After a thrilling finish against Pittsburgh, Syracuse returns home to face the North Carolina State Wolfpack on Saturday. The Pack have won five of their last six and feature the ACC's leading scorer.
Tyler Lewis runs the show for N.C. State. He is a solid point guard who decent court vision. He passes the ball well, but does not offer much in terms of scoring. He is a below average shooter from all over the floor. Lewis is only making 33% of his shots, 15% from beyond the arc. He is a below average defender as well.
Ralston Turner may be State's second best offensive weapon. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard is a natural scorer and the team's best three-point shooter. He is a physical player who is solid as a defender as well. Turner has the ability to score from anywhere on the floor.
The Wolfpack utilize two guards off the bench. Super talented freshman Anthony Barber backs up Lewis at the point. He offers much more in terms of offensive ability and raw talent. Barber leads the team in assists, but struggles with turnovers and shot selection.
Desmond Lee adds a scoring spark who can pass off the bench. He is a solid outside shooter, but not a big-time threat from beyond the arc. Lee is a skilled on-ball defender who puts pressure on opposing guards.
T.J. Warren is N.C. State's best player and may be the best scorer in the ACC. He is averaging over 23 points per game while shooting over 52% from the floor. He is a solid outside shooter, but is only hitting 29% of his shots from beyond the arc.
Still, Warren can score from anywhere on the floor. He is skilled attacking the rim, has a smooth mid-range jumper and can score in the post. Warren is a load to handle and will test the Syracuse zone. Expect to see him at the high-post frequently. Underrated is Warren's ability to defend. He moves his feet well and uses his long arms to deflect passes.
Kyle Washington starts at power forward. He has been average this season and struggled to find the bottom of the net. Washington does his damage in the low-post, but doesn't offer much in terms of being an offensive threat. He is a solid rebounder but struggles defensively.
Jordan Vandenberg is a 7-foot-1 center who is the team's best shot blocker. He is a solid rebounder and very efficient offensively. The senior big hits nearly 75% of his shots. He scores inside and does not have the touch to be able to step hit and hit jumpers consistently. He only takes about three shots per game, however. Vandergerg is a solid rebounder as well.
Off the bench, Lennard Freeman gives N.C. State a solid rebounder who doesn't offer much offensively. BeeJay Anya is a big, physical interior player who is a natural shot blocker and solid rebounder. He doesn't get a lot of minutes, but has an impact when he plays.
N.C. State plays a traditional man-to-man defense. They like to play up on guards to force turnovers and will double upon penetration. The Wolfpack are vulnerable near the rim without a big time shot blocker. You can also shoot over the top of their defense and use ball-screens to free-up penetrating guards.
N.C. State shoots only 30% from beyond the arc. Besides Ralston Turner, every other regular in the rotation shoots under 30% from three-point range. The Pack are 171st in the country in scoring at 71.6 points per game. They are 148th in rebounding at only 35.7 per game. They turn it over 11 times per game on average.
Syracuse has a significant advantage in the backcourt and at two of the three positions in the frontcourt. If the Orange play to their ability, they should be able to win in the Carrier Dome. However, T.J. Warren has the ability to take over a game and should be of concern for the Syracuse zone. The lack of shooters for N.C. State certainly helps Syracuse.