Can NC State handle the preseason expectations that includes some Final Four predictions?
You can only play one game at a time, so it is important to focus on each game with everything that you have. On Friday night, NC State succeeded in performing at a level that makes the Pack appear worthy of their lofty Top Ten preseason ranking.
The ACC Insider called the Wolfpack’s performance ‘impressive’ in this article.
It was a game State figured to win easily, given its four returning starters and lofty No. 6 preseason national ranking. But on this night, how coach Mark Gottfriedâ€™s team won was almost as important as the final numbers on the scoreboard.
â€œWe wanted to come out here and, first off, win the game because thatâ€™s the most important thing,â€ freshman point guard Tyler Lewis said. â€œBut we wanted to give the crowd a show just because weâ€™re rated so high preseason. Weâ€™ve got to show our fans weâ€™re ready for No. 6 in the country and they should be with us every night.â€
In that respect, Lewis and his teammates young and old didnâ€™t let anybody down.
Playing before its first opening night sellout since 1999, the Wolfpack placed six players in double figures, shot 61 percent from the floor and held Miami to just 29 percent shooting in the lopsided victory.
Those numbers only tell part of the story.
I liked the Fayetteville Observer‘s perspective of looking at the game from the angle of Rodney Purvis (linked here).
Purvis didn’t disappoint the sell-out crowd of 19,065 at the PNC, scoring 16 points and playing 29 minutes in the Wolfpack’s 97-59 victory against Miami of Ohio.
The performance was steady, but not spectacular. In fact, Purvis blended in so well that it was classmate Tyler Lewis who evoked the loudest cheer among the freshmen from the PNC crowd. The baby-faced Lewis had the fans leaping from their seats twice in the second half, first after converting consecutive layups on the fast break and next with a behind-the-back pass to classmate T.J. Warren.
But spectacular isn’t what N.C. State needs from Purvis this season. What it needs is steady, intense effort that will blend with the four returning starters who helped take the Wolfpack to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
“My job is to not make mistakes, rebound, pass and just help make this team better,” Purvis said after Friday’s victory. “But the biggest thing for me is to bring intensity on defense. I want to play hard on every possession, get my hand on the ball for deflections and steals. That’s the best way for me to help this team. We have everything else we need to be successful.”