NC State's Keatts on NCAA Tournament: 'All I can control is just try to win the next game'

VIDEO: NC State coach Kevin Keatts talks about the Wolfpack's resume for the NCAA tournament during a media availability after defeating Boston College at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018.
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VIDEO: NC State coach Kevin Keatts talks about the Wolfpack's resume for the NCAA tournament during a media availability after defeating Boston College at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018.
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How NC State beat Boston College earlier this season - and how it can do it again

By Steve Wiseman

swiseman@newsobserver.com

March 07, 2018 08:26 AM

New York

Two weeks ago, on Feb. 20, N.C. State built a 20-point first-half lead against Boston College before rolling to a 82-66 win at PNC Arena.

On Tuesday, Boston College earned a chance to avenge that loss.

The No. 12 seeded Eagles topped 13 seed Georgia Tech 87-77 in the ACC tournament’s opening game at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

No. 5 seed N.C. State (21-10), which had a bye Tuesday, will face Boston College Wednesday at 2 p.m.

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Here’s a look back at how the Wolfpack beat the Eagles in Raleigh and how that might affect the rematch:

Hot N.C. State shooting

In the Feb. 20 game, the Wolfpack hit 55.8 percent of its shots, including 11 of 21 (52.4 percent) on 3-pointers, against Boston College in Raleigh. That was part of a stretch where N.C. State shot 50 percent or better in five consecutive games. The Wolfpack has been unable to hit the break-even mark in its last two games. But N.C State coach Kevin Keatts said Monday he isn't alarmed by that since his team shot 44.6 and 44.1 percent in its last two games. That’s not exactly falling off the cliff.

Georgia Tech shot just 39.7 percent against Boston College in Tuesday's ACC tournament game as the Yellow Jackets made 5 of 20 3-pointers. But it’s hard to credit Boston College’s defense. Georgia Tech finished last in the ACC in 3-point shooting this season, making just 31.2 percent.

Pressure the ball

Boston College only turned the ball over 12 times against N.C. State on Feb. 20. Only one team (Virginia Tech with 11) had fewer turnovers in the last 11 games against the Wolfpack.

Keatts, though, was happy with how his team made the Eagles rush their shots, which led to all those misses.

Against Georgia Tech on Tuesday, Boston College turned the ball over 17 times. The majority of them (11) came in the second half when the Yellow Jackets employed a press .

That bodes well for the Wolfpack to force even more turnovers this time. Boston College was careless with the ball this season. The Eagles turned it over on 17.8 percent of its possessions, which is ninth in the ACC.

On Feb. 20 against N.C. State, Boston College turned it over on 16.4 percent of its possessions.

Share the ball

N.C. State recorded assists on 65.5 percent of its made field goals against Boston College in their last matchup. Wolfpack sophomore guard Markell Johnson had eight of N.C. State's 19 assists while freshman guard Braxton Beverly had four.

In its last two games, a 78-75 loss to Georgia Tech on March 1 and a 76-69 win over Louisville on March 3, N.C. State's assist percentage fell to 51.7 and 46.2.

Better passing leads to more effective offense. N.C. State’s offense has assisted on 55.4 percent of its made shots this season, better than the national average of 52.4.

To beat Boston College again, the Wolfpack needs to make the extra pass to avoid a bad shot and find a better one.

NC State vs. Boston College

When: 2 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn

TV: WRAL, ESPN