#6 N.C. State Wolfpack: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

It all started clicking down the stretch of last season for the North Carolina State Wolfpack and first year head coach Mark Gottfried as they advanced to the Sweet 16, narrowly missing out on the Elite 8.  N.C. State rolled over Miami (OH) in their opener showing why they are considered the ACC favorites.

N.C. STATE WOLFPACK
Last Season: 9-7 in ACC, 24-13 overall
Predicted ACC Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Richard Howell (Sr)/Jordan Vandenberg (Sr)
PF: C.J. Leslie (Jr)/Thomas de Thaey (So)
G/F: Scott Wood (Sr)/T.J. Warren (Fr)
SG: Rodney Purvis (Fr)
PG: Lorenzo Brown (Jr)/Tyler Lewis (Fr)

Gone: PG-Alex Johnson, G/F-C.J. Williams, F/C-Deshawn Painter (transfer-Old Dominion), G-Jaqawn Raymond (transfer-Middle Tennessee State), F-Tyler Harris (transfer-Providence)

2012-2013 Outlook:
The ‘Pack bring back their top four scorers from a year ago and also welcome in three McDonald’s All-Americans so talent won’t be an issue.  The frontcourt combination of Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie complement each other nicely.  Howell brings physicality and strength inside while Leslie is an athletic freak with insane leaping ability.  He does need to improve his jump shot to live up to his NBA Draft lottery potential.

Versatile freshman forward T.J. Warren has some Leslie to his game.  Warren is a great athlete capable of playing either forward position and should see major minutes right away.  I’m intrigued by seeing a potential frontcourt of Warren, Leslie, and Howell.

Lorenzo Brown stepped in nicely last season as the full-time point guard.  At 6-5, he brings good size to the position.  He is an okay shooter but at his best when attacking the basket or creating for his teammates.  Rodney Purvis, the second of the three McD guys, is a fearless slasher who also has a nice touch on his jumper.  The simplest way to describe this backcourt is that I really, REALLY like this duo.

Freshman point guard Tyler Lewis is the lone reserve in the backcourt and a capable three-point threat as well as a great distributor.  He should be able to play effectively in the same backcourt as either Brown or Purvis.

Though the least talented of the starting five, Scott Wood brings experience and a much needed shooter to the lineup.  He connected on 41% of his triple tries and should benefit from the drive and kick ability of both Brown and Purvis.

If there is one Achilles heel for the Wolfpack this season, it is their lack of depth.  Three players transferred in the off-season leaving Gottfried with just nine scholarship players this season.  Lewis and Warren will log quality minutes off the bench while 7-1 Jordan Vandenberg and Thomas de Thaey add some size inside.

N.C. State is using a tenth scholarship on LSU transfer Ralston Turner.  He is a capable wing scorer who must sit out this season but will have two years of eligibility remaining in 2013-14.

Gottfried has quickly changed the culture of the N.C. State program, ending the team’s five year absence from the NCAA Tournament last season.  Even more is expected in 2012-13 and there is good reason why the Wolfpack were picked to upend traditional powerhouses Duke and UNC, and win the ACC title.  That feat cannot be accomplished unless this team stays healthy though since they just don’t have the bodies on their roster to sustain a major loss.

Player to Watch: Lorenzo Brown
The junior playmaker was a member of my preseason “All-Boy” Team in which I pick my five favorite players of the year.  He does a little bit of everything on the floor and really has superstar potential.  N.C. State will need Brown to tap into that if the ‘Pack is truly going to be a top ten caliber team this season.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/15 vs. Penn State (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/16 vs. UMass/Providence (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/18 vs. Tennessee/UNC-Asheville/Oklahoma State/Akron (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/27 at Michigan (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/4 vs. UConn (Jimmy V Classic at MSG)
12/18 vs. Stanford

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#7 UNLV Rebels
#8 San Diego State Aztecs
#9 Florida Gators
#10 Michigan Wolverines
#11 Syracuse Orange
#12 Duke Blue Devils
#13 Ohio State Buckeyes
#14 Arizona Wildcats
#15 North Carolina Tar Heels
#16 Michigan State Spartans
#17 UCLA Bruins
#18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#19 Cincinnati Bearcats
#20 Marquette Golden Eagles
#21 Creighton Bluejays
#22 Gonzaga Bulldogs
#23 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#24 Memphis Tigers
#25 Baylor Bears
#26 Wisconsin Badgers
#27 Tennessee Volunteers
#28 Pitt Panthers
#29 New Mexico Lobos
#30 St. Mary’s Gaels
#31 Georgetown Hoyas
#32 North Texas Mean Green
#33 Ohio Bobcats
#34 Texas Longhorns
#35 Miami Hurricanes
#36 Purdue Boilermakers
#37 Alabama Crimson Tide
#38 St. Joseph’s Hawks
#39 Murray State Racers
#40 VCU Rams
#41 Davidson Wildcats
#42 Stanford Cardinal
#43 UMass Minutemen
#44 St. John’s Red Storm
#45 Butler Bulldogs
#46 Florida State Seminoles
#47 Drexel Dragons
#48 St. Louis Billikens
#49 West Virginia Mountaineers
#50 BYU Cougars
#51 Temple Owls
#52 Washington Huskies
#53 California Golden Bears
#54 Kansas State Wildcats
#55 Nevada Wolfpack
#56 Colorado Buffaloes
#57 Iowa State Cyclones
#58 Northern Iowa Panthers
#59 Colorado State Rams
#60 Iowa Hawkeyes
#61 South Florida Bulls
#62 Valparaiso Crusaders
#63 Illinois Fighting Illini
#64 Arkansas Razorbacks
#65 Wichita State Shockers
#66 George Mason Patriots
#67 Virginia Cavaliers
#68 Villanova Wildcats
#69 Maryland Terrapins
#70 Marshall Thundering Herd
#71 Iona Gaels
#72 Northwestern Wildcats
#73 Oklahoms State Cowboys
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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