My first question would be for whom is Thurl going to pull: State or BYU. Thurl Bailey is the uncle of six-two Morgan Bailey who starts for BYU.
The best thing about the BYU/State match up on Saturday is that Markeisha Gatling is 100% good to go.
The next best thing is that the game is in Pauley Pavilion in California. Kody Burke is from Northridge, California and as such would be expected to put up big numbers especially with family and friends attending the game.
Finally, State has been sent to Pauley Pavilion as opposed to West Lafayette where they would have most likely played Purdue on their home court in the second round. Charlie Creme prior to the releasing of the official brackets of the women's NCAA Tournament had State going to West Lafayette as a number 4 seed. Purdue was the number 5 seed. Purdue finished 4th in the Big Ten with a conference record of 11-5 and an overall record of 21-8. Purdue's WarrenNolan.com RPI is 9. State, with an RPI of 18 (again WarrenNolan) finished 4th in the ACC with a conference record of 11-5 and an overall record of 25-7.
If State manages to get by BYU, it is better to have a game against number four seed Nebraska (3rd Big Ten, RPI 19, 12-4 conference, 25-6 overall) on a neutral court as opposed to a game against another team the equal of State on that team's home court.
The fourth team in State's four team pod is Fresno State out of the Mountain West Conference. Fresno State with a WarrenNolan RPI of 98 finished second in their conference's regular season but won the tournament to get the bid. Fresno State finished 20-10 and 13-5.
In this ESPNW article, BYU was picked as the 12 seed most likely to upset a number 5 seed:
Best bet: There is one big reason BYU could cause problems for NC State, but we'll get to more on center Jennifer Hamson in a bit. In addition to their presence in the post, the Cougars enter the first-round game in Los Angeles as one of the nation's better 3-point shooting teams (35th overall and 16th among teams in the tournament). NC State ranked near the bottom of the ACC in 3-point defense and isn't the kind of team that is going to physically push around a WCC opponent. BYU's Lexi Eaton is a streaky shooter, but if she's on, look out.
Lexi Eaton is a five ten guard averaging almost 17 points per game with a three point shooting percentage of 0.373. I think the article got the wrong woman with regard to three point shooting. I think they meant five-eleven Kim Beeston who's three point percentage is 0.409. Beeston shot 225 three pointers to Eaton's 126.
What BYU has is size. Center Jennifer Hamsom is six-seven and shoots 0.568 from the field while scoring 18.3 points per game. One can add to that six-two Morgan Bailey, five-eleven Beeson, five-ten Eaton and five-five Kylie Maeda. As such BYU has more size than State with six-five Markeisha Gatling, six-two Kody Burke, five-nine Krystal Barrett, five-eight Miah Spencer and five-five 'Nique Brown.
State has six-one Jennifer Mathurin, five-eleven Breezy Williams and five-eight Ashley Willaims off the bench. BYU has five-six Stephanie Rovetti, five-ten Ashley Garfield and five-eleven Xojian Harry off the bench.
BYU as a team shoots 0.357 from the arc while State shoots 0.343 from the arc. State took 685 three pointers to BYU's 555. Miah Spencer is State's best three point shooter at 0.385.
I watched some of the BYU/Gonzaga West Coat Conference Tournament Championship game, a game Gonzaga won 71-57. Hamson is tall and lanky when compared to Gatling. Depending on how close the refs call the game, Gatling should have the advantage in getting position; however, will State be able to lob the ball over Hamson to Gatling as they will want to do? Another problem that BYU has is handling the zone press. Gonzaga had success in turning BYU over when using this defense against BYU.
A common at home foe for State and BYU was Boston College. BYU beat B.C. 70-69 while State beat B.C.85-76.
From ESPNW's Women's Power Rankings:
15. NC State: No matter how long the Wolfpack hang around this season -- in their first trip to the NCAA tournament in four years -- hats off to coach Wes Moore. Here's to hoping Markeisha Gatling (bruised knee) is at 100 percent when the games begin.
36. BYU: In case you haven't heard, Graham Hays thinks Jennifer Hamson -- a 6-7 senior center who averages 18.3 points, 11.2 points and 4.0 blocks per game -- is one of the country's most underrated players. I tend to agree.
One of the 2015 Super 60 HoopGurlz players who has not committed is Rydeiah Rogers of Myers Park, Charlotte, North Carolina. According to this article at ESPNW, Rogers is being heavily recruited by State.
Interestingly, though, Rydeiah has received little recruiting interest so far from her sister's school (Georgia Tech) or her father's alma mater (Wake Forest).
Instead, Rydeiah said she's received a strong push from NC State. She is also considering Virginia Tech and Florida State.
As noted Rydeiah has a sister playing at Georgia Tech and her father is Rodney Rogers, a star at Wake Forest when he played there. Rydeiah is six-one, has a scouts grade of 92 and is a four star recruit rated number 41 in her class by HoopGurlz.