If you thought the out of conference schedule for NC State was going to be tough in 2010 (games against Wisconsin, Syracuse, Arizona and potentially Georgetown), take a look at the ACC schedule.
N.C. State (8 to 10)
Twice: UNC, Wake, Clem, Duke, FSU
Home only: GT, Miami, VT
Road only: BC, Md, UVa
Joe Giglio wrote about this yesterday on the ACC Now blog for the N&O and brought up some very good points.
Even with an heroic 5-5 split against the first group, it would take a sweep of Maryland and Virginia Tech, which won by 20 at the RBC Center last season, to get past the 10-win barrier. C.J. Leslie, Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown would need to be Wall-Bledsoe-Cousins, Part II to win more than 10 ACC games.
I don’t know that the freshmen trio has to be quite as good as Kentucky’s to get 10 wins in the league, but it will need to be close. When I look at the schedule I simply don’t see State beating Duke at all, UNC on the road, Wake on the road or FSU on the road. That’s 5 losses right there. That would mean the Pack would have to sweep the other six games to get more than 10 wins and we all know NC State is good for a sleeper against either Boston College or Virginia on the road.
Joe’s prediction of between 8 and 10 wins for the Wolfpack is right on. If Leslie and Co. dominate the non-conference schedule like Wall and Co. did and other ACC teams struggle a bit early on, maybe I’ll start to change my tune. But until then, I’ll stick by my gut.
I wrote about tempering expectations and avoiding the hype last week and the release of the schedule stuff Tuesday makes me believe it even more. And if you think I’m nuts, I’m not the only one. James over at Riddick and Reynolds (formerly Yet Another NC State Sports Blog) feels the same way.
This isn’t another attempt to dampen excitement about the season. Be excited. Predict great things for the 2010-2011 Wolfpack (like an NCAA Tournament birth). Just do so cautiously.