North Carolina State basketball preview

#36 R.P.I.  North Carolina State vs. #1o8 R.P.I. Virginia Tech: 

Virginia Tech men’s hoops just got hopscotched over to the east by the Vino Veritas, whine, pees, brie,  and Zima 216 crew.

The Hokies are hoo they be gents… kinda trying to be good on good nites and trying not to dip below average itself on nites south of that. Now they draw an early mid-day high-noon All Championship Conference jump vs. a team that is surprisingly jumped-up and by any/all 2o23 September a.c.c.ounts, a surpassing jumped-up north of that. The Nor.Carolina Wolfpac’ enters the scrum at: 13 up against 4 down and a highly sporty 5-1 in in-league play. Nc.State is pretty much a four-headed hoopology hydra. Although… and thus far… their 4-heads are proving 1+ greater than our, 3. Nonetheless, what you wanna know is… who is gonna win and by how much, rights? So, read on… to finds, out!

North Carolina State Head Coach: Kevin Andre Keatts: age=51,197–111 (.64o) overall, and 125–83 (.601) at NC.State. Does not have a rep’ for D. Does have one for communication/modernness.
$2,700,000.oo (with a staggering $5.3 mil’ potential in bonuses | and a
2024 extension smartly in hand)

Baller Keatts was a two-sport standout in football and basketball at Heritage High School in Lynchburg, Va., and went on to play four seasons of basketball as a Pt.Guard at Ferrum (Va.) College.

Don’t mean a thang if you ain’t got dat… bling!

Coach Keatts began his coaching career as an assistant at Southwestern Michigan College during the 1996-97 season. He then went to Hargrave Military Academy as an assistant coach for two seasons before being promoted to head coach in 1999. In 2001, Keatts moved to Marshall as an assistant coach. He returned to Hargrave in 2003 and served as the head coach until 2011. During his ten years (over two stints) as the head coach at Hargrave, Keatts had a record of 262–17 and won two national basketball championships; with three national runners-up. Hargrave produced 103 players who signed NCAA Division I men’s basketball scholarships during his 10 seasons and 18 others played on the NCAA Division II level.

In 2011, he earned a degree from Marshall. Keatts then joined the staff of Rick Pitino at Louisville and was a part of the Cardinals’ 2013 NC2A national championship team. That year named him the third most respected/feared assistant coach in the nation. WOW!

In March 2o14, he was named the head coach of UNC Wilmington (UNCW), succeeding Buzz Peterson. In Keatts’ first season at UNCW he was named C.A.A. Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Seahawks to their first conference championship in nine years, and their first winning season in seven years.

In his second year, Keatts repeated his rookie-year double, once again winning the C.A.A. regular-season championship and Conference Coach of the Year. In winning the 2o16 Conference Coach of the Year, he became the first coach in C.A.A. history to ever win the award in consecutive seasons. Late that spring he was hired by North Carolina State.

An interesting medium-hot commodity is this lowercase coach-k, is he not?
That said… mo’ than a few have been wondering if he be All Coaching Conference fo’, real?

As his temper be running, hot.
(Just ask his getting the rake last time out vs., Wake)

Keatts and his wife Georgette, have two sons, K.J. and Kaden.

Nc.State at a glance:

  • 12th best in Turnover Margin!!!
  • 37th most in Fastbreak ppg O!!
  • 77th best in Swipes.
  • So, this was a very unusually bell-curved or nearly empirically centrist team to Excel Template in MegaStat© terms. They do a lotta things -nearly all- C to C+++ or so. Nothing much else at all no matter where I 33 D-1 Team Cat’s Eye track looked. Wild. You never see this convergence or non-scattering scatter diagram.
  • i.e., State be who they, be.
  • NO injuries listed. ‘thx’ @Coach God.

Returning Starters=2*.

North Carolina State Strengths:

  • (Unlike what I said last time re: the T.B. breakdown @hooVa)… State and Coach Keatts are a team: “on the come” (as they say in Jolly Ole England). They better… slowly… surely… gaining… gaming.
  • ^^^this^^^ in spite of a ~similar roster rotation.
  • * 5th-Sr., Casey Morsell is another kinda One or kinda Qb3 or Pt.Guard1b for State. Casey goes: 6′3″ and 2oo lbs. after coming all the way from the State of Washington to run hoops for Nc.State. This year Casey hits for: 11.3 ppg with 2.9 rpg on a (former) team-leading 87.5% from the charity stripe (now: 77.8%) and a former penultimate 45.7% from behind the arc, (now: 28.8%). Yikes. A bearish market for this wolfie indeed. The book says that Morsell is a tasty long-range shooter, however; a shooting-G trapped in a Pt.Guard’s body (1.6 apg) who struggles with inside scoring and driving itself. Pure spot-up-baller here folks, albeit a sharpshooting Two who is shaped mo’ like a One in metrical terms. Casey is a true-Sr., who transferred over from hateful hooVa last season. Prior to that, he did some reasonable work over in D.C. in Districting inner-city hoopz. In particular, as a scholastic Sr. where Casey -to his credit- blew up and was named: Named the 2o19 Gatorade Player of the Year and USA Today Player of the Year for Washington, D.C. This from a Wing/’tweener classic kid, who will prolly destroy any given DeeCee Y.M.C.A. for years to come. As this is an adequate P5 baller with .7 spg who has reached his top-kick level. Seemed a little quicker/lighter to me upon breaking the tape. Doing all he can, Mister Scott give you all she gots. (Not the worst thing to hear said, is it?)
  • * 6′9″, BIG ole 275 lb., double-Grad’ year and totally bruising D.J. Burns Jr., puts the ‘power’ in the Four or the P/F spot. Deejay comes at you from: Winthrop. Where he was merely named Big South Conference Player of the Year and Big South All-Conference First Team last season. This after an r-shirt debut year @Tennessee. Consensus **** or 4-star baller whose recruiting topped nationally at 1o4th on the 247Sports list. 9.7 ppg with 4.5 rpg and the team lead with 1 bpg might seem a bit trite from all his previous honoring(s), be they Big South or not. 14.2 ppg 4.3 rpg and 2.8 apg are reasonable if out downright good. As this Burns kid is a 22ov P/F overload down-low in the paint. And the 16 ppg two years back @Winthrop makes you wanna see him garner more substitute touches here. As this is one hefty-looking and fun-to-watch mauler at the Four. ’18, was #3 in-state (S.c.) per 247Sports; behind someone(s) named: Zion Williamson and Ja Morant. wow. Tho’ still hefty looking he has cut a 10-lb. plate in weight and seems to have a bit more S&C late in games to show for it; although, his boarding is down/off of late and that makes you wonder if this warhorse is mueling some kinda ding about? Godspeed Man o’ War.

    The real doubledeuce from: #o!
  • Homespun (Raleigh, N.c. native): DJ ‘the bird bird bird, the bird is the word‘ Horne, lead-G1… and aye, this Lead-G1 keeps 2 middle digits handy indeed. And somewhere, on some planet, Ron-Ron is, smiling. 6′1″, 175 lbs., 5th-Sr. By way of Illinois State, then by way of Arizona State, and now by way of Nc.State. Thus, making this Dee.Jay. a Stately baller indeed, in… ♠’s. So, to be direct? This is an offensively Talented kid. Lindy’s called him a: ‘combo who can hit the long ball and set up teammates.’ The: team-best: 15.1 ppg with 3.5 rpg on 2.7 apg and a picky 1.5 spg all conspire to say so. This is also a streety hoody-hoo kid to boot. Does have his on. I give him that… tho’ he presents himself as tuff. Nearly wild, even… and the 14-versions of selfie-cut-out collage that dot the wall in his dorm’ room might just be a clue. Likewise, the 1/1oth removed from inverting Yield-Curve of: 42.1% long and 42.2% floor. LOL… never-ever seen that one b4. And yet he keeps a: DAY & NIGHT WATCH CO. ®️, N.I.L. Go fig’ again… a very mixed bag this Horne. Horne is pretty durable to be pretty raily looking upon breaking tape. Prolly counts for being a few percent A.I. (a.Iverson) for it too. The ~83% career free-throwing does help; as DJ will make forays to the hoop. He forages for points, a scorer who can slash and shoot a bit as well. 117th ranked guy in the Portal last year; had very vanilla H.S. metrics.  Like * or ** max’. Albeit on the N.c. AAAA state runner-up back in ’18. So, leading the 2nd-leading A.c.c. team in scoring itself is some damn fine come-up-n’s. You gotta hand that to him. And there is part of me that is want to like on this kid; as he is a self-made-(hard-way-up)-hardwood, man. He just makes it hard to like him. A horny -if not prickly- Horne indeed. Tho’ hitting his bigger-O output rather on-trend of late. Thus, a fringe overseas Horne blower if his behavior does not ghost everyone off. Hopefully, he gets this right and wins in the Game of Life. As the zero fam’ members listed is prolly a clue, too. God Bless/Godspeed.
  • Third-year, 6′4″, 195. lb., Jayden Taylor, Off-G1. ex-of Butler Bulldog fame now canine incising it wif da Pack’. Third-best: 12.1 ppg with 3.8 rpg on 1.3 apg and a nice 1.4 spg is overall contributory enuff. The shooting is just barely enuff at: 39.4% floor and 33.3% from behind the 3-point line. This is a playar/scorer, not a pure shooter. However, he is the alpha-penetrator for State, as Taylor gets to the charity stripe +165% mo’ than anyone else does. That does put an onus on his decent enuff 77.7% free-throwing. As Jay’ is nearly the same playar now that he was @Butler (then). That’s either highly consistent or nearly outta headroom itself. As his metrics have not (much) matriculated no matter where Eye looked. Lindy’s calls Jayden a: ‘penetrator with the ability to hit from the outside.’ Lowercase *** or 3-star Indiana Basketball kid outta hoops happy Hoosier state fame. Did put up a breakout ~26 ppg senior scholastic season and that moved him onto D-1 radar scopes. Do like the single red-frost tip in his twist-top. Visible tho’ not needy blatant is a good look. Thus making Taylor a good glue guy; just not a great one. Like good lyte if you will.

North Carolina State Weaknesses:

  • Some question the Painters or the Keyers depth here. As State is not said to field a lotta internal scoring punch or ‘oomph’ down-low.
  • No, as in nadda, none, nil… pre-season All-A.c.c. stringers of any strength. Zip, zero, zilch… and that is typically not code for A.c.c. seasonal success.
  • There is a lotta roster churn here… in particular at Qb1/Qb2, backcourt overall, and nearly all the Wings. Several of my magazines were downright Wolfpac’ bugbear synergy/chemistry concerned from such.

Wolfpac den: (depth=3 most nites) 168th in Bench ppg.

Ben Middlebrooks is a big ole, Four or P/F. Bennie goes 6′11″, 24o lbs. in relief upfront down low for the ex-Tigers. Now for da Wolfpac’ Benjamin is a true-Junior-season baller, who finds his way to 5.9 ppg with 4.1 rpg and a steal and swat off the bench. 158th baller in the land from 247Sports outta high school. Where Big Ben dropped you 20 & 15 (ppg and rpg) on the reg’. Another VeeTee looky-Lou recruiting-wise. His big sis’ (Mackenzy) was a Tennis star for the Tigers. Whereas, Ben is said to be a skillful big who moves well without the ball and enjoys footwork and hoops I.Q. ppg alike. Lindy’s says he is a: “high motor guy though still raw.” That says to check back in 2o25 to me. As the 56.8% off the floor is way more than serviceable enough, does it offer mo’ (future-tense) service than that? Tho’ nobody hates a legit big who is not the enemy of preparation, perspiration, or work itself. 178th baller in the land from 247Sports. Tho’ 27th Center overall as well. Had good H.S. digits: 21 ppg and 14 rpg; did a lot out on the touring team circuit(s) and got his name to: ‘pop’. Has netted one 3 in three years. Could be a ceiling guy is my best read right now. Tho’ a quality P5 caddy.

6′6″, 2o5 lbs., Dennis Parker Jr., Wing3, a Va. H.S. escapee. (Richmond, John Marshall fame). Where Dennis the Menace was a consensus Top-1oo **** or quad-star baller. Ranked No.94 overall by Rivals as his pinnacle went. Four-year J.Marshall 1 or starter and National Honor Society member on the quadratic to boot. Where he only averaged 19.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.4 steals, and 1.9 assists per game to lead Justices’ to a perfect 28-0 record and VHSL Class 2 State Championship … then: John Marshall was named MaxPreps National Champions. That’s an average of four, that’s (4) State blings, and one, that’s (1) National rings. penta-wowowowowow! Never read that 5-pack b4. Plus: he was named Richmond Times-Dispatch 2o23 Metro Player of the Year too. Anywho… the: 6.8 ppg and 4.3 rpg and a steal on 35.5% long are okay. Prolly mo’ was expected here… tho’ Parker Bros. has some jumps in his feets. As the astounding 44″ vert’ says so! wow so mo’. Callsign: “da bucket”. Cocksure to be sure. Does a rarefied (reverse-spin/the ‘rong way) 36o°, lay-up. Just ’cause he can. Lives the swagg ‘look at me’ life, hard. 25/8, 366. Has some pa·nache to get away with (some) of it unlike most. Fun kid to watch/scout. All work and dull play; Parker, ain’t. And he knows it too… prolly a fringe export baller on athletics alone. Although, this one is a credible Wing prospect, if not ’27 (or less) contender. Single-hearted for hoops. How far he goes is up to him, literally. (Though he appears to have hit the D-1/P5 wall a mite of late).

Mohamed Diarra is a: P/F3, at: 6′1o″, 215 lbs. A beanpole tho’ kinda strapping/cut looking Montreuil, France imported Four. ex-of-Missouri, ex-of-Garden City Community College behind that. Has gone George Jefferson “moving on up”. To his credit. Broad-shoulders/monsta wingspan kid (7-2). Said to be a stretch-5, and you nearly never see that. Rated the No. 1 JUCO recruit in the 2o22 class by KJCCC Player of the Year for Garden C.C.C. 17.8 points and 12.6 rebounds in doing so. Stayed dinged-up down @Missoula. Futball and hoops Frenchy star. Is a most alluring specimen… is he any mo’ than that? (“Mo'” is his personal tag… so, hopefully, oui-oui). Time=4.4 ppg with 5.8 rpg and 1.1 bpg tell here… the Eye test is tempting, however.

R.A.T.T.: ... the likely winner in this one here is... who???

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of 'packers who could "howl" @Tech=7 give/take.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is

not to be too taken with either team here, yet; again.

Eye say that correctly enuff… as neither team is all dat and a ‘snap’.

Well, not named 2nd-place in the All Championship Conference race Nc.State.

As the Stark Bannermen have put up a nice-nice season thus far. Which is most curious to me… and to my preview magazines, everywhere. As in… not one of them tabbed Nc.State north of 8th best in the A.c.c. race of 15. (counting: N.Dame).

And yet here they are checking in a mere ½ game south of A.c.c. pacing and basketball factory Nor.Carolina. Go fig’ on that? Nc.State has been great thus far… +2.4 on them. You gotta give them the ’23 up through early 24 round 1o-8.

However, could it be time to fig’ on neither team being all that and a snap? And therefore,
begin to figure on one of these two falling back to March Madness, Earth?


Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for an 8-point VomiT in this one here. n=2; so, Eye’d like to see a mo’ populated population or sample size than that. Tho’ it was a 2 for 2 sweep by State. Which does not decrease its, weight. (Get the equational pun?)

The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… nobody is really up much of anything in shooting percentage margin annually, (as in: State is right at1% stricter on D, and yet VeeTee is right at +1% smoother on O); although VeeTee is up a nearly useful looking close to ~+5% in 3-point percentage margin (right about +3% in 3-O to the good and right at 2% in 3-o allowed to the starch), and VeeTee is also up just under +5 caroms corralled in rebounding margin year-to-date. (from: mostly being better off the defensive fiberglass).

The most recent 5-game metrics say that… the Hokies are now up +3% in shooting percentage margin (per: being a warmer +6% better on O tho’ State is cooling opposing peeps off 3% tighter on D); with the F’n Gobblers up an entirely unexpected and sizzling +18% in 3-point percentage margin (wow! As in: State has nearly been icy of late at 3-O range, and Mike & Co. have been reasonably stuffy in 3-D for a few weeks-n-change), and in rebounding margin the Techmen complete the Recency Effect sweep via being up +3 in Windex Wides in the last fortnight of work. (Due to: both teams are actually positive off the backboard of late, it is just that the O&M have improved in gathering 2nd-chance offensive misses to themselves in the last few testy contests).

Armchair Pt.Guard’s:

State is up a nominal +1 in R&R.
State is a .833 host; whereas Tech is .ooo (o’four) as a guest.
V.P.I. is up a nice-looking +7% at the charity stripe for the year.

The Call…

No.68 Net Ranking North Carolina State vs. no.59 Net Ranking Vah.Tech:

The VerdicT:

Turnoverpaloza… or so has recently written…

The kinda/sorta harshing the Pt.G1 in me part is… they do kinda/sorta have the write of it…

  • 12oth in Assist:Turnover ratio. (NOT bad at all… think: nearly lowest possible B—).
  • 88th in Assisting (however)! (Again, NOT bad at all… read: a legit B+ or so).
  • 187th in pure Turnovers/game. (NOW… this is so-so, nearly middleocore itself).

However, here are the real backcourt and team-wide for that matter kickers…

  1. “Just; like, foot-ball” (clap-clap-clapclapclap)… our all-important Turnover Margin does need a spit of work. Some elbow grease for our only so-so-handsy guys. 215th best if you are keeping score @home. Or creeping up on being ½ a Turnover deficient most nites.


What they are not telling you is the following… 3o9th in Swipes/game is not helping cover for our butter-fingering Turnovers on O. Not one-iota (1ι). Our guys play the man not the ball in gridder secondary terms. And we do not do much of anything to create/force any opposing turnovers. i.e., ‘yes’, TSL is write to a point; as our handlers are not as tight as they could/should be. I’ll give them that… tho’ we want for raw takeaways themselves. Being only 265th best in Swats/game is not aiding-n-abetting any of this all the mo’. And as Danny Ainge taught us all in Traveling All-Stars Camp… “number of shots” is the most important vital or statistic in basketball by far. As it accounts for oh so very much all in one (metric). (Like: rebounding, stealing, turning-over, blocking).

Now… check this little diddy out… we are not covering our ass on any/all of any of ^^^that^^^ on netting itself. In particular on 3-ball twining. When Mister Popcorn and Co. won the whole dang A.c.c. shebang back in ’22, we peaked at #2 percentage in NATIONAL 3-point-percentage O! Now? Well, now we are ≅1oo spots back of that to the worse. Still a C+++ 3’ing team though we have missed out on our very own arse covering heretofore hidden measure. Now mix in hovering near ~3ooth in ’24 Fastbreak Points {sic: easy-baskets}.

And yet… and yet… and yet… we were still not much of anything different during our ’22 All-Championship Crowning run… when we were 291st best in Swipes and one, that’s (1) whole, entire, spot removed in Assisting itself!

Kra-kra, ain’t it?

Aye, a blind man can see it with a cane… our turning-over is not so tight, though our 3-pointing (lacking) and our lack of just pure raw play-making ballers cannot cover the drop in trifecta making itself.

The digits:

Anywho… and back to Big Kev’ and Big Scot…

This Wolfpac is… well, hard to figure… at least for me.

As in… mea culpa… I’ma still not super-sure how they are this good.
Unless of course they, ain’t.

I am sure, however, that the Armani Suited Coach Keatts is doing a Johnny-on-the-spot Gestalt A+++ quality job in meshing this mish-mash unit together so ’24 far.

Coach K’s could indeed be said to be the frontrunner for ’24 A.c.c. Coach of the Year at the coming up on 6o% complete regular season marker. That’s pretty dang tight “Ode” from a squadron none of my pre-season preview magazines September ’23 forecast to be anything north of 8th-place itself.

Or, a true “Hyperion” of coaching the, verb.



 Never the classic English Lit’, less…

…this one sure reminds of my pet hoops saying of: “…two ships passing in the nite.

The Wolfpack (13-4, 5-1 A.c.c.) have won two straight and six of their last seven games, whilst the Hokies (1o-7, 2-4 A.c.c.) have dropped two in a row and four of their last five. On the one paw, the Wolfpac’ are off to their best six-game start in A.c.c. play since 1988-89. On the other Wing, The turnover-prone Hokies haven’t been so automatic in clutch situations. Their last three L have come by a combined 14 points.

You do the which ship is shipping mo’ H2o, maths.

🐺 >>> 🏀 >>> 🦃

high-noon kick!

Ergo, therefore, to Whit… it is differcult to back the visitor vs. the homesteading ‘pac’. 3o% on the A.c.c. road is just like dat. That and this is not our best look/match-up down low in the key.

And then I bothered to run/compare the Home:Away splits. This sees State up +9% in FG-percentage margin; with Vah.Tech up +2% in 3-‘fending margin (3-O was nearly tied), and State back up +1 in rebounding margin. However, the Hokies tilt a downright nutty-looking 9 Turnovers out on the road alone. All by their kan’t hold their visiting water selves. This worsened even mo’ to a disturbing-looking 11 Turnover Margin deficient when I crosstabbed it vs. State down in Raleigh. Yikes! (We had better net like champs and O-rebound like Moses Malone down eleventeen possessions @Away here).

And as said, this is not to say that I find State that attractive— Eye don’t.
Nevertheless, they be keepin’ the 225-mile So.-by-So.-East party, lit’.



(67% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=68, North Carolina State=77

please support the VT F.C.A.!








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