N.C. State picked up one of its biggest victories under Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren by winning at Boston College, North Carolina held off Miami and the Carolina Hurricanes provided forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi with a victorious return to Montreal during another busy week.
With the seasons beginning to overlap, basketball practices continued at Duke, N.C. State and UNC. Mike Krzyzewski gears up for his last run with the Blue Devils, Hubert Davis for his first as head coach at UNC and Kevin Keatts for his fifth with the Pack.
N.C. State has the highest ranked team in the Triangle, at least in preseason. The Wolfpack women, two-time ACC champions, were picked No. 5 in the Associated Press poll. That’s their highest since 1979-80, when Pack under the late Kay Yow also was fifth in preseason.
Duke freshman could be ACC’s best
Blue Devils forward Paolo Banchero is the first freshman to be named preseason player of the year in the ACC. Even Zion Williamson couldn’t say that, although in hindsight the voters can be faulted for that oversight.
Banchero was the No. 1-ranked power forward in the recruiting class of 2021 coming out of O’Dea High in Seattle, Washington. He’s 6-10 and 250 pounds, he has touch from the outside, can beat people off the dribble and attacks the basket in rebounding.
Kotkaniemi returns to Montreal’s Bell Centre
Soon after the Hurricanes obtained forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi via an offer sheet from the Canadiens, the first order of business was when the Canes would play at Montreal. The answer: Thursday, Oct. 21, in the Canes’ third game of the season.
Kotkaniemi was booed by Habs fans at the Bell Centre each time he touched the puck. He touched it often and well enough to score a third-period goal that helped seal a 4-1 victory and push the Canes’ record to 3-0. “It was fun. I enjoyed that,” a smiling Kotkaniemi said after the game.
Van Dyke speaks his mind about Wolfpack D
Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke said what? About N.C. State? At a time when college athletes usually stick to the script before and after games with the media, an outspoken Van Dyke disparaged the Pack’s defense — a unit allowing 14.3 points a game — a few days before the game Saturday in Miami.
“They’re still the same guys we played last year,” Van Dyke said. “We put up 44 points last year on them. ... We feel really confident.” One postscript: Van Dyke did not play in 2020 as Miami won 44-41.