ACC-Big Ten Challenge Begins Tonight

The ACC-Big Ten Challenge gets underway tonight when Virginia visits Minnesota. The Gophers should win easily, but UVA has some hope, as two Minnesota starters may be out of the lineup.  While the ACC has dominated the Challenge, the Big Ten is favored to win for the second straight year.  This is always a fun event, and I expect some competitive games.  Go ACC!

For a preview of tonight's game, check out SCACC Hoops:   Will's World: Breaking down UVA-Minnesota


ACC-Big Ten Challenge Schedule

Mon. 7:00 Virginia at Minnesota ESPN2
Tue. 7:00 Iowa at Wake Forest ESPNU
Tue. 7:00 Georgia Tech at Northwestern ESPN2
Tue. 7:30 Ohio State at Florida State ESPN
Tue. 9:00 Michigan at Clemson ESPN2
Tue. 9:30 North Carolina at Illinois ESPN
Wed. 7:15 Indiana at Boston College ESPNU
Wed. 7:15 N.C. State at Wisconsin ESPN2
Wed. 7:30 Purdue at Virginia Tech ESPN
Wed. 9:15 Maryland at Penn State ESPN2
Wed. 9:30 Michigan State at Duke ESPN

Happy Thanksgiving!

What better way to say Happy Thanksgiving that a ridunkulous NC State highlight vs. some turkeys:

On the Dunk

Triangle Hoops Journal is now "On the Dunk."   As I mentioned in an earlier post, the blog is now dedicated solely to NC State hoops, and I wanted to give the blog a name that means something to me personally and to NC State basketball.

"On the Dunk" represents a moment in NC State history that will live forever in Pack fans' memories, the Lorenzo Charles slam dunk to beat Houston in 1983.  After the dunk, Billy Packer says, "They won it... on the dunk!"  This was my first sports memory and one that symbolizes the beginning of my love for college basketball.  In addition, it's the moment that immortalized my favorite coach of all-time, Jimmy V.  Without this moment, who knows whether the Jimmy V Foundation would even exist.

I hope you like the name as much as I do! 

Pack loses in Charleston Classic Final

NC State did not win the Charleston Classic, but for 20 minutes the Wolfpack showed it could compete with a talented and experienced opponent.  Georgetown has one of the best backcourts in the nation, and it was just too much for the Pack's trio of Ryan Harrow, Lorenzo Brown and Javi Gonzalez.

State lost this game for two reasons:  poor shot selection in the second half and an inability to stop Georgetown.  For much of the second half, State rushed everything, took quick shots and just played sloppy basketball.  Conversely, Georgetown could do no wrong, and State had no answers for the Princeton offense.  The Pack faced its first adversity of the season and really did not respond well.  Hopefully, the team can build on this loss and learn from the experience.

While it would have been nice to have Tracy Smith in there to get some points in the paint to stop the Hoyas' run, State cannot fall back on Smith's absence as an excuse.  State just didn't play smart.

Despite tonight's loss, the tournament was a success and State showed they can be a good team this year.  In particular, Lorenzo Brown played very well and looks ready to be a star.  Brown, Gonzalez and Harrow all played great agaisnt the Hoyas in the first half, and did not back down.  Richard Howell, DeShawn Painter and C.J. Williams all played very well in Charleston.  Scott Wood and C.J. Leslie each had their ups and downs but had numerous positive contributions.  Coach Lowe had his team prepared and motivated to play each night and did a nice job with the rotation.

Tournament Superlatives:
MVP:  Lorenzo Brown
Best Defender:  Richard Howell
Also deserving recognition:  DeShawn Painter, Ryan Harrow

Preview: Pack vs. Hoyas

State gets the matchup it hoped for when the Charleston Classic field was announced, as the Pack faces #20 Georgetown on Sunday night for the tournament championship.

The Hoyas have a talented and experienced trio of guards that will test the Pack's young backcourt.  Through four games Chris Wright, Austin Freeman and Jason Clark have combined to average close to 50 points and 10 assists per game.  The three are all shooting about 50% from 3-point range this season and Freeman and Clark are both shooting 60% from the field overall.   Outside of Duke, this may be the best backcourt State will face this season.

Thoughts on State's Victory Over George Mason

The Wolfpack beat George Mason by a comfortable margin, though the game was close most of the way.  Just a few thoughts on the game:
  • State was active and aggressive on defense, but allowed Mason to get some good looks
  • Richard Howell was a thief in the first half, and played his second-straight superb game
  • This is State's best offensive team in years, and the Pack has a plethora of offensive weapons
  • The officiating was terrible- too many questionable foul calls

Notes on the Pack's Win Over ECU

The Pirates played State close for about 15 minutes last night, as the Pack struggled in the half court.  Once the transition game opened up, State dominated.
  • State's defense was solid throughout the night, which was nice to see.  However, Ryan Harrow and Javi Gonzalez both were beat off the dribble a few times.
  • DeShawn Painter played a fantastic game on both ends of the court.
  • Lorenzo Brown was outstanding.  He is incredibly smooth and plays more like a senior than a freshman.  He has great vision and passing abilities.

Previewing the 2010 Charleston Classic

The Charleston Classic presents NC State with a great opportunity to get the season off to a strong start and generate some positive press nationally.  State should be able to get a couple decent wins against ECU and Charlotte or George Mason, setting up a showdown with Georgetown.

State can win the tournament, and winning it with a victory over the Hoyas would be huge in terms of the Pack's NCAA resume and building on the excitement and buzz that already surrounds State's program.  Even if the Pack doesn't win it, the tournament should be considered a success if State takes care of business on Thursday and Friday, and plays the Hoyas tough on Sunday.

While the field isn't great, it's solid, and Luke Winn ranked the Charleston Classic the 10th-best early season tournament.  Winn had some nice things to say about NC State:

NC State Wins Opener

It wasn't quite the debut that we had all hoped for, but the NC State was able to beat Tennessee Tech by double digits.

State came out sluggish, forced some shots from the outside, and basically forgot about Tracy Smith for the first 20 minutes of the game.  The Pack never really got things going, but with a fantastic showing from C.J. Leslie, State did not have to sweat this one out.  Each of the freshman made some highlight-reel plays and scored in double figures.  It is evident that the Wolfpack has more talent this year than in quite some time, and will be a fun team to watch.

Gameday: Wolfpack Basketball Tips Off

Tonight at the RBC Center, NC State opens its most anticipated season since the 2004 Wolfpack started the season ranked #15 in the AP poll. The Pack plays Tennessee Tech, but the opponent is irrelevant. State fans have been waiting to see if three heralded freshmen can help Sidney Lowe lead the program back to national relevance.

While this game certainly won't define NC State's season,it can set the tone for it. State needs to come out strong, dominate all aspects of the game for forty minutes, and make a statement that this is going to be the season that turns the page on 20 years of frustration.

NC State Runs to Victory in Exhibition

NC State played its first and only exhibition game on Tuesday night, and Wolfpack fans were excited to see whether the freshman trio of Ryan Harrow, Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie were as good as advertised.  By all accounts, the freshmen did not disappoint, each scoring 17 points.  Unfortunately, I could not make it to the game, and only caught a few minutes of the game online.  I'll have a more in-depth post after Friday's season opener.

Highlights from WRAL.com:

NC State's Place in Basketball History

I have referred to NC State's tradition and history in several of my blog posts.  There is no question that State has a strong basketball tradition and is one of the greatest programs of all time.  However, many in the media have downplayed State's historical status as a result of their own lack of knowledge, or in order to support their agenda or arguments.  Therefore, as State tries to reclaim its place among the elite, it is important to know and understand why NC State's program does in fact deserve to be considered one of the best in college basketball history.

The following are just a few facts illustrating that NC State is historically one of the elite programs:

Tyler Harris Commits to NC State

As reported first by Evan Daniels of PackPride (Scout.com), 6'8 wing Tyler Harris (2011) committed to NC State today.  Adam Zagoria talks with Tyler about his commitment:

From ZagsBlog.com...




State also has commitments from class of 2011 center, Joseph Uchebo and 2012 point guard, Tyler Lewis.

2010-11 Season Preview: A Closer Look at NC State's Roster

It is quite possible that NC State has the second best roster in the ACC this year.  According to my preseason rankings, State has the #4 backcourt and the #3 frontcourt in the conference.  Both have the potential to be even better than projected.

In addition, every other team has flaws and may not be quite as good as predicted.  North Carolina's frontcourt lacks depth and none of the Heels' players have proven themselves at the college level.  Florida State's backcourt is experienced and fairly deep, but there doesn't appear to be anyone with the raw talent of Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown.  Virginia Tech's starting backcourt is excellent, but lacks depth.  Even Duke, which appears perfect on paper, has questions in the frontcourt as they need big contributions from some players who were role players last season. 

Of course, NC State has concerns as well.  Specifically, C.J. Leslie, Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown must adjust quickly to the college game to provide the impact State needs.  DeShawn Painter and Richard Howell must prove that are ready to contribute substantially in order to help take some of the burden off of Tracy Smith.

Breaking Down NC State's Roster: 

Is Sidney Lowe on the Verge of Returning NC State to Prominence?

We are eleven days away from the start of NC State's 2010-11 season, and hopes are high in Raleigh that State will get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years.  Looking further ahead, things appear to be falling into place for State to allow the Wolfpack to make its long-awaited return to national prominence.

Coach Lowe brought in a top recruiting class this year, and has a good group of experienced players to support the freshmen.  State's recruiting continues to roll along, with commitments secured from top-tier recruits Joseph Uchebo (2011) and Tyler Lewis (2012).  For the first time since perhaps the early 1990s, State has assembled a roster of players who are talented, top-level athletes that can compete straight up with other good teams without employing an unconventional system. They can play the brand of basketball that Wolfpack fans long to see and grew accustomed to seeing during the Case, Sloan and Valvano eras- a natural, entertaining style that allows individual talent to shine.