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Area Man Is True Fan Of NC State

-- Whichever W-S Journal staffer came up with this Onionesque headline deserves a high five. The article itself actually does read like something that might come from America's finest news source:

Priest said that he was drawn to cheer for N.C. State for two reasons — his interest in wolves and his natural affinity for the underdog.

I know where he stands on the live wolves issue.

-- State is going to mix in more zone defense against the Terps tonight:

As for N.C. State's game plan heading into tonight's game, forward Tracy Smith said the Wolfpack certainly would operate more out of zone defenses than they did the last time these two teams met. When asked what type of zone N.C. State planned to rely most heavily upon, Smith said a 3-2. He also offered that the Wolfpack plan to full-court press often and then fall back into the 3-2 zone.

I don't feel good about the decision to press, but if the Pack can do it effectively, they can mask some of the shortcomings in their halfcourt defense. Maybe the coaches decided it would be a good idea to try to force more turnovers.

-- NC State is 9-0 all-time against the 7-seed.

-- The N&O examined some ACC players' favorite moves, including that of Tracy Smith:

N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe loves to see his sophomore center establish position in this spot. Smith, who is 6 feet 8 and 240 pounds, has a strong lower body and excels at creating space by sticking his rear end into the gut of a post defender.

"Coach Lowe always tells me I have a big body, 'So use it,' " Smith said.

When Smith gets the ball, he usually glances back over his left shoulder to see if there's a second defender double-teaming on the play. If not, he will take one power dribble and elevate for a right-handed jump hook that's difficult to block because Smith is strong and shields the shot with his body.

When a defender shades toward the middle to prevent the jump hook, Smith sometimes spins back left for a drop step, power dribble and layup.

The article notes that Smith is going to work on a high-post jumper during the off-season. If he succeeds in developing that, there will be nothing to stop him.

-- James is liveblogging the afternoon games at YANCSSB.