When: Friday November 17 - 7:00 PM
Where: PNC Arena
Opponent: Charleston Southern Buccaneers (Big South Conference)
TV: ACC Network Extra
Preseason Conference Prediction: 8th (of 9) in the Big South
Pomeroy Prediction: Wolfpack 83 – 61
The Charleston Southern Buccaneers (KP #329) are our second opponent from the beautiful Charleston SC area. This will be their 4th game of the season, so far, they have been an equal opportunity school playing D1, D2, and D3 opponents.
Their sole D1 game was a home game against the North Florida Ospreys (KP #282) held in the Buc Dome, characterized on their website as “…one of the most intimate settings for NCAA Division 1 sports in the nation.” (I miss Reynolds!)
The Bucs were up by 4 at the half, but the Ospreys had a 48-point second half to win 81-70. One D1 loss against a lower ranked team isn’t much to build a scouting report on, but there are some takeaways from the game stats that may be season long trends. Their starting lineup averages 6’6”, and it appears they play that size to their advantage in the frontcourt. They only shot 3-10 from 3PT, but they were a decent 20-37 (54.1%) otherwise. They also won the rebounding battle on both ends. PG RJ Johnson took 34% of their shots, scoring a career high 25 points and had 3 of their 6 total assists. Preseason All-Conference forward Taje Kelly scored his second double-double of the season with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
CSU Probable Starters
Keys To The Game
According to Pomeroy, this is the second lowest ranked team (behind Maryland Eastern Shore) we will play this season. So, to keep the basketball gods smiling on us, we need to win convincingly.
But more importantly, we then have four key resume building games in the next 10 days. First up is the two game Vegas Showdown. Immediately behind that is our first SEC Challenge game followed by our first ACC game, an away game. From that perspective, this is a very important game, and we need to make the most of it.
Wolfpack Trends to Watch
(It’s super early for any analysis, but four early trends to keep an eye on)
- Casey Morsell – His goal this season is to be more aggressive on offense, get to the free throw line more, and to improve on scoring off the dribble. Last season he averaged 5.5 3PT FG (41.1% made) and 3.2 2PT FG (56.2% made) per game. This season he’s at 4 3PT FG (25% made) and 7.5 2PT FG (53.3% made) per game in about 5 fewer minutes. Scoring average is up slightly this season, from 11.8 ppg to 12.5 ppg. The 3PT shot should start falling. Casey expanding his game is a positive trend resulting in more shots that should result in his scoring ticking up a bit more. Plus his minutes are down so far, if this continues he should have fresher legs at the end of games which will benefit his defense, rebounding, and shooting.
- DJ Horne – DJ’s career 3PT shooting percentage is 37.7% and his best single season was 42.4%, both are better than Terquavion Smith, Jarkel Joiner, and Casey Morsell. He averaged about 166 3PT attempts per season (roughly 2⁄3 of Smith’s average) for his career, averaging about 5.5 per game. So far, he is 3-12 (25%) for the Pack. His attempts are right about his average, but his accuracy is down. Based on his history, I would expect to see his 3PT shot start to fall and his scoring (currently 10.5 ppg) increase.
- Mo Diarra – His last season at JUCO, Mo averaged 17.8 ppg, 12.6 rpg and was the Co-Defensive player of the year. He was also an excellent shot blocker. That’s the player Missouri expected to get last season but did not. I give both Mo and the Pack staff credit for him getting back to his best self so quickly. (And the staff for being smart enough to play him primarily at forward) He’s 6’10” but has the speed to play small ball, can hit the outside shot, and effectively guard multiple positions. He’s currently the 2nd leading rebounder in the ACC behind Bacot. He will likely lead the team in blocked shots. He’s started great and is going to get better. Power forward was a question mark coming into the season, seeing it turning into a strength bodes well for this team.
- Dennis Parker Jr – DPJ is going to be a great player. Just two games into his college career, he’s rebounding and defending well for a freshman. He is leading the team in deflections (17) while only playing 12.9 mins per game. His shots are not falling, but his form and his shot selection are good, so the shots will fall. He has a good looking 3PT shot, we might eventually see him at both the forward and wing positions. Keep an eye on this guy, he’s fun to watch.