NC State’s Beatdown: How The Wolfpack Got Cowboyed

Posted by KCarpenter on November 19th, 2012

On paper, the match-up between North Carolina State and Oklahoma State seemed to favor the Wolfpack. NC State has a one of the best rebounders in the country in Richard Howell while C.J. Leslie can, at times, be relentless on the glass. Meanwhile, the Cowboys were one of the worst rebounding teams in the nation last year. The math seemed simple: Even given an off-shooting night, NC State would win the battle of the boards. Even moving beyond the frontcourt, NC State’s cast of skilled veterans and talented rookies was supposed to make this team the easy favorite in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Yet when the final buzzer sounded, the Wolfpack was a 20-point loser to the Cowboys. What went wrong?

Mark Gottfried Has to Deal With Expectations Now…

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie failed to make an impact on the game because they were hampered by foul trouble. The two talented players couldn’t stay on the court because of the relentless interior attack of Oklahoma State. Both players fouled out, with Howell tallying 16 minutes and Leslie managing 17. With those two gone, the Wolfpack lost their advantage in rebounding and ultimately ended up with only 27 rebounds to the Cowboys’ 42. By nullifying NC State’s clearest plus, Travis Ford’s team opened the door for an upset.

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ACC M5: Opening Night Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on November 9th, 2012

  1. Washington Post: While most of the ACC is starting out their season (tonight!) with some overmatched competition (with apologies to Virginia who will take on George Mason), Maryland is opening their season with a real challenge. Though this year’s Kentucky team is totally different from the beast that dominated college basketball last year, the Wildcats are still stacked with top recruits and still led by John Calipari. Maryland plans to put up a fight however, and the sudden eligibility of sensational wing Dez Wells puts a little muscle behind that hope. Though Calipari is making his traditional noise about how he feels his team is overrated and how he is concerned about the Terrapins, there is no doubt that Maryland is the underdog in this fight.
  2. Backing the Pack: Meanwhile in Raleigh, there remains at least one question: who will be the North Carolina State‘s fifth starter?Lorenzo Brown, C.J. Leslie, Richard Howell, and Scott Wood are no-brainer starters for Mark Gottfried, but the final starting slot has not yet been named. Gottfried said that he isn’t sure who will start, while adding the caveat that he doesn’t think it matters too much. The most probable choice is that the coach will go with highly-touted freshman guard Rodney Purvis, though there is an outside chance that the spot will be earned by T.J. Warren. Of course, it could always be some wild card option, but these two are the most logical choices.
  3. ESPN: In Chapel Hill, Roy Williams is dealing with a similar issue. Freshman Marcus Paige has been named a starter along with veterans Dexter Strickland, Reggie Bullock, and James Michael McAdoo. This leaves one open spot for North Carolina, and considering the named starters, the spot belongs to a big man. In the exhibition game, Desmond Hubert got the start, but freshman center Joel James shined when he got his turn. Williams suggests that little used sophomore Jackson Simmons and spindly freshman Brice Johnson could also get the start, but Hubert and James are the clear frontrunners for the spot with James holding an edge.
  4. Fox Sports: After a year spent playing home games in other peoples’ gyms, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets finally have a home court. Tonight the first game tips off at McCamish Pavillion, the new name for the renovated Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The building connects the Yellow Jackets to their storied past while also showcasing a dramatic environment for home games. While certainly new video and sound equipment are clear upgrades, the coolest addition to this court has got to be GT’s embrace of theater-style lighting, the effect of lighting the court while keeping the stands relatively dark, an unabashedly neat effect that evokes Madison Square Garden and the Staples Center when the Los Angeles Lakers are playing (the Clippers use a different, more traditional lighting scheme). It’s a neat idea and one that will hopefully add some extra atmosphere to the rechristened Thrillerdome.
  5. Wilmington Star News: The preseason Wooden Award Watch List has been released and six ACC players have been unsurprisingly tapped for the list. North Carolina State’s C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown, Duke’s Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry, North Carolina’s James Michael McAdoo, and Florida State’s Michael Snaer represent the conference on the list. Considering that this list fairly closely mirrors most folks’ All-ACC First Team, there isn’t too much to complain about, though C.J. Harris and a couple players from Miami may have a reason to grouse. As always, this list doesn’t include any of the impact freshmen who are expected to make their mark upon the conference, though they will surely be added once they show what they can do in the college game.
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ACC Summer Recess: NC State Wolfpack

Posted by mpatton on August 7th, 2012

Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: NC State.

Where They Stand Now

Mark Gottfried and Lorenzo Brown Have Big Expectations (AP Photo/E. Hyman)

The Wolfpack are still riding a wave of momentum from a Sweet Sixteen performance in Mark Gottfried‘s inaugural year. After perennially underperforming with alumnus Sidney Lowe at the helm and hearing the media blast the school for running off Herb Sendek, NC State’s administration made the switch to the former Alabama coach who matched Sendek’s best postseason performance in his first season on the job. Gottfried added structure, and his talented roster improved throughout the year showing flashes of true greatness thanks in large part to the maturation of CJ Leslie and Lorenzo Brown. But 2012’s postseason success makes the bar much higher in Raleigh — Jay Bilas even put the Wolfpack on top of his preseason ACC power rankings. The questions now are: How will the new pieces fit with the current roster, and can Brown and Leslie make the leap to consistently dominant players?

Who’s Leaving

Guards Alex Johnson and CJ Williams both graduated. Johnson played the role of sparkplug: He was good for at least one heat check three and a lot of hustle. He also appeared to be a vocal leader on the team, both from the court and the bench. Williams was a more significant offensive contributor, averaging 10.6 points per game on 50 percent shooting. His versatility on the wing will definitely be missed on the defensive end of the floor.

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ACC Morning Five: 03.29.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 29th, 2012

  1. Tar Heel Blog: Good news and bad news for North Carolina fans. The good news is James Michael McAdoo‘s father said “our intentions and his intention is to be at Carolina next year.” The not-as-good news is that his postseason performance has him showing up in DraftExpress’ top 20 prospects, so he’ll be sitting down with his family to discuss his options. I think if he comes back, McAdoo is an all-ACC talent and will go in the top 10 of next year’s draft. But that’s a lot of money to leave on the table. Oh, and this post has a picture of Harrison Barnes in a hyperbaric chamber!
  2. Hampton Roads Daily Press: Nothing like the coaching carousel and early entries to get reporters on anti-Twitter soapboxes (though, seriously people should probably vet their Twitter sources a little more). I’m purely speculating, but my guess is SMU has reached out indirectly to Seth Greenberg to gauge his interest. How else could he be tied to the coaching search? However, I agree with David Teel in principle that Greenberg isn’t far along in the process if anywhere at all. If the Mustangs are serious about the $2 million salary, we’ll find out soon enough if Greenberg was contacted: Just see if he renegotiates his deal.
  3. Tallahassee Democrat: Speaking of coaching pay… Leonard Hamilton doesn’t get paid as much as other coaches with his same success. Hamilton earned $1.5 million dollars this year, which fell behind Mike Krzyzewski, Mark Turgeon, Roy Williams and Tony Bennett in a conference full of new coaches (Turgeon’s salary wasn’t listed in the study, but he makes just under $2 million a year). It’s time for Florida State to ante up. If the Seminoles are serious about competing on a consistent basis, they need to put the money on the table. And that’s not just Hamilton’s pay; that’s assistants’ pay and facilities upgrades too.
  4. Raleigh News & Observer: For once the McDonald’s All-America game wasn’t about Duke or North Carolina. It was about NC State, who has three alumni joining Mark Gottfried’s squad next year. Rodney Purvis played the best game, but Tyler Lewis and TJ Warren got points on the board too (positive buzz also surrounded Duke commit Rasheed Sulaimon). Meanwhile potential ACC recruit Amile Jefferson didn’t have a great week according to scouts. But take all-star game performances with a grain of salt.
  5. DraftExpress: Well it’s time for this year’s annual Triangle Smackdown, featuring a much more prominent NC State presence than in years past. Enjoy.

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Checking In On.. The ACC

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 22nd, 2011

Matt Patton is an ACC microsite writer for RTC.


Reader’s Take I

Top Storylines

  • Coach K Gets 903: Mike Krzyzewski made basketball history by passing his mentor Bob Knight on the all-time wins list. The record is a testament to Krzyzewski’s consistent excellence over the last three decades. It was an incredible accomplishment and dictated the better part of a week’s coverage.
  • Eligibility and Injuries Plague ACC: The ACC has five players out with eligibility issues, seven are out with significant injuries, and one is out after violating team rules. Alex Len (Maryland) may have his eligibility after he sits out ten games (he’ll be back in late December), but DeQuan Jones (Miami) is out indefinitely because of the NCAA’s ongoing investigation into allegations of the Nevin Shapiro scandal; Shane Larkin (Miami) is awaiting word on his eligibility after transferring from DePaul; Thomas de Thaey (NC State) is waiting for his amateur status to be reviewed; and Ian Miller (Florida State) will miss at least first semester due to eligibility issues. On the injury front, JT Thompson and Marquis Rankin (Virginia Tech) are out for the season while Pe’Shon Howard (Maryland), Antwan Space (Florida State), Julian Gamble and Reggie Johnson (Miami), and Leslie McDonald (North Carolina) are out indefinitely with various injuries. Wake Forest’s Ty Walker is suspended for violating the team’s honor code but is expected back against Seton Hall. Yikes.
  • Virginia Hype Came Too Soon?: Kellen Carpenter hit the nail on the head in his preview of the Cavaliers. He pointed out lack of offensive balance and inability to make twos as the two biggest questions facing Tony Bennett’s squad. The team has had success from inside the arc in its wins, bu looking at the boxscore from their loss to TCU reveals the Cavaliers shot less than 40% on two-point attempts. Mike Scott was still solid, but the rest of the team struggled a lot. The other problem is Virginia’s crawling tempo makes it very difficult to come back from deficits.
  • Mark Gottfied Can Recruit (and possibly coach, too): Mark Gottfried came into Raleigh with high expectations from the Wolfpack fanbase. So far, he has lived up to all of them. Gottfried has a top-five recruiting class sealed up thanks to signing TJ Warren, Rodney Purvis, and Tyler Lewis in the early period; he has another potential star possibly joining the ranks in Amile Jefferson. He also managed to get NC State its best non-conference win in quite a while with a huge comeback against Texas. One of the biggest problems with last year’s team was it could not come from behind. I generally chalked it up to effort or general pessimism that comes with frequent losses. Gottfried seems to have turned things around at least a little. Read the rest of this entry »
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NC State’s 2012 Recruiting Class Might Be Overrated, But It Doesn’t Matter…

Posted by KCarpenter on November 16th, 2011

Last week, we talked about a survey of one hundred Division I coaches, where each was asked a variety of questions about their peers, specifically about their aptitude for recruiting. While it was an interesting glimpse into the world of reputations, the most intriguing tidbit had to do with NC State’s new head coach, Mark Gottfried. In many quarters, Gottfried was being hailed for already lining up one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, a remarkable feat for a new coach. With Rodney Purvis, T.J. Warren, and Tyler Lewis all lined up for the coming year, all seemed well in Raleigh.

Then of course, came the results of the survey in question, where Gottfried was named the third-most overrated recruiter in college basketball. This was interesting news, and I began to wonder what the coaches knew about Gottfried that the general public didn’t. It turns out that Gottfried might not actually be the issue, but rather the class that he has assembled. Buried in CBS Sports signing day coverage was an article where Goodman and Jeff Borzello answer a number of questions about next year’s incoming class. In a few separate instances, the two raised doubts and landed a few backhanded blows when talking about the Wolfpack’s recruits.

Is Rodney Purvis Overrated?

Borzello named Purvis the most overrated player in the class, despite later lauding him as the “best first recruit.” Goodman named NC State as having the best incoming backcourt, but threw in the tidbit that it was mainly because he felt no particular group of players stood out. He also added that he felt that all three of the Wolfpack’s incoming class were potentially overrated. These comments seem to indicate that perhaps the reason the coaches felt Gottfried was overrated as a recruiter was simply because the players he landed weren’t actually as good as had been reported.

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ACC Morning Five: 11.03.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on November 3rd, 2011

  1. Basketball Prospectus: The statistically inclined need to check out this piece looking at shot creation for North Carolina last season (and as a side note, I have literally no idea how I never linked to their earlier piece on “clutch” shooting). Basically the article looks to quantify Kendall Marshall‘s importance. For instance, take Tyler Zeller‘s mid-range jumper: 100% of his made shots are assisted! Marshall on the other hand had 0% of his mid-range shots assisted, but 100% of his threes were. It’s a fascinating piece and just another reason to order the College Basketball Prospectus.
  2. American Way Mag: Everyone’s favorite Young Jeezy quoting college basketball analyst gives an excellent preview of the rapidly approaching season. No surprises at the top with North Carolina sitting just above Kentucky. Jay Bilas on the impact of the one-and-done era: “Fifteen years ago, you and I could’ve sat down at the Final Four and we would have had a really good idea of who the top ten teams in the country were going to be the next year. We’d know exactly who would be the preseason All-Americans. […] Now, you can’t.” Bilas’ alma mater, Duke, is lumped in his second tier with Vanderbilt and Louisville.
  3. Washington Post – Terrapins Insider: The NCAA finally ruled on Alex Len‘s eligibility. Len has to sit out ten games “based on NCAA rules governing amateurism.” The only vague hint about what that might mean came from Athletic Director Kevin Anderson: “It has been a difficult situation in light of Alex’s educational pursuits.” While the athletic department hasn’t decided whether it will appeal the NCAA’s decision, this is great news as far as Maryland’s conference outlook. Len gives the Terrapins desperately needed size. The other good news is that he will be able to practice with the team until he’s officially cleared December 28 against Albany.
  4. With Duke and North Carolina’s consistent presence at the top of college basketball (both have finished the season ranked in the Top Ten of the AP poll 15 of the last 27 seasons), having to play and recruit against them every year is a daunting task. But Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton welcomes the challenge: “In my opinion, that’s an advantage for everybody in the ACC. What better challenge could you ask for?” Hamilton has a pretty talented team of his own this season that I’ll bet gives both Tobacco Road powers everything they can handle.
  5. ESPN: Speaking of taking on Tobacco Road, Mark Gottfried is taking it by force. In case you missed it yesterday, Gottfried added another top recruit to NC State’s already strong 2012 class in TJ Warren, a great scoring small forward. With the addition the Wolfpack’s recruiting class for next year has surpassed both of its rivals in the Research Triangle (it includes two five-star and one four-star recruits so far). According to Evan Daniels of, they may still have a couple of more recruits to add.

And for Wake Forest fans looking to relive the glory days, I present Chris Paul (and his family) on Family Feud! (h/t Ball Don’t Lie)

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Mark Gottfried Strikes Again: TJ Warren Commits to NC State

Posted by mpatton on November 2nd, 2011

Mark Gottfried is making a recruiting impact on Tobacco Road. The Wolfpack already had 2012 commitments from Rodney Purvis and Tyler Lewis. Now, Gottfried has struck again with another local talent in TJ Warren. Warren is a 6’7″ small forward from Brewster Academy (NH, though he lives just outside of Raleigh). Purvis and Warren are five-star prospects while Lewis is a four-star prospect. Dave Telep first broke the story and managed to catch up with Warren about his commitment: “When I made the decision it just felt right […] It was that feeling inside and I’ve been having that feeling for a long time.” Warren is ranked #23 by ESPNU, #23 by Rivals and #22 by Scout. From his recruiting profiles, he’s a big time scorer.

Mark Gottfried Already Secured a Top-5 Recruiting Class for 2012

Former head coach Sidney Lowe should get some credit for convincing CJ Leslie to stick around Raleigh for college, but Gottfried has taken recruiting Triangle talent to another level. The scary news for other ACC teams is, according to Evan Daniels of, the Wolfpack may be poised to add even more to their already top-five recruiting class: “They are in good shape with Amile Jefferson [ranked #20 by Scout] and are also recruiting Andrew White [ranked #52 by Scout].”

Gottfried came to Raleigh with a reputation for being a great recruiter, but I’m not sure anyone expected this much success this quickly.

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Morning Five: 10.27.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on October 27th, 2011

  1. Yesterday we mentioned the report that West Virgina‘s potential Big 12 application was essentially pre-approved. In the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend!” It turns out that the Big 12 is looking at either West Virginia or Louisville as a replacement for Missouri if/when it leaves for the SEC. Amazingly, it appears that this has become such a hot-button topic that United States Senators are getting involved because you know there aren’t more important things they should be worried about right now. As more than one analyst commented on Twitter yesterday, conference expansion seems to be spiraling into something akin to pledge week where schools are strung along and asked to do increasingly humiliating things to join a frat (in this case a conference).
  2. With the Big 12 most likely poaching one of those Big East schools, the attention shifts to the Big East, who is losing members at an alarming rate. Rick Pitino, who appears to be assuming the role of “Godfather of the Big East” even if he might not be there much longer (see above), has two teams–Memphis and Temple–on his radar. Both are interesting choices and although Memphis has a higher profile basketball program (even if they are overrated) Temple has a much better football team right now. We find Pitino’s interest in Temple particularly amusing because the Owls were once a part of the Big East as a football-only member before they were essentially kicked them out for not being good enough. It is sort of like a husband dumping his wife then losing his job and his mistress and begging his ex-wife to take him back.
  3. North Carolina picked up its fourth commitment for this year’s recruiting class when Brice Johnson tweeted, “I will be a UNC Tar Heel”. Johnson is a 6’9″ power forward who is a consensus top 50 player overall and compliments a well-rounded class for Roy Williams. The one thing that this UNC class is missing is a superstar and it appears that they will have to wait on Mitch McGary to make a decision as their other top target, T.J. Warren, appears to have eliminated the Tar Heels from his final two (NC State and Georgetown) from which he will announce his decision next week.
  4. Last week we Tumblr’d what we believed to be a picture of the uniform that Michigan State would be wearing for the Carrier Classic. Yesterday, UNC released images of its uniform for the game and it appears to be very similar. While we appreciate the gesture including the decision to replace player names with USA on the back our feeling on the uniforms is indifference as we are not huge fans of all these alternate uniforms and neither of these are particularly attractive especially the UNC uniforms which would only serve as camouflage on a Teletubbies set.
  5. Secondary violations are becoming almost as irritating as conference expansion. The latest near-victim was Washington, who had to cancel a scrimmage between current players and alumni after coach Lorenzo Romar mentioned the scrimmage on a local radio station because that would violate NCAA rules. Just to clarify, the actual scrimmage between current and former players would not have been a violation, but playing it after it had been “publicized” would have been a violation. Two former player–Spencer Hawes and Nate Robinson–expressed their displeasure with the decision more specifically with the NCAA being so rigid that the decision had to be made. We are assuming current players felt the same way, but were advised to refrain from saying anything. While some claim that the rule ( of the NCAA handbook) is intended to limit teams from essentially holding exhibition games in this case it seems asinine.
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A Finalized 2012 Recruiting Class For UNC And Déjà Vu For NC State

Posted by KCarpenter on October 26th, 2011

This morning, Brice Johnson, a wiry 6’9″ power forward from South Carolina, confirmed that he is indeed headed for North Carolina.  Johnson is a four-star, top fifty recruit in the class of 2012, and, perhaps more critically, represents the final available scholarship that UNC had to offer. Johnson to UNC has big repercussions for North Carolina State and potentially Georgetown. T.J. Warren, a top 25 recruit and one of the best uncommitted small forwards in the class of 2012 seemed like he was well on the way to being Chapel Hill-bound after a very good visit to Carolina’s version of Midnight Madness. Shortly after the Johnson news broke, however, Warren sent a text to CBS Sports, telling them that he will make his decision next week and that he will be choosing between Georgetown and NCSU.

Did P.J. Hairston and Reggie Bullock Cause UNC To Pass on T.J. Warren?

While it might seem puzzling at first for UNC to pass on what at first glance seems to be the superior talent, taking Johnson over Warren is probably a savvy move that will fit the 2011-12 roster better. While the starting small forward Harrison Barnes has a very good chance to enter the NBA draft next season, the Tar Heels would remain overstocked at the wings with Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston both logical candidates to inherit the position when Barnes leaves. At the power forward position, UNC might be more in more trouble: Tyler Zeller is due to graduate and John Henson and James McAdoo are projected NBA lottery picks in 2012. If both were to leave for the pros next summer, North Carolina would find itself with a significant talent void down low. Warren may ultimately prove to be better than Johnson, but for the forseeable future, Johnson fits Roy Williams’ needs more effectively and was probably a better use for North Carolina’s final scholarship spot on the roster.

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