Princeton – Gottfried can start ‘taking it back’ for the Pack

SFN just tweeted

Fired up about another opp’t 2 watch NC State play basketball! Ball movement! Rebounding! Hustle! Dribble penetration! #realbasketball

…and we couldn’t agree more! I haven’t been this excited about watching basketball since Sidney Lowe’s first season and the beginning of his second season.

After the Wolfpack defeated Morehead State on Sunday night Head Coach Mark Gottfried made a statement that I thought crystallized my feelings — “I like the way we are playing the game”.

AMEN to that! If you haven’t seen the Pack play yet, then you haven’t seen the dribble penetration from quick guards; the excellent dishing and passing from everyone; an offense that moves without the ball; a tenacity for rebounding and outlet passes; and general energy and hustle that has been missing from our program for a very long time.

The Wolfpack plays host to Princeton tonight in Raleigh at 7pm on ESPNU. The Tigers are the third consecutive NCAA Tournament team from last year that NC State has faced to open the 2011-2012 season. Princeton opened this season with a 73-57 home loss to Wagner that saw Junior Ian Hummer, score a game-high 19 points and nine points. Last season, Hummer averaged 13.8 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game.

From a historical context this game actually means something to me. You won’t believe this….but NC State is friggin 1-5 All-Time against Princeton.

I am an ‘old school’ NC State fan that remembers how wonderful it was to have a ‘long-term’ successful program that could match its records against anyone else in the country and come out looking great. For example…consider the following –

In 1988, there were only a handful of programs against which NC State had an all-time losing record. Of that handful, NC State had an all-time losing record against only THREE programs that we had played more than five times — North Carolina, Notre Dame and Kansas. However, the Herb Sendek and Sidney Lowe era significantly changed that (once fantastic) dynamic for our program. Today, NC State has an all-time losing record against a much larger number of overall programs…and – after Sendek and Lowe’s regime – the Wolfpack has added Maryland, Boston College, Alabama, West Virginia, and PRINCETON to the list of programs against which we have an all-time losing record with five or more match-ups!!

Herb Sendek actually lost to Princeton TWICE while coaching NC State! Including a potentially blasphemous NIT loss to the Tigers in his fourth year as coach in what would have been ‘the last game in the history of Reynolds Coliseum’ if we had not started scheduling ‘Heritage Games’ in the Old Barn.

So, you can see what I am getting at with Coach Gottfried and his new start — I want to start taking BACK our all-time records against a lot of the programs that have taken advantage of us the last 20 years. Oddly enough, Princeton is one of those programs. After we beat the Tigers tonight, I hope that we make Princeton an annual fixture on our schedule for the five to seven years and put an exclamation on another piece of our historical record book.

If you want a detailed preview then by all means click here.

Last season was the culmination of Sydney Johnson’s reclamation project at Princeton, or so he must have felt, anyway, since he moved on to Fairfield during the offseason.

Johnson’s rebuilding efforts worked quickly, as the program went from six wins in his first season to 13 in his second, 22 in his third, and 25 in his fourth and final season. He decreased the team’s reliance on the three-pointer and built a defense predicated on solid interior play and defensive rebounding. They won the Ivy League in 2011 and almost upset Kentucky in the NCAA tournament.

They lost a couple of key contributors off that team, though–Dan Mavraides was an excellent outside shooter and a primary contributor. Kareem Maddox was the team’s best interior scorer, defensive rebounder, and shot blocker; he’ll be especially difficult to replace. But new Franklin C. Cappon-Edward G. Green ’40 Head Coach (that’s what they call the position) Mitch Henderson has enough pieces to be competitive in the Ivy League, and Johnson left him plenty of size.

Henderson has spent his entire career coaching the Princeton style (he spent the last decade at Northwestern), and it remains to be seen if he makes the Tigers back into a perimeter-oriented team. Last year just 31% of their field goal attempts were threes, a proportion below NCAA average. This team isn’t really built to hoist up a lot of long-range shots–its go-to scorer attempted zero threes last season–and doesn’t have what one would call a diverse array of deep threats.

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11-12 Basketball

115 Responses to Princeton – Gottfried can start ‘taking it back’ for the Pack

  1. BJD95 11/16/2011 at 6:21 PM #

    I was simultaneously typing a “game thread” post, which I deleted in favor of this much better epistle.

    In short, I am glad to watch us play for the first time and without “Calvin” I certainly expect to be pleased with our effort and teamwork.

    A win would be nice too – but effort, teamwork, and DEFENSE are really what I want to see. Set the tone for the program’s identity moving forward.

  2. MBS 11/16/2011 at 6:26 PM #

    I was at the season opener, and I could barely believe the difference in how this team plays. 21 assists on 29 FGS that night . . . and the percentage got even better in game two.

    The fact that just seeing us hustle and share the ball and take advantage of opportunities to fast-break was so thrilling to me just underscores how dismal things have been over the past 20 years(!)

    I’m excited about watching this team play tonight.

  3. tvp1 11/16/2011 at 6:31 PM #

    BJD: I am very interested to see/concerned about how we play with Calvin back.

    We are thin in the frontcourt now, but the Howell/Painter duo are playing exceptionally well as starters. Adding a Thomas De Thaey to the mix to spell both frontcourt spots will be perfect. Adding a Calvin Leslie who will eat lots of minutes/shots could be a headache.

  4. highstick 11/16/2011 at 6:44 PM #

    Last time I watched an NC State-Princeton game, Bill Bradley and Team knocked us out of the 1965 Eastern Regionals..That was when there were only 16 teams “dancin…4 in each regional..

  5. NCStatePride 11/16/2011 at 6:52 PM #

    Great article. I had no idea about the all-time losing records. Gottfried needs to readjust that stat against his former employer in the near future…

  6. NOT A FAN OF BLUE 11/16/2011 at 7:06 PM #

    Super, super great article #oldschoolapproved

  7. Wufpacker 11/16/2011 at 7:36 PM #

    Agreed. Loved the writeup. Maybe this year’s rallying cry should be “Take It Back”.

  8. BJD95 11/16/2011 at 7:40 PM #

    Oh shit, don’t like seeing Wood go down.

  9. Wufpacker 11/16/2011 at 7:44 PM #

    We seem a bit over-anxious.

  10. LRM 11/16/2011 at 7:44 PM #

    We lost that Coaches vs. Cancer Classic to Princeton in 1997 something like 36-34. That was one ugly game.

  11. Dogbreath 11/16/2011 at 7:45 PM #

    Wood rips his knee apart. Typical.

  12. Wufpacker 11/16/2011 at 7:47 PM #

    They do hustle. Not looking great so far, but playing hard.

  13. WeAreCured 11/16/2011 at 7:50 PM #

    I walked in to the room to Wood being helped off the court. Was it his knee or ankle?

  14. Wufpacker 11/16/2011 at 7:51 PM #

    Looked like an ankle.

  15. BJD95 11/16/2011 at 7:58 PM #

    His ankle rolled, but knee could have been impacted. I don’t like that he was basically carried off.

    Our perimeter defense is still pretty bad. And scoring is a problem for us (still) – especially sans Wood.

    Still, the guys are working hard. Nothing to be ashamed of.

  16. Wufpacker 11/16/2011 at 8:01 PM #

    They’re also generally in good rebounding position. Can’t remember the last time I saw that.

  17. BJD95 11/16/2011 at 8:05 PM #

    Very good point. Basic court awareness and discipline. I realize now how easy it is to take that for granted!

  18. WeAreCured 11/16/2011 at 8:10 PM #

    They’ve hung in nicely.

  19. Wufpacker 11/16/2011 at 8:10 PM #

    Gotta like the help/team D. Very nice.

  20. BJD95 11/16/2011 at 8:22 PM #

    The biggest surprise is that Painter and Howell are now basketball players, rather than just tall guys in basketball jerseys.

    The thing that I expected to see (and am glad has been confirmed) is that Lorenzo Brown is a much, much better PG than Ryan Harrow. Night and day.

  21. Khan 11/16/2011 at 8:27 PM #

    Somebody find out Wood’s status. Stat!

  22. gcpack 11/16/2011 at 8:27 PM #

    Im at game . Anyone hear if the radio broadcast explained wood’s injury?

  23. BJD95 11/16/2011 at 8:33 PM #

    I haven’t heard anything, but would expect the staff to be extremely cautious with a tough stretch of games coming up. Even if he just rolled an ankle – I wouldn’t expect him back.

    Good practice for the team to make do, as well. Alex Johnson is playing ok.

  24. lupus occidit arietem 11/16/2011 at 8:33 PM #

    GC, Nothing on TV about him yet other than he never left the locker room. Should get something after the half.

  25. Khan 11/16/2011 at 8:35 PM #

    He just came out of the locker room on crutches and a big boot. :(

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