NC State Wolfpack vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
NC State’s season didn’t go as they hoped. Unless they make a historic run in the ACC Tournament and win the whole thing, they won’t have a postseason. And no consolation prize can change that. However, a win today against UNC wouldn’t hurt.
It’s Seniors Day at NC State, and it’s time to give props to Jericole Hellems and Thomas Allen.
Hellems has been a rock for Kevin Keatts. He took on a much bigger role from day one than anyone could have imagined. The St. Louis native was coming to a class with Saddiq Bey. The two were supposed to share time at 3 and 4 eventually. However, when Bey left citing NCAA sanctioning matters, the place was left to Hellems. Soon after, Hellems had carved out a role for himself as a jack-of-all-trades, willing to physically perform and do the dirty work no one else wanted to do. Then, when injuries struck, Hellems was again thrust into an even bigger role as a junior. He was forced to be the team’s top scorer.
At every stage, Jericole Hellems has risen to the occasion. He was never the fastest, strongest or tallest guy. Every night he is oversized and repeatedly outplayed by his opponent, but you never see his match as one that will hurt you. It’s because Hellems always goes 100%, never backs down and refuses to be overtaken.
Hellems won’t hold any records at this college, but it’s hard to find a guy who embodies the traits that NC State fans appreciate more than this kid. He won’t be forgotten and will have a great start in this one in a game he may be able to exploit.
As for today against UNC. This one should be much closer than the game we saw earlier this season at Chapel Hill. In that one, Smith and Hellems left but got no help from anyone else. Meanwhile, Carolina was light, shooting 55 percent from the floor and 55 percent from 3-point range.
I think you have to give up on this game. In fact, when we were looking at matchups, we usually go back to the first encounter if possible. In this one, it’s not even worth it. UNC isn’t going to pull 55% from 3. So we’ll go back to what we said before. Bacot is going to be a problem down there, but other than that, NC State is a good match for UNC. In fact, Hellems is thought to have a nice advantage against Manek on the wing. If the Pack can get hot and play SMART on defense, then they can win this one and have at least one positive this season.