The NC State men’s basketball team is in for quite an interesting start to its season Tuesday. With the ACC Network debuting earlier this August, the ACC seems to have decided that starting the season off with a slate of conference games would be a good idea to get the new network some ratings.
So unlike last year, NC State will be starting the season off in a game that really matters, hosting Georgia Tech on the ACC Network in the second basketball game broadcast on the channel.
Georgia Tech comes into this game with a lot of disarray within the program. The Yellow Jackets are ineligible for postseason play due to recruiting violations, and poor performance from last year’s squad has head coach Josh Pastner on the hot seat.
A 14-16 record like last year will simply not cut it for this season. If any improvement will be seen from Tech, it is going to come from USC transfer Jordan Usher. The Yellow Jackets are hoping that Usher and sophomore Michael Devoe will make a difference this year, as they may be the difference on whether Pastner will still be in Atlanta this year.
NC State is in quite a different situation coming into this game. The Wolfpack is returning most of its core along with some new additions. Redshirt freshman Manny Bates is one of these new additions and should be able to provide production down in the paint, something the Pack missed last year.
With players like guards senior Markell Johnson and redshirt junior Devin Daniels, the Wolfpack outmatches the Yellow Jackets in pretty much every area of the game.
With the talent disparity along with Josh Pastner wanting to now up the tempo with the Georgia Tech offense for this season, things look good for the Wolfpack this game.
If the Pack can rely on its stars, force turnovers, and make Georgia Tech play at the fast pace they want, they should have no issues with redeeming the loss they had last year to the Yellow Jackets.
While it is only the first game of the season, the stakes are high on Tuesday. A win will put the Wolfpack at 1-0 in ACC play to start the year, while a loss would leave a sour taste in the mouth of the team and the fans.