On the heels of yesterday’s fantastic (must read) post by VaWolf, Rush the Court is taking a look back at its pre-season
Part One can be seen by clicking here.
Part Two came out today and includes some comments about the Wolfpack.
10. NC State (9-3)
Significant Wins: at Tennessee
Significant Losses: North Carolina Central, Missouri
Reasons for Optimism: TJ Warren is having an ACC Player of the Year caliber season offensively, with only a three-point shooting slump hurting his efficiency from last season. Desmond Lee and Cat Barber have proven ready to join the rotation immediately. Transfer Ralston Turner’s sharpshooting has lessened the graduation of Scott Wood. This team was a minute of competence and decent luck from knocking off Missouri in Raleigh, but its bad free throw defense has to get better (NC State is currently allowing opponents to shoot just shy of 80 percent from the line, good for worst in the country)!
Reasons for Pessimism: One bad loss and one good win otherwise leave a schedule where the Wolfpack look like a mediocre team on all accounts. This year’s offense doesn’t have the firepower to cover up the team’s defensive lapses. There’s still some talent here, but Warren’s likely departure makes next year look like a continuation of Mark Gottfried’s rebuilding effort. Forecast: Look for this team to improve as it gets more experience under its belt, but a middle of the pack conference finish and a trip to the NIT are about all NC State fans should hope for this season. Who knows, though, the Belmont/UAB/Texas Tar Heels might make the trip to the PNC Center this year, so a rivalry split may be in play.
I don’t understand how you can write anything about NC State’s season at this point and not include commentary about the impact of the presence of Jordan Vandenberg in NC State’s line-up. State’s two losses before the Missouri game both came with an injured Vandenberg sitting on the bench. I can’t over-emphasize the importance of that until we start losing to teams not ranked in the Top 25 with him in the line-up.
Based on yesterday’s work and what appears to be obvious to the naked eye – my primary macro observation would be that NC State has clearly moved into a ‘tier’ of competitive ‘comparableness’ with Notre Dame, Virgina, Maryland, Boston College and Georgia Tech – all of whom were considered to be clearly superior to the Wolfpack heading in the the season.