The Wolfpack men’s hoops team takes back to the hardwoods tonight to battle Florida State in an ACC contest.Â Confidence in State is not high right now in the fanbase, which has been conditioned to expect sub-par play (to put it kindly) from the backcourt and certain lack of fire from upperclassmen front-court players.Â In short, many are starting to question every aspect of this team, from the players to the coaches.
Hamilton: “[W]e have the ability to shut down some passing lanes. We are still a work in progress. I think we will be a very good defensive team as we move on because we are still having some lapses.”
That does not bode well for a Wolfpack team known for lazy passes that turn into fast breaks in the other direction.
Ken Tysiac says the pretty much the same thing in his ACC Now entry ‘Lowe: Packs Wounds Self-Inflicted’
Give N.C. State credit for consistency. Despite having a week of practice to work on breaking Clemsonâ€™s press, the Wolfpack committed 18 turnovers again in a 63-51 loss.
â€œA lot of it has been poor decision making, really,â€ Lowe said, â€œnot being strong with the ball and not making the simple pass.â€
The last person struggling N.C. State point guards Farnold Degand, Julius Mays and Javi Gonzalez needs to see is guard Toney Douglas, who visits the RBC Center on Tuesday night with Florida State.
The Freedom News service notices that the lack of offense from both teams in the first half of their previous games is obviously something they need to work on:
Fixing offenses is a priority for Florida State and North Carolina State as they meet tonight in Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball.
N.C. State managed only 17 first-half points Saturday in a loss at Clemson. Florida State held Duke to19 first-half points on the same day, but trailed 19-14 at the break.
Tony Haynes, the Pack’s radio network color announcer writes on GoPack.com that this weeks pair of home games are obviously big ones for NC State:
After dropping back-to-back road games against quality competition, the NC State menâ€™s basketball team will have an opportunity to return home for two ACC games this week. Florida State comes to the RBC Center for a 7 p.m. contest on Tuesday, followed by a visit from Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Both teams are big and quick, and feature the type of athletic personnel that could pose some problems for the Pack. In Saturdayâ€™s 63-51 loss at Clemson, NC State( 9-4, 0-1) was reminded of just how much the game changes once ACC play begins.
Most notably, Clemsonâ€™s shot-blockers made life miserable for NC Stateâ€™s post players. Ben McCauley, Brandon Costner and Tracy Smith were a combined 5-of-19 from the field, with most of their misses coming in close.
Game time is 7pm in the RBC Center.
SFN’s Key Questions for the game:
- Will the guards show competence against, or will they succumb once again and make the FSU backcourt look like NBA all-stars?
- Will Costner and McCauley play to their potential?
- Will the fans show up in force to back a team that many Wolfpack fans have clearly lost confidence in?
Your thoughts on tonight’s action?
BJD95 analysis (I was typing this concurrently with Alpha!):
There’s no sugar coating what tonight’s game against the Seminoles means – if NC State wants to get to 6 or possibly even 7 ACC wins, then it absolutely must win tonight. No excuses, no coming close. Just win. The psyche of the team and the fanbase need a victory in the worst way. Win, and the prospect of a 2-1 start is very realistic. Lose, and the weight of the world will be on weak shoulders to avoid an 0-3 ACC mark and an absolute meltdown from fans and alumni.
Georgia Tech is waiting in the on-deck circle – and frankly, they suck. The Pack should handle the Jackets with ease as long it comes into the weekend with some positive momentum and a winning attitude. 2-1 = strong likelihood of an NIT bid. 0-3 = buzzards circling.
Right now, the predominant mood among the fanbase is abject despair. Even the always reliable Section Six blog has yet to post a preview (check back this afternoon). I sense no anticipation for this game. There is a 7:00 pm tip and TV coverage on ESPN-U (available in HD for Wake County cable subscribers), so a late arriving and somewhat sparse crowd is likely. The only thing that can lift this malaise is a win. Sidney Lowe and staff must get this team ready and fired up, without depending on an injection of adrenalin from the home crowd.
What about FSU as an opponent? According to Sagarin, the Noles are ranked #48, below all of the teams that have beaten NC State this season – but well ahead of all the teams the Pack has defeated. A look at FSU’s schedule reveals close home losses to 2 excellent teams (Duke, Pitt), solid neutral site wins against Cincy and Cal, a good home win against Florida, and an embarrassing blowout loss at Northwestern. The Seminoles also survived numerous close calls against weak opponents.
Personnel-wise, FSU is extremely top-heavy, featuring only one player scoring in the double digits (Toney Douglas). If you are wondering which Nole will torch State’s shoddy perimeter defense for 30+ points, there’s your answer. If only we had an adequate perimeter defender, this win would seemingly be in the bag. Instead, Douglas will provide a hefty challenge for Ferguson and possibly Fells (I will scream myself hoarse if any of State’s defensively-challenged PGs matches up with him for more than one possession).
We’ll see what happens tonight.