We shared some thoughts in an updated game entry below, but I wanted to chime in with some more specific comments.
Reactive vs System?
After watching Sidney coach I have been very impressed with both his preparation and in game adjustments. During the games, he has made good use of his timeouts, changed defenses effectively and has his team playing hard without fouling (a must for a team with a short bench). His pre game acumen has been displayed by detecting weaknesses in the other team he can use to his advantage. The Michigan game is a great example of this. When scouting the game, Lowe noticed that McCauley had a speed advantage against the Michigan big men. He pulled Big Ben away from the basket, instructed him to drive and McCauley responded by leading the team with 19 points to go with his 8 rebounds.
What has been a refreshing change is the flexibility I see from the NC State bench. In the recent past NCSU has had a â€œrun the system and it will workâ€ mentality that has been frustrating albeit somewhat effective. We tried to force other teams to play how we wanted them to play. And when it worked it worked well. When our shots were falling and we were running the Princeton offense effectively we were a tough team to beat. We forced other teams to play defense for long periods of time and kept them from getting easy baskets. The problems came when we did not shoot well or for some reason the offense was not generating good shots. We did not react well when the plan was not working.
What I see from Lowe is a coach that reacts to game situations almost before they are happening. He calls timeouts before the other team makes a run. He changes defense to disrupt the other teamâ€™s chemistry and flow. He runs plays to take advantage of a â€œhotâ€ player. He reacts to game situations instead of relying on a system that will not work universally.
It is good (even desirable) to have an over-riding offensive philosophy for your team. But you must realize when you need to look at option B.
I have seen many people getting down on Grant and am mystified by it.
Grant has been forced to play the toughest position on the court with little to no preparation. Has he been perfect? No. But he has performed very well against Michigan and against the best PG in the ACC (Sean Singletary). This can only make us better when Atsur returns. Also, I think you will be seeing Grantâ€™s name being mentioned on all ACC rosters before the year is over.
End of Game situations
How refreshing is it to see an actual end of game play set up? Hit or miss all you can ask is to get an open look. This is so much better than the â€œrun the offenseâ€ end game philosophy we have had in the recent past.
Fells, Costner, McCauley and Nieman have been playing very well despite a lack of playing time last year. This makes you wonder if the players have developed that much or if they should have played more last year. Either way it is great to see the poise and effort they displayed on Sunday.