State Firmly Ranked in “Ridiculously Early” 2015/16 Top 25 Hoops Polls

Expectations are going up — way up — for Wolfpack hoops next season.

It seems as soon as the last notes of “One Shining Moment” are played in the NCAA Tournament, pundits start releasing their “way too early” polls for next season.  Usually, the top of their lists features blue-blood programs and others that have performed exceptionally well in the past couple of years, and this year is not exception.

ESPN has Kentucky as #1, Virginia as #2 and their favorite program, UNC as #3.  Those aren’t bad selections, really, as Kentucky will have most of the 2016 NBA Draft’s lottery pick in for their mandatory one-and-done year, while UNC and Virginia will also have their teams return essentially intact.  But this year’s crop of early favorites included NC State as well, albeit as a mid-teens ranked squad.

ESPN:  17. NC State Wolfpack

The Wolfpack revealed their true talent in March, upending No. 1 seed Villanova on the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. A week later, they pushed Louisville — whom NC State beat on the road in February, just before losing to Boston College, which pretty much sums it up — to the brink. Now the fun really begins. Ralston Turner is the only significant departure to account for. Everyone else is back. The biggest name involved is Trevor Lacey, who would be a nightmare to guard even if he weren’t playing alongside the insanely fast, appropriately nicknamed Anthony “Cat” Barber. Freshman forward Abdul-Malik Abu‘s bullying performance against Villanova prefaced greater things to come; fellow big man Beejay Anya is one of the nation’s best shot-blockers. If these guys can just guard consistently — something Mark Gottfried’s teams almost never do — they’re scary-good. Just ask Villanova.

 

CBS Sports has the same top 3 in a different order.  UVA is #1, UNC is #2 and Kentucky a #3.

16. NC STATE

  • Notable players definitely gone: Ralston Turner
  • Others expected to leave: None
  • Notable players expected to return: Cat Barber, Trevor Lacey, Kyle Washington, Abdul-Malik Abu, BeeJay Anya, Cody Martin, Caleb Martin, Lennard Freeman
  • Others expected to join the roster: Terry Henderson

Why the Wolfpack are ranked here: Remember that talented N.C. State team that eliminated Villanova from the NCAA Tournament? Most of the best pieces from that roster should be back — including Cat Barber.

SB Nation is a lot higher on the Pack.  They have UNC and UVA as their one and two, but NC State as a Top 10 squad:

10. N.C. State Wolfpack

2014-15 Record: 22-14

2014-15 Finish: Sweet 16

Potential was never an issue for a 2014-15 N.C. State team which notched wins over Duke, Villanova, North Carolina and Louisville. Finding consistency will be the key next season for Mark Gottfried, who returns every key contributor from his Sweet 16 squad outside of Ralston Turner.
Finally, USA Today, who has the usual suspects at the top, but doesn’t like NC State quite as much as does everyone else:

22. N.C. State (22-14, 10-8): There’s a chance Cat Barber turns pro, but if he comes back the late-peaking Wolfpack have a chance to pose a bigger threat early in 2015-16. Barber and Trevor Lacey will make for a fearsome backcourt tandem, and N.C. State’s frontcourt should be much better thanks to a year of maturity. If coach Mark Gottfried’s cast plays at the level it did in the NCAAs — knocking off top-seeded Villanova to reach the Sweet 16 — they’ll be a darkhorse contender in the ACC.

Recruiting grade: Incomplete. The Pack has three scholarships open and no commitments. This could change quickly, especially if they can get Ingram or Malik Newman.

Me, I am going to take these lists with a grain of salt that only confirms what I’ve said for some time: NC State should be a very good team next year so long as it returns its key players. The team’s schedule has not been released yet, but it surely promises to be a challenging one both in and out of the conference, and that alone will make the roller coaster ride that is Wolfpack basketball another year of great highs and great lows.

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Home Forums State Firmly Ranked in “Ridiculously Early” 2015/16 Top 25 Hoops Polls

This topic contains 38 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  choppack1 4 years, 6 months ago.

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 39 total)
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  • #84772

    Alpha Wolf
    Keymaster

    Expectations are going up — way up — for Wolfpack hoops next season. It seems as soon as the last notes of “One Shining Moment” are played in the NC
    [See the full post at: State Firmly Ranked in “Ridiculously Early” 2015/16 Top 25 Hoops Polls]

    #84774

    JeremyH
    Participant

    Between 20 – 25 sounds about right to me.

    “The Wolfpack revealed their true talent how they play when they’re peaking, in March.”

    fixed that.

    #84775

    Tau837
    Participant

    There’s a chance Cat Barber turns pro

    Really? I think that would be shocking.

    #84777

    xphoenix87
    Moderator

    Yeah, there’s no way Cat leaves. He’d be lucky to be drafted this year.

    Barring something catastrophic happening in the offseason, I’ll be disappointed if we don’t spend most of next season in the top 25. The talent is there, the chemistry is there, and the experience is there. Even if Henderson doesn’t pan out (and I’m fairly confident he’ll be a solid piece), I’m totally comfortable with Caleb Martin sliding into that starting spot.

    The big X-Factor is Abu. If he’s as good as I think he’s going to be, we have a chance to be an elite team. He’s got an NBA body already, and shockingly good raw skills (soft touch and good passing instincts). If he puts the work in this summer (and by all reports, he’s a really hard worker) and puts some polish on those skills, he could be one of the best post players in the ACC, if not the country. The potential is there for that.

    #84778

    BJD95
    Keymaster

    Thank God Cat is 6’2″ and not 6’5.”

    That being said, anything between 10-15 is accurate in my estimation. 15-20 is what I would expect, because we have something to prove as a program. I get that.

    #84779

    wufpup76
    Keymaster

    There’s a chance Cat Barber turns pro

    Really? I think that would be shocking.

    Has anyone else heard a thing about this? At all?

    If not, why report it? If the author has some info – why not source it? No standards at all when it comes to media. Infuriating. “I pull things out of my ass and it’s news!”.

    #84788

    packalum44
    Participant

    Next year could be the peak of Gott’s career.

    Lacey will be gone and Cat goes pro. No recruits in sight for next year (except 2 longshot one-and-dones).

    Enjoy 2015/16 fellas it should be a good ride but don’t get used to it.

    #84791

    Wufpacker
    Participant

    #84792

    MrPlywood
    Participant

    Enjoy 2015/16 fellas it should be a good ride but don’t get used to it.

    I thought we had a “no spoilers” policy here?

    #84794

    TheCOWDOG
    Moderator

    Nostradamus
    Edgar Cayce
    Jean Dixon
    Packalum44?

    #84798

    Pack85EE
    Participant

    “Next year could be the peak of Gott’s career.

    Lacey will be gone and Cat goes pro. No recruits in sight for next year (except 2 longshot one-and-dones).”

    Although I will certainly take a 5 star next year’s team does not have any real needs. I’m confident the following year he brings in a very good class. Not expecting a Kentucky or Duke group of 5 stars that can win it all as freshmen but several 4 stars that will replace and compliment what we have.
    If he falls way back in his recruiting two years in a row then maybe Gott’s not the guy but for now I think he is. I have since his first solid recruiting class.

    #84799

    PapaJohn
    Participant

    Hilarious! Nice choice with the Debbie Downer vid. Please let us enjoy this a little longer.

    It’s seems a contradiction that we’re thought of as Top 20 material for next year, and simultaneously only #24 in the final USA Today coach’s poll. After making it to the S16. Strange logic.

    Glad to see that none of the outlets are dropping any titillating rumors about departures, and you know they would, were there anything to talk about. Hopefully, this group is tight and will bond together even more this year with their off season preparations.

    The goal is that the media get used to the idea of our being ranked and we stay there. It’s about time.

    #84803

    Pack85EE
    Participant

    Of all possible departures I’m most worried about Trevor Lacey leaving early. But blame Ernie Myers for that.

    #84804

    choppack1
    Participant

    IMHO – perhaps the 2 most important players are for nc state’s long term outlook are the twins. If they can improve their handle and outside shot (which they need to do if they want to play in the “association”) – they can become the perfect 3/4 year guys.

    Their height and athleticism makes them perfect candidates to play 4 positions on the floor.

    If one can grow into someone who can run the point that gives gott a ton of options in building his line-up in the future and 2 years in the future also looks durn good.

    If one can become that this year – they can adequately back up cat. (Lacey really struggled at the point towards the end of the year.)

    #84805

    Alpha Wolf
    Keymaster

    I don’t know about y’all, but I am kind of enjoying have my hopes up.

    I’m only worried about next year right now. Win, and the bluechip recruits will come.

    #84807

    choppack1
    Participant

    Alpha – I agree. The “recruiting” this year is having guys stay and buying into a similar role for the upcoming year while improving their skills.

    If we can do that all that remains is developing a toughness that the great teams have.

    We do that I firmly believe we can beat anyone in the country. (Heck, we beat the defending champs this year and also beat the consensus no. 1 team on their home court.

    This is our window. I am pretty sure gott realizes it. Hopefully the play do as well.

    #84808

    Tau837
    Participant

    The big X-Factor is Abu. If he’s as good as I think he’s going to be, we have a chance to be an elite team. He’s got an NBA body already, and shockingly good raw skills (soft touch and good passing instincts). If he puts the work in this summer (and by all reports, he’s a really hard worker) and puts some polish on those skills, he could be one of the best post players in the ACC, if not the country. The potential is there for that.

    I agree with all this. Even better, I think you can say almost the exact same thing about Anya. His strengths and weaknesses are different, but he too has a NBA body and a great foundation if he works hard enough. When is the last time our program had two future NBA bigs on the roster? I can’t remember, maybe all the way back to V.

    And at the same time, we also have our best point guard since V. Good times.

    #84810

    Alpha Wolf
    Keymaster

    Something about this group gives me hope. There seems to be hardly any drama on the court. They seem to get along with each other, they play will together and seem to be coachable. (If they weren’t they wouldn’t have been able to muster second halves like they did more times than not in the last month of the year.)

    A lot of the older guys came back last year stronger, more athletic and with improving skills than they showed at the end of 2013/14. I realize the biggest leap is usually between frosh and sophomore years, but I do expect even further improvements to come in this offseason. For example, if Anya adds endurance during this summer, it will be added to the strength he added a year ago. If that happens he will play more quality minutes because he won’t be tired. He’ll foul less when he’s not as tired late in contests. And as for Abu and the other freshmen? Expect a big step forward.

    Other players need to work on their frees throws so that they remain viable options to handle the ball during winning time. And so on.

    It’s up to them, but there really is the making of a champion-calibre team in this group. Given a top four ACC finish, they could finally have a decent bracket in the conference tournament. They would also be a far better seed in the NCAAT, putting them into a position for a long run. But…it’s up to them how good they want to be.

    #84812

    bill-1956
    Participant

    I’ve been thinking the exact same thing as bjd.

    Ranking from 15 to 20 due to ‘do it first, talk later / actions speak louder than words” factor. But that we’d really be a 10 to 15 team.

    If things ‘click’ on a consistant basis – hanging around the 10 spot would be just about right.

    I’m already ramped up!

    #84815

    Wufpacker
    Participant

    Although I will certainly take a 5 star next year’s team does not have any real needs. I’m confident the following year he brings in a very good class. Not expecting a Kentucky or Duke group of 5 stars that can win it all as freshmen but several 4 stars that will replace and compliment what we have.
    If he falls way back in his recruiting two years in a row then maybe Gott’s not the guy but for now I think he is. I have since his first solid recruiting class.

    Agreed on all points. And as a really smart dude alluded to recently in another thread, there’s something to be said for not recruiting over the talent we already have.

    #84819

    13OT
    Participant

    Duke has convinced me that talent not only trumps experience, but almost every time. State is going to be good next season, and I firmly believe the Wolfpack is going to have a shot at the national top ten as well as an elusive ACC Championship.

    If they can do really well next season, they will only get better because it will help recruiting, BIG TIME. Maybe we’ll finally be in a position to sell ourselves as a team on the rise, without the coach having to beg.

    After all these long and difficult seasons, I think I’m finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, and for once it isn’t an oncoming train with Duke or UNC pained on the side of it.

    I’m looking forward to holding season tickets again next year!

    #84820

    Wufpacker
    Participant

    After all these long and difficult seasons, I think I’m finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, and for once it isn’t an oncoming train with Duke or UNC pained on the side of it.

    I’m looking forward to holding season tickets again next year!

    Who are you and what have you done with 13OT?

    #84824

    13OT
    Participant

    LOL, Wufpacker!

    +1

    #84830

    choppack1
    Participant

    Duke has convinced me that talent not only trumps experience, but almost every time.

    What about last year when they lost in the first round? This team became great because they played great d. The critical turning point came when 2 of the top 5 picks in the upcoming NBA draft were on the bench.

    Like UConn last year, they had a guard get right at the right time. I think gott has come a long way as a coach, but I don’t think anyone but coach k or calapari can hang banners with freshmen playing such a key role.

    Personally, I love the way gott is recruiting right now. I thought we had a punchers chance at anyone not named Kentucky this year and next year I will take our talent (as it stands right now) vs. Anyone.

    As jigs #s prove, we have a long way to go defensively before we can feel confident in making that kind of run (or more accurately) sustaining a high level of play throughout the season.

    In short, if nothing changes we’ll have the “joes” next season.

    #84835

    ancsu87
    Participant

    “As jigs #s prove, we have a long way to go defensively before we can feel confident in making that kind of run (or more accurately) sustaining a high level of play throughout the season.”

    The stats concluded Gottv at NC State was nothing more than a first weekend coach. Yet he made the Sweet 16 twice in four year years and beat the #1 seed to do it this year. Stats can be manipulated to support the conclusion one wants to make. Bottom line results can’t be dismissed so easily.

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