State 3-0, atop ACC

The media acts surprised by this.

Never mind it was that same media — not State fans — that over-hyped this State team in the preseason and then just as quickly soured on us after we were blown out by Oklahoma State in Puerto Rico in mid-November and then over-matched on the road against the nation’s second-ranked team nine days later, as if those two games were somehow indicative of this team’s potential.

But us seasoned State fans, usually cautiously-optimistic on our best days, always knew better.

See, we knew this team had to greatly improve to compete for an ACC title. We knew we had the talent — all the pieces — to be a great team. But those of us paying close attention in December also recognized all that talent was disguising two fatal flaws that would keep us from hanging a banner in March an/or making a run into April: poor defense and poor free throw shooting.

But now, three games into a long, grueling ACC schedule, we’ve shown drastic improvement in both areas, and because of it, we’re atop the ACC standings at 3-0 after beating the nation’s top-ranked team.

In that short span, we’ve outscored Boston College, Georgia Tech and Duke 65-to-46 on the free throw line while shooting 74.7%, including 20-for-23 (87.0%) against Duke. We’ve also forced 30 turnovers and held all three opponents to a combined 70-for-191 (36.6%) from the field, including 17-for-60 (28.3%) from behind the arc.

When you consider that we’re shooting 82-for-164 (50.0%) in ACC play, you can see why this team is winning.

We won a close game at Boston College (a game we likely would’ve lost last year) and then got past Georgia Tech in a textbook trap game while saving our best performance of the season for #1 Duke, which the media is calling a statement game.

And I guess they’re right, because we won today despite previously-unbeaten Duke playing a very good game. And that’s what’s most impressive to me about today’s win: both teams played well but we proved the better team.

Perhaps that’s a tad arrogant this early, but a certain amount of arrogance can be healthy. Of course, we have to keep improving — we’re still missing easy layups and allowing too many second chance points. But we’ve won our trap game and our statement game, so now we have to get past Maryland on the road in a textbook letdown game.

Sure, we didn’t win anything but short-term bragging rights today. But if that same team that won today continues to show up, then State will be a tough out in March.

And that’s all that matters, because that’s what we really wanted from this team.

About LRM

Charter member of the Lunatic Fringe and a fan, loyal to a fault.

12-13 Basketball Big Four Rivals NCS Basketball

43 Responses to State 3-0, atop ACC

  1. Smasher 01/12/2013 at 6:51 PM #

    I could get used to this.

  2. vtpackfan 01/12/2013 at 7:00 PM #

    Great write-up- ugh…. Maryland?!

  3. Avid109 01/12/2013 at 8:02 PM #

    “…we’ve won our trap game and our statement game, so now we have to get past Maryland on the road in a textbook letdown game.”

    So true. Hope the players don’t get too happy after this win; there are many more games ahead.

  4. blpack 01/12/2013 at 8:12 PM #

    HUGE win today. Now we have to keep going. Like stated above, we didn’t win anything today.

  5. BorntoHowl 01/12/2013 at 8:18 PM #

    Glad we’re not peaking yet. Save that for March. Days of Sloan and V are coming back upon us!

  6. wufpup76 01/12/2013 at 8:27 PM #

    Nice write-up.

  7. Hawkeye Whitney 01/12/2013 at 8:32 PM #

    But we can’t hope to compete with the likes of Duke and UNC, right? This win was SO satisfying.

  8. Mike 01/12/2013 at 8:43 PM #

    We have had a tendency to struggle on the road and MD always scares me. I like what Gott said in the post game – we are going to enjoy this tonight and then go back to work for MD. Great attitude and response from the coach.

  9. abechtel 01/12/2013 at 9:02 PM #

    “The media acts surprised by this.” Really? Who?

  10. XpatriateWolf 01/12/2013 at 9:04 PM #

    Leslie-25pts, Howell-18 boards, Brown-13 assists…talk about your upperclassmen showing leadership in a big game…awesome

    Watching that was the most fun I’ve had (with my clothes on) for a long time.

  11. choppack1 01/12/2013 at 9:34 PM #

    I dont want to be a wet blanket, but duke was without Kelly and lost curry for a key stretch

    To me, the best news is that we played great d. Lo brown was focused and smart. If we are healthy and we play like that we can play with anyone.

  12. WolftownVA81 01/12/2013 at 9:40 PM #

    Somewhere, Lee Fowler is…..baffled. Yes, we can compete and win against the blues. Thanks coaches, players, and administrators. This was a great win and a great day for all Wolfpackers.

  13. logarithm 01/12/2013 at 9:47 PM #

    Today marked the first time in my memory that CJ Leslie did his highly animated Stretch Armstrong/Tiger Woods-esque fist pump thing after merely hitting 2 free throws. It happened to be inside the last 2 minutes and it happened to essentially put the last nail in the coffin.

    That young man understands winning time, ladies and gentlemen.

  14. 44rules 01/12/2013 at 10:11 PM #

    Please tell, Yahweh, that this won’t stop. Please tell me that the demons from Beelzebub and Huckleberry Hell are are receding. Please tell that the ghosts of V, Sloan, Maravich and Case are stalking PNC.

    And may those angels carry us to Dean Smith’s Sac, that tiny sauna in Durham and all the other foreign entities we will visit.

  15. 61Packer 01/12/2013 at 10:17 PM #

    The Wolfpack coaching staff is earning its pay!

  16. sjmac11 01/12/2013 at 10:19 PM #

    I don’t post a lot and when I do I’m sure not many pay attention to me, I’m negative a lot like a dad watching his kid taking for granted what he has and only pointing out what’s wrong…..not tonight. I was blessed enough to be at the game like many of you. For all the complaining about refs, our lack of effort, gott’s kids, sid’s kids, this that I have never been so proud to be a STATE fan. Not just because of the win but because of the game and how we played it. I have nothing more to say, well this…….

    ACC, A+ on the ref’s (still way too many coach k conferences).

  17. packalum44 01/12/2013 at 10:28 PM #

    The team with the better starting 5 won. Kelly would have kept it closer no doubt but considering Amille careered I won’t weep for them.

    Anyone else think that their first several minutes every loose ball hopped into their hands and realize that wasn’t stastically possible to happen to happen 40 minutes.

    Go pack!

  18. ADVENTUROO 01/12/2013 at 11:10 PM #

    This game probably set some new records…..first, the students that were backed up from the PNC to each road. They were PUMPED. Some had been there since 1:30 AM. K’Ville ain’t got NOTHING on Gottown. Thanks to all of them…..they lived up to Mason Plumlee’s comment about being the most “obnoxious” ACC fans….but were polite in their “obnoxiousness” unlike the Cameron Crazies.

    Second record is probably the noise. I have been in the PNC for years, most recently (2006) in the Champions Club. Most of the time that area is “stodgy”. There was MORE noise in the PNC today that I have ever heard since coming there (for BB, that is….the Trucks make NOISE!)

    Finally, I think that this is the MOST memorable NCSU BB game to be played in the PNC/RBC. YES, we have defeated some #1′s there. But most of the press, and probably a lot of us fans, wrote it off to “Well now, I guess that IS why you play the game….”. This was NOT one of those victories. It was billed as a thriller, but the bookies had us down several points. We played hard, made a few minor mistakes, missed a few opportunities, etc. BUT, we KNEW we could win….and we set out to prove it. We had the CONFIDENCE to win, despite it being a tough game.

    There were teams that probably has as much talent….my wife reminds me of Julius Hodge and the lads. I will admit that THEY were good….but they were missing a coach that knew HOW to make adjustments and also motivate them. Gottfried’s constant stressing of being competitive and confident is based on the Wooden philosophy. Jimmy V. was a student of motivation and used Lombardi, Wooden and God knows WHO else to get the best of the team. Hats off to Coach Gottfried.

    Finally, I think that there was a “record” set in our NEW destiny today. For those that were not in the PNC, during a long break, Coach Doeren and his staff was introducted (along with Mighty Mario). Coach D. handled (played) the crowd with enthusiasm. He was complimentary of the fan base. He set his goals. He was appreciative of the opportunity and the spirit and led the WOLF PACK Cheer. It sort of reminded me of Jimmy V’s last appearance in Reynolds when he did his…”Da, Dah–Dah–Dah…..” and the crowd roared (as they also cried). Therefore, today’s game was a salute to Debbie Yow and what she has brought (and restored ) to NC STATE. She has been the glue that held together the BB team we have on the floor. She got us a terrific BB coach. She has brought us a potential winner in FB. She has also raised the bar in the other sports (who’s next….we KNOW) and she is not done.

    SO, to this ancient fossil (Grad 1968 after 5 LONG years), this is about as happy as I have been since 1983….and I think the best is YET to come.

    Be happy tonight, fellow Woofies…..BB is still going to be great and my bags are packed for the Atlanta Trip and I hope to be so happy on the morning of April 9, 2013, that I can not stand any more happiness!

    GO PACK

  19. BloggerEsquire 01/12/2013 at 11:15 PM #

    Happy those guys got over the hump against Duke.

    Small point on the write-up: When it comes to games we “likely would have lost last year” I don’t think Boston College is one. Namely because we narrowly beat them in Chestnut Hill last year 56-51 in a seemingly similar fashion (grind it out and leave with a win if not much else.)

    Hopefully the team stays as focused with free throw shooting, but I’ll believe it is a permanent improvement after a few more games.

  20. JeremyH 01/12/2013 at 11:32 PM #

    Great win, I agree heavily with comments made previously that rebounding and smart play would be key. Zo launched a couple of threes that I scratched my head on. Overall great play and we need to continue with our team concept and will have nothing to worry about in the future.

  21. JeremyH 01/12/2013 at 11:45 PM #

    Great win, I agree heavily with comments made previously that rebounding and smart play would be key. Zo launched a couple of threes that I scratched my head on. Still, would not trade him for any other point guard. Overall great play and we need to continue with our team concept in key stretches and will have nothing to worry about in the future.

  22. NCSU84 01/13/2013 at 8:07 AM #

    While entering the PNC yesterday, I look to my right and standing next to me is David Thompson. DT very calmly in his soft/low voice stated “we are going to win this game” and I then knew it was going to be a good day. If DT says we are going to win, then we were destined to do so.

  23. wolfmanmat 01/13/2013 at 8:10 AM #

    If Richard Howell doesn’t make 1st team all ACC this year then none of the voters watch the games. He is a monster out there.

  24. graywolf 01/13/2013 at 8:55 AM #

    What members of the staff do we lose if we keep this up? Going to be difficult to keep all of them in house if continue to have this much success……yeah, I know its a very long season.

  25. MP 01/13/2013 at 9:50 AM #

    Great post.

    Yesterday I was watching the game at home and a couple of things occurred to me….

    At one point in the 2nd half around Plumlee’s block of Leslie’s dunk attempt, I thought “This is some high-level s***.” And nothing afterwards changed that. Both teams brought it and our guys were just outstanding. One point when Leslie faced up and Plumlee was guarding him, I thought we’ll see this again in 5 years. There are some pros on these 2 teams.

    Recruiting suggests good things to come… But we cannot take this State team for granted. Leslie, Zo, Howell and Wood are veterans and damn good players. And as freshmen, what more can you ask of Purvis and Warren? Great chemistry, attitude, effort from this team.

    This is one of those rare ‘special’ teams. Not that it won’t happen again, but I’m going to enjoy every moment I can/have watching this group.

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