1) Guard somebody, anybody
A staggering 27 of Georgia Tech’s 63 shots on Sunday were uncontested. The Jackets made 18 of those shots, or 66.7 percent.
When N.C. State actually closed on a shooter, or contested a layup, the Jackets percentage went down to 36.1 percent (13 of 36).
So, as coach Mark Gottfried said after the 86-76 loss to the Jackets, N.C. State needs to a make a decision to play defense.
2) A little help
Dennis Smith Jr. had 31 points against Georgia Tech and led the Wolfpack with 15 in a loss at Boston College. Smith needs more help, particularly from the Wolfpack bigs.
Pittsburgh, like Boston College, is not a team with great size. And, like Georgia Tech, the Panthers are a team with a smaller “stretch 4” at the power forward spot.
That means junior forward Abdul-Malik Abu will have a favorable matchup on offense (he’ll likely be defended by Sheldon Jeter).
Abu had 20 points and 11 rebounds in State’s lone ACC win (104-78 over Virginia Tech) and looked like he was out of his December funk. Then he struggled with BC and Georgia Tech.
The Wolfpack needs more from Abu and 7-footer Omer Yurtseven (3.4 points per ACC game).
3) Make someone else beat you
Boston College’s two-man game with Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman chewed N.C. State’s defense up. Josh Okogie and Quinton Stephens did the same, as did Miami’s Davon Reed and Ja’Quan Newton.
So the potential is there for Jamel Artis (22.4 points per game) and Michael Young (20.9 ppg), the ACC’s top two scorers, to wreak havoc and hand the Wolfpack its fourth straight ACC loss.
Not sure how much zone State will use after disastrous results with it against Georgia Tech but it wouldn’t be the worst idea to double Artis and Young and make one of Pitt’s lesser players beat them.