December 17, 2011
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Wolfpack has a realistic shot at knocking off No. 1
Having the nation’s top team come to town is a big deal, to be sure. But it’s not like a sighting of Halley’s Comet, something that happens only once or twice in a lifetime. Saturday’s game will actually be the sixth time in the last nine years that the Wolfpack has played a No. 1-ranked opponent.
What makes this meeting different – and much more anticipated – is that State stands a realistic chance of winning.
It’s an upset pick that has become so chic, that no less than Dick Vitale has spent the past few days Tweeting about it.
And it’s not entirely wishful thinking.
Despite its lofty spot in the polls, few outside of Upstate New York honestly believe that Syracuse is the best team in the nation right now. The Orange is simply the highest profile team left with an unblemished record.
The reality is that coach Jim Boeheim’s team is still effectively untested. Its best win came by four points against a pedestrian Florida team in the Big East-SEC Challenge on Dec. 2, and it has yet to play a game outside the borders of its own state.
In fact, Saturday’s game in Raleigh will mark the first time Syracuse has played a true road game on an opponent’s regular home court since traveling to Memphis on Dec.20, 2008.
EDWARD G. ROBINSON III (N&O)
Wolfpack dreaming of upset
With No. 1 Syracuse coming to the RBC Center today, N.C. State point guards Lorenzo Brown and Alex Johnson discussed this week what an upset might look like.
After watching Indiana knock off then-No. 1 Kentucky last week, the two guards talked about what it would feel like if the Wolfpack (6-3) were to take down Syracuse (10-0) and overcome its vaunted zone defense.
“Me and Zo were talking about it,” Johnson said. “If we do win, to have this crowd just storm the court. That would be quite an experience. You see it on TV and you kind of want to experience it.”
Andrew Carter (N&O)
Syracuse at N.C. State
CAULTON TUDOR (N&O)
Syracuse’s success is simple
Easy to scout; hard to beat.
That piece of basketball coaching slang has been around for so long that it predates bulky kneepads, stirrup socks and playing shorts barely bigger than a fig leaf.
But when N.C. State’s Mark Gottfried used the line Friday to describe No. 1 Syracuse, it summed about an hour’s worth of questions and answers in six words.
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In 36 years under Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, the Orange have changed their basic concepts very little.
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
Syracuse expected to bolster ACC
Having the RBC Center sold out for the Syracuse game also bodes for future meetings between the schools when the Orange join the ACC. NC State will welcome the extra revenue Saturday night produces.
“Syracuse is good whether they are ranked one, five, 10 or 15,” Gottfried said. “The fact that they ended up in the No. 1 spot, it gets everyone excited. Our players understand that Syracuse is a good team no matter where they are ranked.”
The arrival of Syracuse and Pittsburgh will arguably make the ACC the No. 1 conference in the country.
“Syracuse and Pitt both, will bring a lot to our league,” Gottfried said. “If you are a fan of our league, the league is more attractive to watch. If you are a recruit, it’s more attractive to play in it. I believe the addition of those two into this league, will take this league from being in the conversation of being one of the best basketball leagues in the country, and will push this league to be clearly the best basketball league.”
Gottfried pointed out that when you have programs such as Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse and Pittsburgh, it raises the bar for the remaining teams in the ACC.
“With some of the new coaches in the league, teams are going to get better in this league,” Gottfried said. “If you look out there and are buying stock, I’d buy some in the ACC because it’s going to be on the rise. I think a lot of that is because of those two coming in.”
NC STATE FOOTBALL
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Bryan among 12 State football players graduating Saturday
George Bryan plans on playing hooky from practice Saturday.
But it’s okay.
N.C. State football coach Tom O’Brien knows all about it, and he’s given his blessing to Bryan’s absence. That’s because the senior tight end from New Hanover High is one of 12 Wolfpack players scheduled to walk across the stage and receive his diploma at State’s winter commencement ceremony.
“This is what I came back for,” said Bryan, who could have left school early to enter the NFL draft after last season. “Graduating was my ultimate goal and it feels great to accomplish it.”
Bryan, a three-time All-ACC selection who caught 30 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns, will receive his bachelor’s degree in sports management.
Also graduating are defensive linemen J.R. Sweezy and Jeff Rieskamp, linebackers Audie Cole and Dwayne Maddox, defensive backs Earl Wolff, Justin Byers and C.J. Wilson, running back Curtis Underwood Jr., fullbacks Taylor Gentry and Ben Areno and backup quarterback Daniel Imhoff.
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
NC State expected to face another mobile QB
Louisville true freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has gone 167 of 253 for 1,855 yards, 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season. He also has rushed 80 times for 95 yards and three scores.
Bridgewater got his shot in the third game of the season against Kentucky in place of junior Will Stein, and he passed for 106 yards and two scores in the 24-17. He ended the regular season with perhaps his best game at South Florida. He went 19 of 28 passing for 241 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in the 34-24 win over the Bulls.
Landing the Rivals.com four-star prospect was a coup for coach Charlie Strong. The 6-foot-3, 192-pounder was ranked No. 113 overall in the country and the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback out of Miami Northwestern High. He originally committed to Miami, but then de-committed following the firing of coach Randy Shannon. Bridgewater claimed offers from LSU, Florida, Tennessee, Rutgers, South Florida and Miami.
NC State ended the regular season against Maryland’s dual threat quarterback C.J. Brown. However, the memories of another true freshman quarterback could be conjured up in comparison to Bridgewater.
NC State’s defense got scrambled in 2010 when a fresh Jeff Godfrey came off the bench and rallied Central Florida back into the game before falling 28-21. Godfrey was the star quarterback at Miami Central High and made his way in the starting lineup for UCF his true freshman season. He went 7-of-10 passing for 107 yards, and ran for 53 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries against the Wolfpack.
Bridgewater is decidedly taller than Godfrey, but both were highly touted prep quarterbacks coming out of Miami in their respective years.
“We’ve played some mobile guys, but not as shifty as this one,” O’Brien said. “He’s a freshman, and a lot of times, freshman do a lot of unplanned things. There is not a lot that you can plan for. You have to go back and make sure that you contain the football and try to keep him inside of us, and then chase him down.”
Inside Wolfpack Sports
In today’s episode, Don Shea visits with Assistant Athletics Director for Strength and Conditioning Bob Alejo.
Yahoo! Sports Radio
Mark Gottfried – Establishing the point guard position