North Carolina State University Wolfpack: NCAA Tournament Team Preview

North Carolina State University Wolfpack

North Carolina State University Wolfpack (No. 12 Seed, Midwest Bracket)

Record: 21-13 (9-9 Atlantic Coast Conference)

Coach: Mark Gottfried

Tournament Birth: At-Large Bid

Big Wins: Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Florida State, Tennessee

Big Losses: Duke, North Carolina, Cincinnati, North Carolina Central, Virginia, Syracuse

N.C. State gave up points in bunches this season, but thanks to sophomore forward T.J. Warren, they were able to score a few as well. The Wolfpack allowed an average of almost 70 points per game, and that includes giving up 85 points to Miami and North Carolina and yielding 95 points to Duke. Warren was able to make up for most of that.  The reigning Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year topped the 20-point mark an N.C. State record 29 times this season. That includes seven games with 30 or more points and two breakout performances of 41 points against Pittsburgh and 42 points versus Boston College.

Even with Warren’s heroics, though, Mark Gottfried’s team still was a putrid 3-9 against the nation’s top 50 teams this year. The Wolfpack did record an impressive early season victory over Tennessee and a surprising Atlantic Coast Conference quarterfinal win over Syracuse, but sandwiched between those marquee wins were losses to the likes of Wake Forest and Miami. Including the ACC tourney, N.C. State has won four of its last five, with the lone defeat coming at the hand of Duke in the ACC tournament semifinals.

                     Team Leaders

POINTS

PPG

FG%

FT%

3PT%

T.J. Warren

24.8

.525

.711

.277

Ralston Turner

10.2

.398

.688

.367

REBOUNDS

REB

OFF

DEF

BPG

T.J. Warren

7.2

3.3

3.9

0.6

Lennard Freeman

5.6

2.1

3.5

0.2

ASSISTS

APG

SPG

TO

AST/TO

Anthony Barber

3.6

0.6

1.8

2.1

Tyler Lewis

3.6

0.2

0.9

4.0

Starting Five

C –   Jordan Vandenberg

F –  T.J. Warren

F –  Kyle Washington

G –  Tyler Lewis

G –  Ralston Turner

Who’s Hot: T.J. Warren and Ralston Turner. The entire nation knows what Warren can do. Averaging nearly 25 points and seven rebounds on 53 percent shooting has already earned the sophomore forward player of the year honors. In the last five games, however, he has played out of his mind. In that span, he has averaged over 31 points per game along with 8.4 rebounds.

Turner, the junior guard that transferred from LSU, does not have near the gaudy numbers that Warren possesses, but his ability to shoot the long range jumper has forced defenses to step out and give Warren space to work inside. Turner scored 22 in the regular season finale and he has connected on 40 three-point attempts in the last 16 games.

Who’s Not: Tyler Lewis. The sophomore guard has tallied a total of seven points over the Wolfpack’s last three games, shooting 2-9 from the field in that span. Lewis was shut out completely against both Duke and Miami.

Outlook: It will not be an easy road for the No. 12 seed Wolfpack. N.C. State has to travel to Dayton to take part in the play-in game on Tuesday against 21-12 Xavier. The Musketeers Cincinnati campus is less than an hour from the site of the opening round tournament game, and it might end up feeling more like a road game for coach Gottfried’s club. If N.C. State does escape Dayton, then they have Atlantic 10 regular season champ St. Louis waiting in the wings. The Wolfpack has proven that they can play with anybody, and if they can stick to their style of basketball against the two formidable mid majors, they should be successful.

Commentary by Jeremy Mika

Sources:

CBS Sports

News and Observer

ESPN

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