NC State put together one of the top ten performances of the entire Herb Sendek era on Friday night to defeat #3 ranked Wake Forest (sans Chris Paul) in the Quarterfinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. In conjunction with many of the events of the last two days related to other teams sitting on the NCAA Bubble, the win definitely enhances the Wolfpack’s chances to squeeze into this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Tonight, NC State showed would we could and should be. On the whole, the Wolfpack never looked so good. Offense, Defense, the entire package. If State could play with that kind of focus, determination, and successful execution on a more consistent basis, the Pack couldn’t help but succeed more and the incessant Herb Sendek debates would not exist. Unfortunately for the consistent followers of the program, the performance that we savored tonight has been the exception as opposed to the rule. Here’s hoping that we’ve got two more exceptions ahead of this weekend!!
Brackman & Bennerman
The win probably prompted many to ask the question, “Why hasn’t Cameron Bennerman and Andrew Brackman played more in the last few weeks?”
Bennerman seems to excel on the Tournament stage every season; and tonight, Brackman was allowed to return to his early-season form because…he got to play.
I’d like to particularly thank these two guys for not putting their heads between their legs and writing tonight’s game off because Tony Bethel was hurt. All of our guys are given scholarships for a reason, and I’m sure that the players are exhausted of Lee Fowler and others constantly making excuses for the guys that have been healthy all year.
Hodge & Evtimov
Despite Brackman and Bennerman’s great play, Ilian Evtimov and Julius Hodge were the headliners, as it should have been. The two team leaders turned in a performance that will be treasured in Wolfpack lore for a long time.
— Nobody will mention it from looking at the boxscore, but Gavin Grant deserves a mention. Grant didn’t do much in the statistical category, but his confident ball handling and floor presence provided solid minutes when needed tonight.
— Herb Sendek improves to 3-0 against Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament, with a win over the Deacs when they were seeded #1 and #2 in the conference. Sendek is only 5-13 against Wake in the regular season.
— Unless Virginia pulls the huge upset tonight, State will take on Duke on Saturday afternoon’s late game at 3:30 ET. The Blue Devils are also missing one of their key players in Sean Dockery, adding to what is considered to be a team without a lot of depth.
— Of Sendek’s 8 losses in the ACC Tournament, half have been at the hands of the Blue Devils. Sendek is 1-4 against Duke in the Tourney (and 2-15 in the regular season).
— Go Cavs! We love Pete Gillen.