NC State men’s basketball team, on two occasions, has hosted the number 16 team in the country in Duke and Miami, and both times the opponents left Raleigh on the wrong end of the barrel. Saturday, NC State made another statement – and got another quad one win – defeating the ranked Hurricanes 83-81 in overtime. The resume-building victory put others around the triangle on notice, that indeed, the Wolfpack are not just for real, but perhaps the best team in the state.
Combo guard Terquavion Smith, a favorite for ACC Player of the Year, First Team All-ACC and potentially a lottery pick in next years NBA draft, may have given others around the league bulletin board material with his locker room comments that revealed passion and grit.
“I feel like other colleges in North Carolina fee like they’re better than us because they wear blue, but I just want people to know that you can come here too. They do the same stuff we do, they just have different courses.”
Smith, who finished the 83-81 OT thriller with 20 points, two assists, three rebounds and two steals, expressed the general belief in the locker room…the Wolfpack doesn’t get the respect they feel they deserve. This is a Pack team that believes in themselves – confident they have the pieces and depth to make some noise in March.
Guard play wins in March. The Pack have four guards who can create their own shot when needed and present pressure defensively. NC State’s post presence keeps the team alive on the boards. The Pack can throw bodies at you in waves and present a problem physically with DJ Burns – whose size is unlike no other within the ACC at 6’9″, 275 pounds. Coach Keatts not limiting his players to just a system, but allowing them to flourish through their own game has spoken volumes throughout that the season.
Next up for the Pack is a matchup on the road at Georgia Tech, Tuesday night at 7PM.