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ACC Team Previews: North Carolina State

The Wolfpack's top 4 scorers from last year are all gone, and this will be one of the youngest teams in the nation. Even their elder statesmen are transfers who are new to the program. Getting all those new guys onto the same page will be a tough task for coach Mark Gottfried. An 11-7 record last year will be tough to replicate.

T.J. Warren is lone holdover from last year's Tournament team.
T.J. Warren is lone holdover from last year's Tournament team.

Last Season Record: 24-11 (11-7 ACC)
Preseason ACC Media Poll: 10th

Projected Starters:
Tyler Lewis, G, Sophomore
Anthony Barber, G, Freshman
Ralston Turner, G, Junior
T.J. Warren, F, Sophomore
Beejay Anya, F, Freshman

Key Reserves:
Desmond Lee, G, Junior
Kyle Washington, F, Freshman
Lennard Freeman, F, Freshman

NC State loses its top 4 scorers from last year, and 5 of the top 6. That is a devastating blow to a team that finished 4th in the ACC last year. The Wolfpack had the #9 offense in the nation, and weren't too bad defensively either. They basically did everything well, from rebounding to shooting to holding on to the ball. About the only thing they didn't do well was force turnovers, which is what kept their defensive ratings down a bit.

They weren't very deep last year, and Warren is the only significant contributor who remaining. C.J. Leslie entered the draft early and was not drafted. Lorenzo Brown, Scott Wood, and Richard Howell all graduated. Rodney Purvis transferred to Connecticut.

Now, Warren is pretty good. He shot over 50% from 3, and averaged 12 points, over 4 boards and over 1 steal per game in 27 minutes per game. As the team leader, his minutes should go up, and he'll get more shots. He'll also get more attention from defenses. Lewis, for the most part, played sparingly as a freshman, but did not look overmatched when Lorenzo Brown was injured and he had to lead the team.

Turner averaged 12 points per game as freshman for LSU in 2010, but dropped to 9 points per game as a sophomore. This was part of what led him to transfer, as he felt he was demoted in the offense. He joins Barber and Anya as newcomers expected to jump right into the starting lineup. Barber was a McDonald's All-American and the #26 player in the nation. He's a PG, so it is possible that he and Lewis do not both start, but a team with so little depth can't afford to keep Barber off the court.

Anya was the #67 player in the nation, and gives the pack some legit size in the middle. He isn't much of an offensive force right now, but he's so big (6'9" 275) that he's almost can't help but be a defensive presence in the middle. He moves very well for a guy his size, and is a very good shot blocker. His biggest weakness appears to be his conditioning, something that will affect his playing time, especially once the ACC season begins. Luckily, Mark Gottfried has 2 other freshmen big men to help alleviate the load Anya must carry. Washington and Freeman are both bigtime athletes who are both very raw offensively. Both can affect the game just with their length and athleticism. They'll provide rebounding and a defensive presence inside.

The Pack lost too much from last year to expect a repeat performance. Gottfried brought in a lot of talent, but much of it is raw, especially offensively. Even a small improvement on the defensive end will not make up for the loss of scoring that they will endure. The Pack figure to be a bottom tier ACC team, but will also be one of the youngest teams in the conference and should be back in another year or two.