GAMEDAY HEADLINES: Wolfpack vs Hoyas (NCAA Tournament Edition)

March 18, 2012

Today’s Daily Webrun for Wolfpackers

Let’s keep this party going.

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To beat Hoyas, defense comes first for Wolfpack

The Pack improved to 12-2 when it holds an opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the floor.

Coach Mark Gottfried said the improved defense is a result of the players having a better understanding of what the coaches want them to do. There has also been an increased effort on defense, Gottfried said.

“We’re guarding the ball much better, which has eliminated a lot of penetration, which I thought early was an Achilles’ heel for our team,” Gottfried said.

N.C. State’s defense has been a work in progress, Gottfried admits, which is why it doesn’t rank well in national standings. The Pack is ranked 202nd in scoring defense (67.9 points per game) and 98th in field-goal percentage defense (41.7 percent).

Even using tempo-free based stats, N.C. State’s defense ranks 73rd in Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency ratings.

Conversely, the Hoyas have gotten to the tournament by employing one of the best defenses in the country and by using both a man defense and a zone. They’re first in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (27.4 percent), 15th in scoring defense (59.2) and sixth in Pomeroy’s efficiency ratings.

Wood may be X factor against Hoyas

Scott Wood sat on a chair deep in the bowels of the N.C. State locker room, partially hidden behind a training table in an unused bathroom, giant ice bags strapped to both of his knees.

“Personally, I do it because I think it looks cool,” Wood said Saturday.

Whether Wood is hot or cold may have a lot to say about whether the Wolfpack can get past Georgetown and move on to St. Louis. There won’t be anywhere for him to hide on the court Sunday.

Georgetown is big. Very big. One of the few teams that have the ability to handle N.C. State’s inside game in a way San Diego State could never imagine. And that may put a premium on N.C. State’s ability to score from the outside.

Lorenzo Brown has carried the Wolfpack from outside lately, but it’s going to take more than just one player. C.J. Williams has made one of his last 12 shots from 3-point range and will be playing on a balky ankle, while Wood is 3-for-14 in three games since a 22-point ACC tournament outburst against Boston College. He hasn’t been a huge factor in the past few games, but is capable of exploding at any time.

“I usually try to stay calm and collected, but these are big games,” Wood said. “It’s either win or go home. Any time you have that situation, you want to come out and play your best, and you know there’s going to be a lot of pressure on you to play well.”

Wolfpack, Hoyas have NCAA history

Corchiani watched N.C. State’s second-round win over San Diego State and will be at the arena for Sunday’s game said he didn’t watch a replay of the call for 15 years.

“I remembered it well enough when happened,” Corchiani said.

With 1:47 left, and the Wolfpack down three, Corchiani drove down the left side of the lane and dropped in a shot over Mourning, Georgetown’s dominant center. Instead of a potential three-point play, and a fifth foul on Mourning, Hartzell called a travel on Corchiani.

“There it is!” CBS analyst Billy Packer said during the broadcast of the game, in reference to Mourning’s fifth foul.

After Hartzell’s call becomes clear, Packer was incredulous.

“Nowhere near a walk,” Packer said.

Corchiani made peace with the call before the start of the 1989-90 season. Hartzell worked a preseason game at Reynolds Coliseum and, according to Corchiani, apologized to him and former coach Jim Valvano for getting the call wrong.

“I have nothing but respect for (Hartzell),” Corchiani said. “It’s kind of ironic that they would play Georgetown again but I’m over that game.”

Akula Wolf (
Talking Georgetown With Casual Hoya

5.) We have a good shot blocker in CJ Leslie, and both he and Richard Howell are good rebounders, but their positioning and footwork aren’t great and they have a tendency to commit some silly fouls. Do you think Georgetown is going to try to work the ball inside against NC State’s defense?

If Leslie and Howell get into foul trouble, Sims will get fed inside and allowed to go to work in the paint. Georgetown can beat you in a variety of ways, as Henry Sims is difficult to handle down low, Otto Porter has a solid midrange game, and both Jason Clark and Hollis Thompson can win games from outside. The Big East has a number of teams with tough and physical defenses, so I don’t anticipate Georgetown being surprised with anything N.C. State may show. I just asked my Magic 8 Ball what N.C State can expect in the game and it just spit out PAIN.

Sammy Batten (
NCAA tournament: N.C. State Game Day


Keep big men out of foul trouble

Junior forward Richard Howell and sophomore forward C.J. Leslie are essential elements for N.C. State. Howell is one of the ACC’s top rebounders (9.1 a game) and erupted for 22 points in the NCAA opening win against San Diego State. Leslie is team’s top scorer (14.6), but is averaging 18.8 points over the last nine games. Howell, in particular, has been prone to foul troubles and has been disqualified five times this season. He’s fouled out twice in the last 10 games and had been assessed four fouls in seven of those outings. For either to be hindered by foul trouble would be a major blow for the Wolfpack against a long, tall Georgetown front line.

Get Scott Wood some shots

Scott Wood, left, a junior, is N.C. State’s No. 3 scorer (12.4) and major 3-point threat (89 on the season). But over the last three games he’s taken only 20 total shots, just 14 3-point attempts and made just four of the latter. When Georgetown turns to its zone defense, the Wolfpack is going to have to get Wood more involved in its offense to counter.

Maintain defensive intensity

The late-season surge that propelled N.C. State into the NCAA tournament was produced in large part because of significant improvement defensively. But at times in Friday’s second-round win against San Diego State, the Wolfpack relaxed on defense and coach Mark Gottfried needed time outs to get them refocused. Any lapses against a Georgetown offense that’s in constant motion will result in high percentage baskets.


“The Princeton style of offense makes us all a little woozy. When they beat you with that backdoor cut it feels like an eight-point play.”

Gottfried describing what it feels like to defend Georgetown’s Princeton-style offense.

Sammy Batten (
N.C. State looking to establish tempo to counter Georgetown’s Princeton offense

The last time N.C. State faced Georgetown, Richard Howell left the floor frustrated, and not just because the Wolfpack lost.

The Wolfpack’s junior forward sank 6 of 11 shots, had eight rebounds and scored 14 points in an 82-67 setback against the Hoyas back in November 2010 during the Charleston (S.C.) Classic. But the score nor his personal performance was what Howell recalled about that game Saturday as N.C. State prepared for today’s rematch against Georgetown in the third round of the NCAA tournament.

“The one thing I remember is it was very frustrating because they are the type of team that doesn’t want to score 80 or 90 points,” Howell said. “They don’t want to get up and down the court. They just want to play very slow. That’s something we don’t like to do. We want to get up and down. It was very frustrating playing them.”

Sammy Batten (
Batten: Coach Gottfried makes difference for improved N.C. State Wolfpack

Mark Gottfried is turning out to be a pretty good basketball coach for a TV analyst.

A year ago at this time, Gottfried was one of the talking heads, regaling us with his insight and knowledge during the NCAA tournament broadcasts. The guy who won 278 games in 14 seasons at Murray State and Alabama had moved off the sidelines to the studio, a place head coaches normally land when their careers are finished.

But last April, N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow took a calculated risk and rescued Gottfried from the coaching scrap heap to lead the Wolfpack. Both fans and media wondered if, after two years behind the camera, Gottfried still had the chops to be a successful coach, much less one who could revive the once-prominent N.C. State program.

“I was on TV last year, and what you learn is none of us knew much about anything anyway,” Gottfried noted Friday with a hint of self deprecation.

There’s no more guessing now, and no more speculation. Mark Gottfried can coach, and evidence to support that assessment was written all over State’s 79-65 win against higher-seeded San Diego State in the second round of the NCAA tournament Friday.

Associated Press (
Hoyas Came Together After Scary Incident In China

It all started almost 7,000 miles from campus.

Georgetown played China’s Bayi Rockets in an exhibition game in August that was supposed to be part of a goodwill tour. Instead, it turned ugly when a bench-clearing brawl broke out all over the court with more than 9 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The game was canceled with score tied at 64.

The Hoyas escaped despite chairs being thrown on the court, fans pelting them with bottles and opposing players chasing them.

Things changed for the Hoyas that day.

“That’s definitely where it kicked off,” said point guard Jason Clark. “Because having new players on this team, you didn’t know what to expect. When you’re first building a team, you have to find out if you can trust that person. And with everything that happened over there in China, after the whole brawl, we all understood that everybody had each other’s back no matter what.”
Scouting the Opponent – Georgetown

Georgetown is in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time over the last six years, only missing the 2008 tournament. The Hoyas are the third seed in the Midwest Region, after finishing the regular season 23-8 and 12-6 in the Big East, tying for fourth in the conference.

“I have great respect for Georgetown,” said NC State head coach Mark Gottfried. “We watched them on tape (last night). They’re an excellent basketball team, so this is a great challenge for our guys.

“From where we were at the beginning of the year to where we are right now, we’ve improved a lot. We’ve gotten better, and I think our guys are really excited about playing.”

The Hoyas are a young team, as among their 13 players, 10 are either freshmen or sophomores. The six freshmen have averaged 26.1 points and 12.4 rebounds of the last seven games, and have accounted for 34.3 percent of the team’s total minutes this season and 29.5 of the team’s scoring.

Leading scorer Jason Clark averages 14.1 points per game, while Hollis Thompson is second with 12.5 points and leads the Big East in three-point field goal percentage at 43.3 percent (55-127).

“We know that they like to stay in the 50s with the game,” said C.J. Leslie. “We are kind of an up-tempo team, so our main thing is just to get our flow going and just get a fast-paced game.”
Basketball Notebook – Round of 32

Pack as the 11th Seed: NC State also earned its first-ever victory as the 11th seed in the NCAA Tournament. Its the second time in school history the Pack has been seeded 11th. The other occassion was in 1987 in the East Region. NC State traveled to Syracuse, and fell to sixth-seed Florida, 82-70.

Pack Versus the 3rd Seed: NC State will be looking to capture its second win in the NCAA Tournament against the third seed, as the Pack is currently 1-1 in such contests. Both meetings have come in the second round.

The Pack won its first game versus a No. 3 seed, when it defeated UNLV, 71-70, in Corvalis, Ore., during its run to the 1983 national championship.

NC State dropped its most recent meeting with a No. 3 seed, when it fell to Oklahoma State, 64-73, in College Park, Md., in

NC State in the Round of 32: NC State currently posts a 5-5 record when playing in the Round of 32, but has dropped four of its last five such contests.

The Pack last advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2005, when 10th-seeded NC State downed second-seed, and defending national champion, Connecticut 65-62 in Worcestor, Mass.

NC State-Georgetown, the All-Time Series: This will be the seventh time that NC State and Georgetown have met on the hardwoods.

The Pack owns a 4-2 advantage in the series. The last time the two met was 82-67 Hoya victory in the Charleston Classic championship game on Nov. 21, 2010.

In that meeting last season, Richard Howell had a team-high 14 points, while Lorenzo Brown had 11 and DeShawn Painter added 10.

NC State-Georgtown in the Ncaa Tournament: The Wolfpack is 0-1 all-time versus Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament.

The Hoyas captured the only Big Dance meeting between the two schools with a 69-61 victory in 1989 East Region Semifinal in East Rutherford, N.J.

Andy Reid (
Gottfried building something special with Wolfpack

When Mark Gottfried took over as head coach of the N.C. men’s basketball team, there was one player who everyone in Raleigh warned him about.

“Every time I turned around somebody was making a negative comment about C.J. Leslie: Doesn’t play hard, he’s disinterested, you’re not going to be able to reach him,” Gottfried said. “He’s this, he’s that. It was all negative.

“And here you’ve got a guy that’s got unbelievable talent. And the more I’ve gotten to know him, he’s an unbelievable person. He’s a really good guy. Yet everything was negative.”

Leslie has done an incredible job to refute those impressions. In one year, he’s become the Wolfpack’s leading scorer – with 14.6 points per game – and face of the program, during a year in which the team has made a surprising run to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. No. 11 seed N.C. State will take on No. 3 seed Georgetown Sunday at 12:15, with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.

Leslie’s transformation from rookie question-mark to sophomore sensation is a microcosm for the maturation of the program at large.

Gottfried and his coaching staff got the 6-8 forward to believe in what they had to offer – as other players came around, too, the wins came easier.

“I think with Calvin, it’s the same with just about every guy on our team – you come in as a new staff, they don’t know you,” Gottfried said. “Most of them had never heard of me, because I had been out of coaching.

“More than anything, over the course of the year, it’s just developing trust and a relationship. Our players realized when we got there this year that things were going to be a lot different than they were. There was going to be a lot more accountability. And it was just a completely different atmosphere than they’ve had.

“Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. But I think that those guys came to a point where they really decided to trust our staff. I really do, and Calvin especially. And with some guys, it just takes longer. We’re all different. Some people trust you right off the bat, from day one. Other guys, there’s a wall there that you can’t penetrate, and you can feel that. But I think there’s been a lot of trust back and forth.”

Andy Reid (
Thompson III: Wolfpack pose a ‘difficult’ matchup

Georgetown may be the favorite Sunday, when it takes on No. 11 seed North Carolina State, but the Hoyas aren’t taking the Wolfpack lightly.

“It’s a difficult matchup,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “You look at them and they have very distinct, very tough interior presence. But at the same time they have very good perimeter play. So from our defensive perspective, whether we’re talking man, zone, whatever the heck we’re going to do, we’re going to have to be very good at all parts.

“And then at the other end of the court, they make it difficult for their opponents to score. You watch game after game, and no one seems to be getting easy open shots against them. If we’re going to have success on Sunday, we’re going to have to be good at both ends of the court.”

Andy Reid (
Wolfpack-Hoyas will be a battle of tempos

In its 79-65 win over San Diego State Friday, the North Carolina State basketball team enjoyed a size advantage in the post, and took advantage of it. On Sunday, the Wolfpack will face a whole different beast in No. 3 seed Georgetown.

The Hoyas have just one player on their roster listed under 6-5 and will regularly have three or four 6-7-plus players on the court. It will be a big game-to-game adjustment, but it’s nothing new for the Wolfpack, says senior C.J. Williams.

“We’ve been doing it all season. We play teams like Boston College, which is more perimeter-oriented, then come back and play North Carolina,” Williams said. “It’s all a part of basketball. We’re used to having to change up the gameplan a lot. We’ll just come out and play.

“It’s going to be tough to get baskets. But it we execute our offense and get them to move, that’s going to be the key to us winning. We just have to screen better, move the ball around and get the defense moving so we can find open shots. I know Georgetown likes to run a lot of zone, so we have to penetrate the gap and look for people on the perimeter or attack.”

N.C. State isn’t particularly familiar with Georgetown. The two played last season, an 82-67 loss, and most players did not watch the Hoyas’ 74-59 win over Belmont Friday.

“We’ll look at video, and we also in practice, when we have walkthrough, our coach goes over every team’s player and we go over their personnel and what they do best and what they can do and what they like to do,” sophomore C.J. Leslie said. “That all goes with later on tonight we’ll watch film.”
Brown, Leslie, and Howell Talk Georgetown


Lorenzo Brown, C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell met with the media today to discuss the upcoming game against Georgetown.
Gottfried: “This Is A Great Challenge”


NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media to discuss Sunday’s game against Georgetown.

About 1.21 Jigawatts

Class of '98, Mechanical Engineer, State fan since arriving on campus and it's been a painful ride ever since. I live by the Law of NC State Fandom, "For every Elation there is an equal and opposite Frustration."

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11 Responses to GAMEDAY HEADLINES: Wolfpack vs Hoyas (NCAA Tournament Edition)

  1. Texpack 03/18/2012 at 7:51 AM #

    Survive and Advance!

  2. GotNCState 03/18/2012 at 8:12 AM #

    Calvin Leslie! Calvin Leslie!
    Gonna be a good day & a grrrrreat game! Go Wolfpack!

  3. BJD95 03/18/2012 at 9:52 AM #

    Looking forward to a fun afternoon of hoops, win or lose. All house money at this point.

  4. choppack1 03/18/2012 at 10:16 AM #

    I wish we were playing a little later. But, to be playing in ncaa period at this point is gravy.

  5. projectwentynine 03/18/2012 at 10:23 AM #

    Hartzell… apologized to (Corchiani) and former coach Jim Valvano for getting the call wrong.

    What a contrast to the infallible egotism shown by so many officials today.


  6. jake 03/18/2012 at 10:42 AM #

    Who are the officials for today’s game? That will be what decides the outcome. If it’s ACC refs we have no chance.

  7. Texpack 03/18/2012 at 10:45 AM #

    Getting to the Sweet 16 would be huge for next year’s team. It would raise their confidence level even further and set them up for a better chance at reaching the Final Four in 2013. I believe that is very doable if Calvin returns for another season.

    This is the ultimate house money game for us. This team has exceeded almost everyone’s most optimistic projections already. The way we are playing, we can win today, but we can also play quite well and still come up short. GO PACK!

  8. HPWolf 03/18/2012 at 11:22 AM #

    This is our biggest game to date in the last 6 years. We are the only game being played on a national stage against a big time big east team. We win today and we take a huge step forward. What Gott and the team has done so far is remarkable in itself and we are truly playing with house money at this point. I’m happy either way. But….. a win today gives us a chance to be ranked in the final poll no lower than 16th and a chance to go all the way. You just can’t measure the amount of confidence our guys will have if we win today. What is really neat about our team is no one knows who will be today’s star. Any of our starters could be the top scorer. We need a zone buster to be the man today.

  9. Wufpacker 03/18/2012 at 11:44 AM #

    I’ve felt that we’ve been playing with house money for pretty much this entire season and have tempered my expectations accordingly, until recently at least.

    Today….screw that.

    Despite my best efforts, this team has sucked me in. In for a penny, in for a pound. I’m as pumped up for this game as I’ve been in a long, long time and if we lose I’ll be devastated. Tomorrow I can go back to house money, but today I want to crush them.

    Let’s go out and kick some ass.

  10. ancsu87 03/18/2012 at 11:57 AM #

    “I wish we were playing a little later.”

    We are the only game on at this time .. national exposure.

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