2011-2012 ACC Preview: #6 North Carolina State

The 2011-2012 ACC season is about to begin. Over the next three weeks, Crazie Talk will preview each of the twelve ACC teams in order that we think they’ll finish this season – from the bottom up.

Let’s take a look at our projected 6th-place finishers, the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

After a string of disappointing seasons, the Wolfpack look to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006 (photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet)

2011-2012 Record: 11-4

Key Wins:
November 16- NC State 60, Princeton 58
November 21- NC State 77, Texas 74

Tough Losses:
November 19- Vanderbilt 86, NC State 79
December 4- Stanford 76, NC State 72

Starting Lineup:[table id=23 /]Last Year Against Duke:
January 19, 2011 in Raleigh- Duke 92, NC State 78
February 5, 2011 at Duke- Duke 76, NC State 52

This Year Against Duke:
February 16, 2012 at Duke

The Good: This is one of the more experienced teams in the ACC this year, and has played very competitively against some tough non-conference competition. The Wolfpack’s only four losses this year have come at the hands of Vanderbilt, Indiana, Stanford, and top-ranked Syracuse, all four of whom will be tournament teams come March. NC State utilizes a very balanced scoring attack with five players averaging double figures on the season. Their size is also beneficial, outrebounding opponents by 6.2 rebounds per game. With all five of their starters 6-foot-5 or greater, this is a team that will definitely cause matchup problems.

The Bad: Despite the fact that the Wolfpack rank near the top of the ACC in rebounding and blocks, they still find a way to struggle on the defensive end of the floor. NC State allows an ACC-worst 71.2 points per game and have held opponents under 60 points on only two occasions this year. Against high-powered offenses like Duke and North Carolina, struggles on the defensive end will simply not cut it.

The Crazie: NC State has been a Jekyll and Hyde team all year- some games they looked like an NCAA Tournament team and others they looked like an ACC bottom-feeder. They’ve played very competitive games against strong team and have not lost to any bad teams, but they’ve come quite close, most notably two-point victories over Princeton and St. Bonaventure and a five-point win over North Carolina Central. This will make for a very interesting season for the Wolfpack, who could very easily upset an elite ACC team or lose to one of the worst teams in the conference on any given night.

Player We Love To Hate: Lorenzo Brown. This man is a pest all over the floor. He has averaged 11.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 2.3 steals per game this season and can hurt you in a multitude of ways. He does not need to score to give opponents fits, and his length at 6-foot-5 makes him extremely difficult to defend for a point guard. He will more than likely be Austin Rivers’ assignment when the Wolfpack come to Cameron in February.

The Bottom Line: This is a team with a lot of potential, and could be this season’s ACC surprise. However, until it can start playing with more consistency, this team will likely be on the outside looking in come tournament time. They will more than likely be on the fringe come March, but with a few upsets during conference play and a trip to the ACC Tournament Semifinals, this team might build the resumè to be dancing come March as a fifth or even sixth representative from the ACC.

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Crazie-Talk’s 2011-2012 ACC Preview:

Boston College | Wake Forest | Clemson | Miami | Georgia Tech | Maryland

North Carolina State | Virginia Tech | Florida State | Virginia | Duke | North Carolina