N.C. State has been far from good this season.
The Wolfpack (14-10, 3-8 ACC) ranks 13th out of 15 teams in the ACC and has lost three straight conference games.
But despite the Pack’s struggles, Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said he has no plans to look past his opponents. N.C. State will play at No. 14 Florida State (20-4, 8-3 ACC) Wednesday night in Tallahassee, Fla.
“I think that the new players, sometimes it takes a little time to adjust,” Hamilton said. “When you go back and watch their games, they are extremely dangerous. You saw what they did at Cameron (vs. Duke), and they led Miami for about the entire game.”
There is no doubt N.C. State is a dangerous team. The Wolfpack averages 81.4 points per game, which is ranked No. 32 in the country, and five players average double-digit points. N.C. State blew out Virginia Tech 104-78 at home and stunned Duke 84-82 at Cameron Indoor Stadium earlier this season.
“This is a team that we have a tremendous amount of respect for,” Hamilton said. “There’s no doubt we definitely realize that we need to be at our best, because this is a team that can get hot and do a lot of damage.”
But as good as its offense has been, its defense just can’t seem to get it right. Since the 2006-07 season, only one ACC team – Boston College in 2013-14 – finished a season with a worse defensive efficiency rating than N.C. State’s current 108.1, according to kenpom.com. That means the Wolfpack allows about 1.08 points per possession.
The Wolfpack’s last two losses came after holding double-digit leads. Against Syracuse, the Wolfpack couldn’t stop guard John Gillon, who scored 43 points, a record at PNC Arena. Many times during the game, Dennis Smith Jr., or Markell Johnson lost track of him or went under the screen, giving him just enough space to get clean shots off.
Against Miami, the Wolfpack couldn’t rebound well enough out of its zone defense, which led to second-chance points for the Hurricanes.
N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said his team is just a “handful of plays” from winning.
“We’re a team that is playing hard, we’re competing hard,” Gottfried said Saturday. “And we’ve got to figure out how to get over that hump.”
The Wolfpack will have to figure that out fast, because the Seminoles are among the best teams in the ACC. Led by Dwayne Bacon, a 6-7, 221-pound sophomore, the Seminoles are coming off a 109-61 home win against Clemson.
Bacon hit six 3-pointers and tied his career-high with 29 points against the Tigers.
“It’s not catastrophic,” Gottfried said of his team’s situation. “We’re right there, and our guys competed really hard. But we’ve got to be able to make some plays in all those areas that will give us a chance to have a different outcome.”
N.C. State at No. 14 Florida State
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, Tallahassee, Fla.