NC State meets Michigan State this Friday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA tournament, a place the Pack hasn't been in 11 years. Led by senior guards Anthony Grundy and Archie Miller, the Pack will be looking to sink their teeth into the heart of the Spartans, head coach Tom Izzo, who is looking to take MSU to a fourth consecutive appearance in the Final Four.
NC State runs a spread/motion offensive scheme that emphasizes the three point shot. The Pack is led by All-ACC Guard Anthony Grundy and Archie Miller. Along with sophomore Marcus Melvin and freshmen Julius Hodge and Ilian Evtimov, the Pack is dangerous from beyond the arc. The Pack averages 75.7 points per game.
NC State is led by senior Anthony Grundy's 2.1 steals per game and, as a team, averages 8 steals per game. They also led the ACC in charges drawn this year. The Pack plays a tenacious man-on-man defense and will drop into the press when needed. The team gives up just 72.6 points per game.
The Pack really struggled in this category all year. Their lack of size really showed against tall teams such as Wake Forest, Duke, and Maryland. They were especially weak boxing out as we gave up 11 offensive boards per game. The Pack was -3 in this category during the year. Their leading rebounder was shooting guard Anthony Grundy.
The Pack is much improved this year as a passing team. They averaged 16.5 assists per game this year, led by senior Anthony Grundy's 3.6 per game. The difference this year is that State has several players that pass the ball very well. Archie Miller, Julius Hodge, Ilian Evtimov, and Clifford Crawford are very good passers.
The Pack is a deep team with nine players averaging at least 10 minutes per game. Senior Anthony Grundy is the only player averaging more than 30 minutes per game. The Pack can play any style of ball when they don't dictate the style of play.
Coach Sendek and staff have turned around a Pack squad that went 13-16 last season. This year's 22-10 squad is the best in 13 years. Assistant coach Larry Hunter joined the staff this year after spending 25 successful seasons at Wittinberg and Ohio Universities, where he compiled 509-224 record. Larry Harris is entering his 16th season as an assitant coach, his fifth with NC State. At 37, Coach Sendek is still one of the youngest coaches in the ACC. He has compiled a 153-96 record in 8 seasons as the head coach at Miami, OH, and NCSU.
The Wolfpack will be making their first appearance in the NCAA tourny in 11 years, and they will be hungry. They have started to gel as a team and the rotation looks set. Senior Anthony Grundy somehow wills this team to win, and freshman Julius Hodge brings a spark that this program hasn't seen since Tom Gugliotta.
The Pack overcomes their rebounding deficiencies and lack of tourny experience to end Coach Izzo's Spartans' three year run in the Final Four: NC State 77 Michigan State 68