On Friday night at 7 p.m., Pitt (5-3) will take on NC State (7-1) in a huge conference-opening matchup in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Let’s take a look at what the Wolfpack has done so far to reach the 7-1 mark.
NC State has looked to Ole Miss transfer Jarkel Joiner to lead the team in scoring this year so far. Joiner has posted 17.3 points per game on 51% shooting and 39% (10 of 26) from three-point land. The efficient off-ball guard is just a pure scorer who finds his buckets each game. Joiner elevates high on his mid-range jumpers and floaters, and uses his body well to get defenders on his back hip while driving. Shifty two-guard can also take the ball up.
Last year’s All-ACC freshmen-team member Terquavion Smith is right behind Joiner at 16.1 points per game. This year, Smith was picked as a preseason first-team All-ACC selection after posting impressive numbers last year, and he is off to a hot start so far in the first eight games. The team’s primary ball-handler has hit 39% of his field goals and 32% (21 of 65) of his three-point attempts so far. Last year, Pitt held Smith in check, as he scored just six points and hit just two of his 12 shot attempts.
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“He’s probably the most talented [guard we’ve faced],” Capel said about Smith before the game. “I read that he probably, or had a good chance of being a first-round pick. That’s really surprising that a guy comes back when you think you’re a first-round pick or have a really good shot.”
Casey Morsell is the team’s third-leading scorer at 14.9 points per game. Morsell is a 6-foot-3 guard who is a serious threat from three-point range. The sniper is shooting 53% (25-47) from beyond the arch this season and is also averaging almost five rebounds per game for the Pack.
Along with the three leading scorers (who are all guards), NC State will look to Jack Clark, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound wing, and Dusan Mahorcic, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound graduate forward to round out the starting five.
Clark hails from the Philly area (Cheltonham, PA), and is averaging 10.6 points and almost seven rebounds per game for the Pack. Mahorcic has posted averages of 9.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest.
Aside from the starting five, only two other players have appeared in all eight games. Only one of those players, graduate transfer DJ Burns (6-foot-9, 275-pound forward) is averaging more than 15 minutes per game.
TEAM STAT COMPARISONS
- 83 points per game
- 30.5 FG per game
- 48% FG
- 36% 3FG
- 38 RPG
- 15.1 APG
- 12.0 TO/G
- 73.3 points per game
- 25 FG per game
- 44% FG
- 33% 3FG
- 40.1 RPG
- 14.5 APG
- 14.1 TO/G
NC State is currently a ten-point favorite, per DraftKings Sportsbook. The game will be televised on ACC Network at 7 p.m.