Even more proof that basketball expectations should be restrained

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.

10-11 Basketball Sidney Lowe

52 Responses to Even more proof that basketball expectations should be restrained

  1. James C. 05/27/2010 at 9:04 AM #

    Thanks for the link.

    And, naturally, I agree with the sentiment. It seems like both the football and basketball teams could be improved this season and not gain any ground due to their difficult schedules.

  2. Alpha Wolf 05/27/2010 at 9:09 AM #

    Just get in the Dance – that was V’s mantra and it should be this year’s mantra. Then on to “survive and advance.”

  3. Thinkpack17 05/27/2010 at 9:11 AM #

    Damn we got a tough draw. But this FSU squad is basically the same team we beat twice last year, minus Alabi. I don’t see any reason to fear them. I don’t know why we couldn’t beat Wake on the road. This is a team who got absolutely gutted. They lost their offensive motor, team leader, defensive stopper, leading scorer, leading rebounder, best player, a 7 footer and their closer. I get they have a 5 person class…but come on.

    It seems like fortune favors the bold with scheduling. Vtech damn near ran the table and they get left out in the cold, but people didn’t really see Carolina as a non-tourny team until they absolutely collapsed. They didn’t beat anybody…but they played some tough teams. It is a hell of a schedule, but we also have the opportunity to get some big wins.

  4. rmpackman 05/27/2010 at 9:40 AM #

    agree with Thinkpack. I know we do need to use some restraint but I cannot for the life of me figure out why WF, UNC, and FS are getting more love than us. We return a good nucleus and with the additions of the three amigo’s we have a lot of mojo in our favor. WF lost alot and they will rely heavily on freshmen. FS lost their real inside punch. UNC is celebrating the addition of an SEC role player as their savior. I think we have the edge in all of these matchups. I know that we are all waiting for the other shoe to drop- it always seems too at NCSU. But, I do feel that 10 wins is doable!

  5. hball57 05/27/2010 at 9:49 AM #

    You know, I’m tired about writers telling me how to feel about my team. I am a fan; I can get excited anytime I want! I can say we will make the Final Four – who cares? I have no involvement with the team and nothing I do or say will help or hinder what the team accomplishes this year. So get excited! Dream big! Isn’t that what the University of Jimmy V would do?

  6. choppack1 05/27/2010 at 9:54 AM #

    8-8 or 9-7 would get likely get us an at-large bid if the teams we play meet their expectations.

    I think a sweep is most likely vs. Wake, we should be able to split vs. FSU, UNC and Clemson. We’ll be dawgs vs. Duke both games. Of course, Sidney’s squad has historically played Duke pretty well – beating them twice and being robbed in the RBC once. I think we’ll have the athleticism to keep at least one of those games close and steal a win.

    If we get 4 wins vs. that bunch – we should be able to find 4 to 5 wins vs. the rest of the crowd.

    Of course, since Sidney arrived the real problem has been the crappy performances vs. very beatable teams (not usually named Wake, Duke, UNC or GaTech)…our performances vs. @ BC and @ UVa has helped us keep away from the middle pack…and UMd has totally owned us since Sid’s arrival.

  7. VaWolf82 05/27/2010 at 10:09 AM #

    So get excited!

    Not all hype is unwarranted….but a great deal of it is. So hopefully you won’t mind if some of us wait until we see something exciting happen on the court first.

  8. tuckerdorm1983 05/27/2010 at 10:22 AM #

    my expectations ( I believe realistic)

    1. Winning record in the ACC
    2. be playing on SATURDAY of the weekend of the ACC Tourney
    4. Go to the big dance and win one or two games
    5. do better than last year.

  9. PackMan97 05/27/2010 at 10:24 AM #

    Here are my expectations for this upcoming season.

    Every single time our guys step onto the court I expect them to win. There I said what we are all thinking.

    I see no reason that expectation needs to be tempered. Will we win every single game? Nope. However, I expect that if our team plays their best, we will win the game against anyone. I know they won’t always play their best and against teams like Duke, even 99% effort might not be enough. However, gone is the feeling that we can’t hang with Duke unless they have a bad night. Gone is the feeling of hopelessness and inevitability.

    I don’t think this is too much to expect.

  10. bradleyb123 05/27/2010 at 10:32 AM #

    VaWolf, just out of curiosity… do you feel the same about this year’s team going into this season as you did about last year’s team going into last season? Do you not see ANY difference? Do you not have ANY higher expectations or hopes for this team over last year’s team?

    I’m just curious, because you seem to feel there’s nothing much to be excited about going into the season. But sometimes, it is reasonable to at least have some hope before you see a single minute of play.

  11. wolf pack 05/27/2010 at 11:01 AM #

    I disagree I think we can beat wake and fsu away

  12. choppack1 05/27/2010 at 11:09 AM #

    bradleyb – I know it wasn’t directed at my – but here’s my take:

    Lowe has proven that he can occassionally sign highly ranked players. And it appears that he has excellent potential as a recruiter. (AS of now, it’s still just potential, because while he’s bagged some big recruits, he’s hasn’t shown the ability to consistently fill a roster with talented players).

    What Lowe hasn’t shown is that he can motivate and prepare his guys to put them in the best position to win every game. For his first 4 years, Lowe’s results have actually been VERY consistent: 5 ACC regular season wins, 4 ACC regular season wins, 6 ACC regular season wins, 5 ACC regular season wins.

    While there’s lots of reason for optimism, I’d say there’s at least 50/50 chance we’ll be in Lowe’s wheelhouse of that 4-6 ACC wins. But hey, at least then we should have consensus that Lowe should be fired.

  13. VaWolf82 05/27/2010 at 11:17 AM #

    VaWolf, just out of curiosity… do you feel the same about this year’s team going into this season as you did about last year’s team going into last season?

    No. Last off-season I was pessimistic, this off-season I am agnostic.

    Despite unwarranted claims to the contrary, I “knew” that last year’s team was going to be bad because none of the problems from the previous year were being corrected. (In this case, “knew” stands for my conclusion.)

    Going into next year, there is a chance that the problems from this year’s team are being corrected. But not all high school superstars produce big-time results at the college level and many more don’t produce during their freshman year. So I don’t know what to expect from next year’s team.

    One side note on next year’s “expectations”…just being “better” than last year’s team is not an acceptable performance level and it will take alot more than that to make me feel good about the state of our basketball program.

  14. tuckerdorm1983 05/27/2010 at 11:48 AM #

    if we do better than last year, then I will take what I can get and call it a sucess. These three kids have NEVER played one game in college ball. If they were going into their SOPH season, then I may be more optimistic than I already am. I expect them to struggle at times and maybe by late April bring it together. Look at GA TECH last year.

  15. Packfan28 05/27/2010 at 12:23 PM #

    “Last off-season I was pessimistic, this off-season I am agnostic”

    What a great line!

  16. choppack1 05/27/2010 at 12:44 PM #

    tucker – look at GaTech in 2009 or 2010?

  17. Wolfpack_1995 05/27/2010 at 12:46 PM #

    What is this now a “reverse media conspiracy?”

    IMO Wake, Clemson, and FSU should be auto wins already.

    THESE GAMES SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED TOUGH!

    Wake and Clemson lost their Head Coach along many key players.

    FSU was swept by us last year with Alabi there.

    Even calling Arizona a tough game is a stretch. WE should have beat them(except for refs and last sec layup) and they are traveling out here.

    Maybe I am falling into the preseason hype but Please do NOT say fans expectations should be restrained against teams mentioned above!

  18. baxter 05/27/2010 at 1:31 PM #

    Actually, I don’t see 10 wins as impossible. If you take into account what this team accomplished this year with 0 potential at the beginning of the season, then I dont see why with 3 phenoms, Smith, Javi, Wood, etc, that we can’t improve and win those games on the road for the 2 game series. I can see us coming away with at least 2 road wins (Wake, FSU, Clemson – really guys, I don’t see where you look at that and go, oh no those teams are stacked right now). Hell, if Carolina plays like last year at all, then I think we can actually compete this year. It seemed like the best matchups against UNC last year was the 3 guard set, I can’t see why a lineup of Harrow, Javi / Brown, Wood, Smith, CJL / insert player here, can’t compete against the UNC squad.

    You know, it is sad that there is so much stink still left over from the last couple of years of watching a team without a true set of guards get blown up in the ACC. But I’m not really worried about having a freshman with mad handles and a veteran back up, get supported by a guy who got an extra year in prep school. Especially when they have more talent than we have seen in years. I mean hell, Atsur looked awesome backing his way over the midcourt stripe. This years team will be nasty.

  19. wufpup76 05/27/2010 at 1:44 PM #

    Agree with the premise of this article as I did with the “hype” piece.

    I’m excited and enthusiastic about the roster and recruits and I am OVERJOYED at having a shot at some big NON-conference foes during the season … BUT, I’m not expecting any type of gaudy record.

    Just getting to .500 in conference play would be a monumental improvement over Sidney’s first four years. Notch a couple of big non-conf victories with no mindboggling losses and that should be enough to get into the tournament with the schedule we have. And the “no losses to teams of RPI 150+” is the real key.

    Having heralded freshmen on the roster is great – but we will absolutely need senior leadership from Javi and Tracy. Kentucky’s freshmen last season were down by 18 points at home in the season opener against a rather pedestrian Miami (Ohio) squad until Patrick Patterson and John Wall saved the day. Point being, freshmen WILL struggle. And the last time I checked, we’re STILL NC State … which means a couple of unbelievable losses are all but guaranteed. And when you are NC State there is absolutely no such thing as a “guaranteed win” or “easy victory” – especially against conference foes.

    Thinking that you are all that will quickly show you that you are not (see: NC State ’07-08 & Chapel Hole ’09-’10)

    If we get to 10 conference wins I will be estatic and will be heaping all kinds of praise on the team and staff. I don’t mean to dumb-down expectations, but lots of victories equates to rarified air for us unfortunately until proven otherwise.

    There will be losses, except with all this hype the meltdowns here after losses might be epic. I certainly hope there aren’t many, but there will be some.

    Ok, sorry about being a Debbie Downer :(

    Go Pack :)

  20. choppack1 05/27/2010 at 1:56 PM #

    wufpup – I think there’s a decent chance of a pretty big turnaround next year because of the options we have returning.

    It’s pretty exciting to have the talent we have coming in. The big key will be Lowe managing the egos, focus and getting our guys to work together. Hopefully, we won’t see a repeat of 2007-2008 where chemistry issues (and other issues) sabotaged what should have been an NCAA tourney bid season. IMHO, that season really hurt the perception of Lowe and set the program back 3 years.

    He’s lucky – he’s getting a second chance to show that he has learned how to manage elite talent and/or show that the year itself was a fluke where the implosion was out of his control.

  21. bradleyb123 05/27/2010 at 3:09 PM #

    Last off-season I was pessimistic, this off-season I am agnostic

    Fair enough. I thought you were being pessimistic about this year, too. But at least your outlook for this year is apparently improved over your outlook from last year. I think that’s probably true for just about all of us. We’re all hoping/expecting for more from this year’s team. How could we not? We’re not losing that much in Degand and Horner, and look what we’re potentially gaining? And we’re also picking up a highly-rated point guard, something we’ve been sorely lacking for years.

    I thought you were one of the holdouts that was just as pessimistic as you were last year, and I just had to ask about that.

  22. bradleyb123 05/27/2010 at 3:16 PM #

    bradleyb – I know it wasn’t directed at my – but here’s my take: [snip]

    chop, you alluded to Sid’s occasional good recruiting. Before this year, has he really brought in that many? JJ Hickson and Tracy Smith were good early recruits for Sid. But last year’s class and this year’s class, I believe are proof that Sid only needed time to build relationships in recruiting. These days, the top talent is being recruiting as 9th and 10th graders. When Sid first arrived, he was already behind in that regard. His first and second seasons it was impossible for Sid to bring in a kid he had been recruiting for 3-4 years because he hadn’t been in college coaching long enough for that to even be possible. Now that he’s had the time to cultivate long-term recruiting relationships, he’s reaping the fruits of that. This is why I’m forgiving of his early recruiting years that weren’t so great.

    People point out that he doesn’t have much in the hopper for 2011. But I say we take a want-and-see position on that, too. We don’t KNOW what he has in the works. I suspect we’ll soon be hearing some names. I’ve seen a few thrown out there on other State blogs. Maybe he’s just keeping 2011 quiet for now?

  23. choppack1 05/27/2010 at 3:40 PM #

    bradleyb – who knows. I think the hope w/ Lowe always was that he could use his considerable charisma to be a fantastic recruiter. Hopefully, this year he’ll be able to motivate and prepare his talent better than he has in the past.

    Like I said, we can’t say he hasn’t had the chance before. What he hasn’t had is this much talent and athleticism in the backcourt. We’ll see just what kind of game Lowe’s team will play when he has all of the pieces.

  24. Packfan28 05/27/2010 at 4:04 PM #

    bradley, I understand your point, but at the same time you are being somewhat contradictory in your logic. On one hand you say recruiting begins early (9th and 10th grade), yet on the other hand you say we should take a wait and see attitude for 2011. If there were 2011 recruits that Sid has been cultivating since the 9th and 10th grade, I think we would know by now (and the recruiting gurus would certainly be including NC State on their list of schools in the running), but NC State’s name is conspicuously absent. You see guys like Carolina and Duke mentioned with a ton of them, but we’re not there. So rather than cultivating relationships with the 2011 recruits, its more like Sid is going to have to pull a rabbit out of his hat to get them.

  25. bradleyb123 05/27/2010 at 4:13 PM #

    I’m saying wait and see on 2011, because maybe we just don’t have a clue what Sid has in the hopper. I believe he’ll end up with another good class. Just because we don’t know what he’s working on doesn’t mean he isn’t working on anything.

    I’m saying wait and see because, just wait and see. If he ends up with nothing much at all in 2011, it will seemingly contradict what I said about cultivating recruiting from an early age. Or maybe he just can’t get ‘em all. I’m not sure we’ve reached the point where we can safely expect a top-5 or top-10 recruiting class every year. Before we get that kind of recruiting consistency, we may need to make a splash and do some winning.

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