made a difference. And while they’ve played their last home games for the Wolfpack… they still have a lot of basketball left to play this season.
Junior C.J. Leslie had 19 points and 10 rebounds as NC State completed its 2012-13 home schedule with an 81-66 victory over Wake Forest at PNC Arena on Wednesday night.
The Pack is 16-1 at home this season, its second most wins since posting a 17-3 home record in 1999-2000, its inaugural season at PNC Arena.
Coupled with earlier home wins this year against North Carolina and Duke, the decisive victory gave the Pack (22-8 overall, 11-6 ACC) its first home sweep of its Big Four brethren for the first time since 1988-89, when the Pack still played in Reynolds Coliseum under the guidance of head coach Jim Valvano.
The Pack has now won six of its last seven games. It also has 11 ACC regular-season wins for the first time since 2003-04 and is one away from the school record of 12 conference wins, which has happened four previous times, most recently in the 1973-74 NCAA Championship season. This is the first season of the ACC’s 18-game league schedule.
After a ragged start, the Wolfpack blew by the Demon Deacons halfway through the first half and continued to build on its double-digit halftime lead, thanks to a balanced second-half attack.
“We did start a little slow, and they were pretty good on offense to start the game,” said second-year head coach Mark Gottfried. “We started putting pressure on them a little bit and I thought in the last 16 minutes of the first half, we played very well defensively.
“We didn’t play as well defensively in the second half.”
Austin Johnson (PackPride.com)
Howell For POY
While other players are getting a lot more attention, Richard Howell has quietly built a strong case for ACC player of the year.
In a year where the most productive player in the league is toiling for the worst team in the league and no one player is putting together a campaign that gives them a clear edge – it’s safe to say the race for ACC Player of the Year is wide open.
Despite all this, one player who has clearly been one of the five most productive players in the league this season is getting almost no consideration for that award. That player – Richard Howell, NC State’s quiet work horse who never takes a night off and wasn’t even considered one of the top two players on his own team coming into the season.
That preseason perception is probably partially to blame of Howell’s name not coming up in the discussion as much as it should. Another problem is that, even now, Howell doesn’t get a lot of offensive sets run for him nor does he make the kind of plays that show up on highlight reels. He just out works, out muscles and out efforts everyone on the court night in and night out.
But Howell absolutely deserves consideration as the most productive player in the league. Let’s look at some traditional statistics as well as some more advanced metrics to get a closer look at how Howell rates among his contemporaries and why he deserves consideration.
Howell has not only been highly productive as a post player – clearly the most productive post player in the league this season – but he’s also doing a lot of other things you don’t expect a post guy to do well. He’s holding onto the ball, he’s generating steals – he does nothing poorly.
In some seasons, maybe that’s not enough to be a candidate for Player of the Year. But this year, with a weak field, it’s more than enough to deserve consideration.
Ultimately, Howell will probably not win the award. Voters will probably look past his rebounding and vote for players with shinier points per game averages or players on team higher in the standings. But voters shouldn’t be outright dismissing his candidacy – he deserves as much consideration as anyone else in the league.
Robert Reinhard (BloggerSoDear.com)
Recap In Haiku: North Carolina State Romps Wake 81-66
I don’t believe it’s hyperbole to say that this was the worst road game Wake Forest has played this season. In the previous games for the most part we played very poorly, but I rarely questioned our effort. Tonight was absolutely unacceptable in terms of effort. The saying hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard was the blue print for how we beat North Carolina State on January 22. Wake Forest clearly does not have the same level of talent as North Carolina State, who has 4 McDonald’s Americans on their roster, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work just as hard, if not harder. There were countless times when North Carolina State beat us back down court for easy layups and dunks. I wasn’t sure If I was watching an ACC game or the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. There was even a time when Wake seemingly took a nap on the court as State inbounded it from half court directly to T.J. Warren underneath the basket for a dunk. That play summed up this game in a nutshell. I’ll never criticize a team for physical mistakes or lack of athleticism, but all of the mental mistakes and laziness in getting back in transition is just unacceptable.
Gottfried: It’s a joy watching guys improve & grow up
After Senior Night, NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said one of the joys we have in coaching is to watch guys improve and grow up.
Wood: I’ll look back on this one day
NC State’s Scott Wood said he’d look back on his time at NC State one day and remember all the ups and downs he had along the way.
Howell: We want to finish strong
NC State’s Richard Howell said the team wants to finish the season strong and the win over Wake Forest showed that.
Jerry Palm (CBSSports.com)
2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament Prediction
Bracket updated on: Thu Mar 7 07:59:17 2013
Miami (3) Down 1
UNC (8) Up 1
NCSU (9) Down 1
Joe Lunardi (ESPN.com)
March 5, 2013
Duke(1), Miami(2), North Carolina(7), NC State(8), Virginia(11)
Eamonn Brennan (ESPN.com)
College Basketball Bubble Watch
Updated March 7, 2012
Atlantic Coast Conference
Locks:UNC, Miami, UNC, NCSU
Roundball fans in the great state of North Carolina — which, based on my experience, is just about everyone — can breathe deep: North Carolina and NC State have joined the Duke Blue Devils on the lock line. (Sorry, Wake.) North Carolina was the first to earn our lock-worthy respect after its Wednesday night win at Maryland. That left just this weekend’s rivalry game with Duke to play, and come on — it’s not like a loss to Duke is going to keep the Tar Heels out. Then we dove in further and noticed that even though NC State has a trickier matchup (bubble-wise, anyway) at Florida State this weekend, a loss could hardly drop it below the rest of the bubble. In fact, NC State’s CV is nearly identical to North Carolina’s; if one goes in, it’s hard to discount the other. Which leaves just Maryland and Virginia.
Virginia [20-9 (10-6), RPI: 62, SOS: 132] The Cavaliers have one of the greatest — and by “greatest,” I mean “most bemusing” — NCAA tournament profiles of all time. The past seven days are a perfect example why. Last Thursday, UVa got the win of its season, an impressive wire-to-wire 73-68 performance against Duke. And three days later — of course — the Cavaliers lost at Boston College. That dynamic is why UVa’s nitty-gritty page is so lopsided. There’s a series of great wins over Duke, UNC, NC State and at Wisconsin; there are also losses to Georgia Tech, BC, Wake Forest, Clemson, Delaware, George Mason and Old Dominion. It was easier to write some of the bad losses off as injury-riddled, early-season slip-ups, but it’s harder to do so after BC. And that whole truckload of ugly makes wins in Virginia’s final two games — at Florida State and against Maryland — musts.
Maryland [20-10 (8-9), RPI: 68, SOS: 129] As soon as Maryland fell to UNC at home Wednesday, the pronouncements started coming far and wide (OK, maybe just on Twitter): Maryland’s done! They’re going to the NIT! Loud noises! I wouldn’t discount them so fast. Sure, the Terps’ profile isn’t great and they were already on the wrong side of the bubble before Wednesday’s loss. But I’m not sure how much a loss to UNC hurts you at this point, and the bubble doesn’t really operate on opportunity cost. Is Maryland really in worse shape now? Either way, the Terps weren’t in a great spot before the night started, and now they almost certainly need to win at Virginia this weekend in what could end up being a do-or-die bubble showdown. It’s a race to the finish.
Jay Coleman, Mike DuMond, & Allen Lynch
NCAA Tournament “Dance Card”
Below are rankings of all NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams through the games of Tuesday, March 5, 2013, according to the “Dance Card” formula developed by Jay Coleman of the University of North Florida, Mike DuMond of Charles River Associates, and Allen Lynch of Mercer University.
Rank… Team…….. Chance of Bid
1…… Duke…….. 100.00%
9…… Miami……. 100.00%
28….. NC State…. 99.99%
31….. UNC……… 99.98%
45….. UVA……… 74.73%
52….. Tennessee… 12.32%
THE BUBBLE BURST HERE
53….. Iowa St….. 11.87%
58….. Maryland…. 3.64%
65….. Arizona St.. 0.45%
N.C. State Wolfpack NCAA Tournament Bracketology Projection
Prediction Seed: 7
Bracket Projections – Men’s Basketball (2012-2013)
Last update: 2013-03-06 11::44
Duke (1), Miami (1), UNC (6), NCSU (7)
The 2013 Bracket Matrix
Matrix Last Updated: 3/6/13 9:14 PM
Seed… Avg Seed… # of Brackets… Team
1……… 1.02………… 96……………… Duke
2……… 1.92………… 96……………… Miami
8……… 7.68………… 96……………… NC State
8……… 7.89………… 96……………… North Carolina
12…….. 11.41……….. 75……………… Virginia
OUT….. 13.00……….. 1……………… Maryland
NC STATE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Mike Potter (N&O)
NC State has much to gain in ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament
N.C. State will get a very big question answered Thursday at the ACC Women’s basketball tournament.
Will the Wolfpack be invited to a postseason tournament?
The answer will almost certainly be, “yes,” if No. 8 seed N.C. State (15-15, 7-11 ACC) can defeat No. 9 seed Clemson (5-13, 9-20) in their first-round matchup at 2 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum.
If the Wolfpack can beat the Tigers for a third time this season – N.C. State won 79-45 on Feb. 10 at Reynolds Coliseum and 63-47 at Clemson on Sunday – a non-losing season would probably earn a second straight WNIT bid. But if the Wolfpack loses, its season is likely over. Like six other ACC teams, the Wolfpack will go to the NCAA Tournament only if it cuts down the nets on Sunday.
The Triangle’s other two teams will be in the NCAA regardless of what happens this week, and they both have the opening day off.
Top-seeded Duke (27-2, 17-1) will await the winner of the N.C. State-Clemson game for a 2 p.m. matchup on Friday.
“There’s not a whole lot of changes that we’re going to make to our scouting report that we just had at Clemson,” said Wolfpack coach Kellie Harper, who is 5-3 in ACC Tournament play. “I don’t know about getting the team ready. I don’t know if that’s actually easier though. You want to make sure your players are going to be focused when you walk into that arena no matter who you’re playing.
“I think sometimes when you lose a game, you’re able to pick it apart a little easier and find ways to do things differently. When you win, you want to just keep doing what you do. So I think we’ve got to be very careful as a staff that we look at this game as to not only what we did right, but what can we do better.”
Clemson is looking for its first win in the tournament since 2009.
“We’re very familiar with them,” Tigers coach Itoro Coleman said of the Wolfpack. “They’ve won the last two outings. N.C. State is a very good team, very versatile.” Duke, led by first-team All-ACC center Elizabeth Williams, has won four straight regular-season championships and had won two straight ACC tournaments before losing 75-73 to the Wolfpack in the quarterfinals last year.
All games on Sports South
Game 1: No. 5 Miami vs. No. 12 Virginia Tech, 11 a.m.
Game 2: No. 8 N.C. State vs. No. 9 Clemson, 2 p.m.
Game 3: No. 7 Georgia Tech vs. No. 10 Wake Forest, 6 p.m.
Game 4: No. 6 Virginia vs. No. 11 Boston College, 8 p.m.
Eighth-seed NC State will take on ninth-seed Clemson in the first round of the ACC Tournament Thursday at 2 p.m., at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The game will be available in North Carolina on Fox Sports Carolinas. Additional television information can be found by clicking on the RSN affiliates link above. Fans outside the ACC footprint can also watch the game on ESPN3 and follow along on twitter via @PackWomensBball.
The Wolfpack and Tigers play for the third time this season and the second time in the last five days. NC State won both regular-season meetings: 79-45 in Raleigh on Feb. 10 and 63-47 this past Sunday in Clemson. Myisha Goodwin-Coleman is averaging a team-high 13.0 points per game in the two contests, converting 57.1 percent (8-of-14) of her three-point attempts.
Len’Nique Brown has averaged 12.5 points and 5.0 assists, and center Markeisha Gatling is just shy of a double-double average with 10.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.
Thursday is also the 17th meeting in the ACC Tournament between these two original members of the ACC. State owns an 11-5 advantage, including a 5-1 mark at the Greensboro Coliseum. The Wolfpack won the last postseason meeting, 59-54, in the quarterfinals during its run to the championship game in 2010.
Harper’s Recipe For Postseason Success
Head coach Kellie Harper has won a total of six games in Greensboro in just three seasons, including three wins that resulted in a title game appearance in 2010. Keeping things simple and consistent in March has done wonders for this Wolfpack women’s program.
“We’re going to do the same things we’ve done all year long, so our routine doesn’t change a whole lot,” said Harper.
“I think our players do understand that the tournament is special. I feel like they’re starting to get into business mode. I really think they’re focused right now.”
The first two games on Thursday are rematches of regular-season finales played this past Sunday. That includes the Wolfpack’s 63-47 win at Clemson on Sunday, its second win over the Tigers this season. The first game features fifth-seed Miami against 12th-seeded Virginia Tech at 11 a.m.
It brings a unique dynamic when playing the same basketball team twice in a span of five days. For one, the scouting report doesn’t change much.
“It’s easier to prepare for it because the scouting report is done,” Harper said. “There are not a whole lot of changes that we’re going to make to our scouting report that we just had at Clemson.
“I don’t know if that’s actually easier, though. You want to make sure that your players are going to be focused when you walk into that arena no matter who you’re playing.
“When you win, you want to just keep doing what you do. So I think we’ve got to be very careful as a staff that we look at not only what we did right but also what can we do better.”
Harper owns an impressive 18-6 career record in postseason conference tournament games. That includes a pair of Southern Conference titles during her time with Western Carolina. Her first season in 2004-05, the Catamounts won four games in four days, something the Wolfpack will have to do this week in order to cut down the nets in Greensboro.
NC STATE BASEBALL
Eighth-ranked NC State weathered blustery conditions at Doak Field at Dail Park on Wednesday, navigating its way to a 5-2 victory over Campbell behind strong performances from Brett Austin and Will Nance.
The Wolfpack (11-2) pitching staff also returned to form, despite being just hours removed from a nightmare outing at Elon on Tuesday night. Pack pitchers combined to hold Campbell (10-2) to one earned on six hits, striking out three while walking two.
Campbell scored in the top of the first, but NC State rallied to answer and knot the score at 1-1. State fell behind again in the third, but took a 3-2 lead at the end of that frame. The Wolfpack added a run in the fourth and seventh to pull away 5-2.
Austin turned in a 3-for-4 performance with two doubles, two runs, and an RBI in the low-scoring contest. Nance matched him with two doubles of his own in a 3-for-4 game with one run scored.
Trea Turner went 0-for-2 at the plate, but drove in a run on a sac fly, and scored after stealing his eighth base of the year to run his remarkable streak to 21-for-25 on scoring when reaching base with less than two outs. Turner pulls to within eight stolen bases of tying Tom Sergio for the NC State career record after stealing his 65th Wednesday. Turner’s 12-game hitting streak came to an end, but he and Jake Fincher both reached base for the 13th straight game this year.
Josh Easley (1-0) claimed the win in 2 2/3 innings in relief, striking out one while holding the Camels without a baserunner. Woeck was the first reliever out of the Wolfpack pen, going 1 2/3 with one hit allowed. Ryan Wilkins earned his first save of the year. Karl Keglovits drew the start and worked 2 1/3, striking out two while allowing one earned.
Game times for NC State’s series with Clemson have been changed. The Pack will play Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. Sunday’s game remains scheduled for 1 p.m.
NC STATE FOOTBALL
Dallas Jackson (Rivals.com)
Doeren knows team needs new Pack mentality
Doeren was 23-4 in his two seasons at Northern Illinois and took the program to a MAC-first BCS game. The 41-year-old said the challenge that faces him is to figure out what he has before he can go about filling in around it.
“We didn’t recruit what we have here; you can’t just pop in tape of a few games and really know the players,” Doeren said. “Similarly, until you really start to see what you do have, you cannot recruit to improve yourself.
“The process has been hurry up and wait, honestly. We had to hit the ground running in recruiting to fill the last class, and now that signing day is behind us, we need to identify what we want and what we need going forward.”
According to Matt Carter of TheWolfPacker.com, the forward-thinking, aggressive recruiting approach is one of the reasons athletic director Debbie Yow made the change.
“O’Brien really was not her type of coach,” Carter said. “The move was not really a surprise. Debbie puts a major emphasis on recruiting, and she believes in a different type of approach than Coach O’Brien did.
“She wants someone to be proactive. She wants a go-getter and someone who will be energetic and really hit it hard on the recruiting trail. She wants what Mark Gottfried is to basketball for this football program.”
N.C. State has not signed a player who finished in the top 10 of the final state rankings in the past three classes. The program has signed only six players who were evaluated as top 10 players in the past six classes combined.
Doeren admits that it is a problem — although he will not point fingers.
“There are very few job openings where there isn’t some sort of issue,” he said. “I am sure every new coach can walk into a job and list some things that he felt the other guys did wrong. But I am not going to air any of that publicly because I have a lot of respect for the guys who had this position before me. We have a lot of work to do with recruiting, and like every job that starts with educating the kids on what we do have on campus.
“We have to express and highlight our positives and then get the kids onto the campus. Recruiting is starting earlier and earlier, and we need to be proactive. We have to be out in our backyard with younger kids, and we have to get in with their head coaches.”
Doeren believes that the quickest way to start having prospects steered toward his program is to open the gates and welcome more coaches to have ownership in the product.
“We have to get in and have those high school coaches know who we are and how we recruit,” Doeren said. “We have to show them things about N.C. State that they may not have otherwise known.
N.C. State could be a sleeping giant, according to Rivals national analyst Mike Farrell.
“We cannot have high school coaches having anything negative to say about us and our program because oftentimes those guys have a tremendous relationship and influence with the players. We are making a real effort to make real connections with those guys.”