#44 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #39 R.P.I. North Carolina State:
Virginia Tech basketball returns to the court down on Tobacco Road after a euphorically ~50 hour span of Revenue Sports outcome hysteria after what Coach-Fu did to Arkansas and after what Coach Buzz then did to Duke.
That however could also be code for a textbook let-down trap after such a high octane and highly upsetting winning effort in hosting big bad Duke on Saturday afternoon. As this Wolfpac basketball club is pretty decent and they check in at 11-3 thus far this year and o-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. This Wolfpac also has six guys averaging double-digits in scoring; and Lindy’s says this Wolfpack courts the best solo rebounding artist in the whole, darn, A.c.c. Hit the visiting hardwood snooze button here at your own peril; as this is likely a lowercase post-season NC.State men’s hoops team.
NC.State Head Coach: Mark Gottfried: age=52, 396–225 (.638) overall and 117–71 (.622) at NC.State.
Baller Gottfried played one season at Oral Roberts and three seasons at Alabama, advancing to the Sweet-16 in each of his seasons with the Crimson Tide where he started 98 consecutive games. And where he still holds the school records for most 3-point shots made in a single game with eight in a 1987 game against Vandy, and for the highest career 3-point field goal percentage at 48.5%! After which he was drafted by the “bad-boy” 1987 Detroit Pistons.
Coach Gottfried has a 1995 U.C.L.A. championship bling as an assistant coach. After which he became the big whistle at his father’s school of Murray State and later on eleven years coaching for his alma mater Alabama as their big cheese. He has been crowned conference champ’ six times and won conference coach of the year honors twice. Mark is from a coaching tree, his father, Joe Gottfried, was also a basketball coach and recently retired as Director of Athletics at the University of South Alabama. His uncle, Mike Gottfried, was a college football head coach and was a very dang good analyst on ESPN college football broadcasts. So coaching is clearly in his blood. Coach Gottfried teams have been to the post season 15 times in his 19 years; though he’s had some issues with player departures/transfers and/or seemingly star ballers simply not panning out. Coach Gottfried teams generally have a rep’ for rebounding, shot blocking and all around O+D quality play.
Wolfpac at a glance:
- 16th in 3-point percentage defense allowed (29.1%).
- 24th best in Defensive Rebounding (28.93 d-rpg).
- 27th in offensive FG percentage (48.7%).
- 29th in Scoring O (83.1 ppg).
- 31st in most Free Throws Attempted (358 FTA’s).
- 47th in blocks ( 5 bpg).
- 31oth in Turnovers Forced (11.79 tf-pg).
- no injuries reported.
North Carolina State Returning Starters=2
- As said in the header, Abdul-Malik Abu is only listed as the 1st-best rebounder in Atlantic Coast terms by Lindy’s pre-season magazine. I’d say that counts as does his strapping looking 6’8”, 24o lb., junior year combine metrics. Abu was the #32 talent outta high school according to ESPN.com and played one season of varsity tennis and was girl’s lacrosse manager for two years at Kimball. Never see that one in bio’ before; though hey; that might be a good gig to have. In non-field sport terms, this is a dunkalbe, explosive Four (P/F). As this is a mule of an interior player that opponents routinely bounce off of when they collide with #0. In point of fact, Abu has 269% more offensive rebounds than any other member of the Wolfpac’, as this kid goes hard on the offensive-glass. Right now this interior workhorse nets you 11.6 ppg and hauls down a team leading 7.3 rpg, to go with 55% shooting and 1.1 swats. Did I mention that he dunks the basketball, a lot, yet? His range may be a bit truncated, though God Bless and Godspeed on anyone wanting to draw a charging violation here.
- Dennis Smith Jr. is a 6’3”, 195 lb. t-freshman lead-Pt.Guard who got some pre-season Atlantic Coast Newcomer of the year run from Lindy’s magazine. He’s that good, already; as his team pacing 19.1 ppg in a major power conference only 14 games into his collegiate career connotes. This after returning from what is said to be a bad A.c.l. blow out -God Bless- that caused him to miss his senior scholastic campaign; and to graduate a semester early from the same and subsequently enroll at State in January of last year. Before all of that, Dennis only won one State Championship (Soph.) and only won North Carolina H.S. Player of the Year as a Jr. As he was still, ranked the #1 Pt.Guard and #4 baller overall by ESPN coming out of high school despite missing his entire senior campaign. So what would he have been ranked on two good knees? The Lakers back-up Point Guard? Right now Dennis not only leads State in scoring, he also shoots 46% from the floor and 39% from deep and leads the way in steals (1.9 spg) and assists (6.2) as an 18 year old on one blow knee!?! This tells us that this Dennis kid is the straight truth; as the only peccadillo I see is Smitty is a bit turnover prone at 3 tpg. Though beyond that, this is quite possibly your A.c.c. Rookie of the Year.
- 6’5” 195 lb. r-senior year Terry Henderson is a quality off-Guard by way of wvu transfer/escape. Terry can flat out spot-up and shoot that rock from range –as he was second best in the Big-12 in three-point shooting as a true freshman for wvu. Right now he is splashing a career best 15.8 ppg on 47% overall and 40% from beyond the arc. 3.5 boards and a couple of dimes (assists) dropped does not hurt; although his right ankle typically does, as he has a history of right-ankle tears/surgeries, not just rolls or sprains; Godspeed. As Henderson’s game now has at least a keep you honest version of slashing -from the wing- to go with his deep deep pure shooter shooting range; and he and Smith Jr. sure do conspire to give the Wolfpac an alpha k9 fang D.N.A. 1-2 backcourt punch.
- Torin Dorn is a 6’6” 2o8 lb. r-sophomore S/G who only only leads NC.State in shooting from trifecta land at 47.4% on his 3’s. As coach Gottfried truly has a 3-headed backcourt monsta on his hands here. Torin scores 14.4 ppg on a shiny looking 54.8% overall and a Spartan, almost shocking silver medal in rebounding for State with 6.2 caroms per game. Dorn is a physically strong looking kid who brings a sense Strong-Safety to his on-court game. He is also a Charlotte transfer who was merely the C-U.S.A. Player of the year for 2015; and he too will play above the rim and dunk on you.
- This is a talented, albeit a youngling basketball club. Virtually 70% of the roster is class rank funded by underclassmen, so experience will have to wait for 2018 or 2019.
- All-world true Center recruit Ömer Yurtseven has underwhelmed, or has yet to fully adjust. Take thy pick; although the 7′, 240 lb. t-freshman year legit post is back from a nine game suspension for benefits received in the Turkish League overseas. Whatever that means, and yet he is already up to 9.8 ppg on 5.2 boards in relief in just two weeks. So maybe the 91 points dropped in a single Turkish League game hype is legit? As this kid has a nice post to mid-range game and many have been the foreign born recruiting coup of the 2016 recruiting class. Because if Ömer gets anywhere near that nine-one mark per game in scoring in college? State could be your sleeper A.c.c. pick.
- To have the amount of pure talent and offensive firepower that State has, the Wolfpac has been a bit inconsistent efforting wise; as their three L’s have been vs. name/quality schools (#22 Creighton, Illinois, and Miami): though they have been beaten by 51 combined points in those three less than competitive games for a reason(s).
Wolfpac Bench: (depth=4 to 5)
Academic all-A.c.c. Team member, Maverick “top gun”, yes, he is named via the movie; no, joke– Maverick Rowan is a 6’7”, 217 lb., sophomore Wing who is back from a fairly seriously concussed head that has cost him 50% of this year thus far, (God Bless). Maverick is an outside specialist, who tallies 10.1 ppg, with 3.6 rpg and was the feature Wolfpack member in Lindy’s per-season magazine. That’s how highly Lindy’s thought of him; as Maverick was the 39th baller outta high school where he only averaged 33 ppg and change per game with his Greg Brady ‘fro. 6’, 164 lb. One (Pt.G) t-Fr., Markell Johnson is a defensive, grinding, dirty-work specialist that every team needs. As he is not here for his 4.1 ppg on 32% shooting on O; as he was the final Top-100 ESPN signee after somehow reclassifying downward in class rank and being granted in affect, a 13th season of K-12 ball. True Freshman Ted Kapita goes 6’8” 213 lbs., as a springy looking P/F checking in at 6.3 ppg and 5.4 rpg on 62%, which is useful enough substitute work, if you can get it. All that from a versatile high motor Congolese kid by way of Huntington, Wv… of all things.
Illation, conclusion (s) and OPT digits:
Number of da Wolfpac who could start @Tech=2 or 3
The takeaway here is… we’d better not be asleep here, we had better not have spent all of our ammo reserves on slaying #5 Duke.
As it is not so much that North Carolina State is unbeatable, it is more like we/Virginia Tech, ain’t; at least not yet. We are the rightful favorite here; however, out on the Atlantic Coast Conference road, where the visitor rides away with the victory approximately 30% of the time, nothing is a visiting, sure, thing.
All the more so in a letdown emotional trap game in NC.State’s backyard; and Vegas would seem to agree, as State was listed as a two (-2) point home opening betting line favorite. Though who will win?
- da Wolfpac is 9-o at home thus far this year (86-63 on average).
- On offense, State and Tech are within 1.1 ppg (favor VT), o.8% shooting overall (favor VT), 1.5% on 3’s (favor VT) and 1.5% on FT-shooting (favor State). Or pretty dang even, if not outright equal on O.
- On defense, State is o.2% better overall, o.5% better defending the 3, and 1/10th of a rebound better head-to-head –or even more of a predictive equilibrium if you will.
Or in other words, you might not ever find a closer looking game on the green-slate old-school chalkboard -that those of us of yesteryear prefer- or on proverbial paper itself. However, in the most recent 5-game metrics, State is actually shooting virtually 7.5% better from beyond the arc and a shiny looking +9.2 rebounding margin edge on top of that. State is defensing more ruggedly as well, what with a mere 36.9% allowed from the floor and 23.7% allowed from downtown. Whereas, Virginia Tech has improved by 1-2% in every single statistical category in our last five games; just not quite as much improvement as NC.State has shown vis-à-vis.
Though what does all that mean Wednesday evening come approximately half on 11?
Well, quite simply, it depends which NC.State bothers to show up? If the three L defensively user-friendly NC.State, that has been dumped by a bunch and has allowed an average of 93.7 ppg in their three L’s shows ups, Virginia Tech basketball probably beats them, even on the A.c.c. road.
However, if the actually focused, high-scoring (89-97 ppg scored in the ‘pac’s last four W’s), and dialed-in NC.State shows up –coach Buzz and Co. are in for an ouch-game and a very hard out. Take thy pick, as this hoops contest is a Stately one indeed, and is therefore all about what NC.State does/brings.
(55% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=8o, North Carolina State=72