January 10, 2012
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Josh Goodson (WRALSportsfan.com)
Gottfried sees Wolfpack potential
There has not been much optimism around the North Carolina State University men’s basketball team over the past two decades. But the presence of a new head coach and an ACC-opening victory over Maryland Sunday night ignited a spark of interest.
The Wolfpack’s 79-74 victory over the Terps was their first after nine straight losses.
While it’s exciting for a Wolfpack (12-4, 1-0 ACC) fanbase desperately wanting to be nationally relevant again, Head Coach Mark Gottfried is not going to let himself or his team get wrapped up in one win.
While there are many contributions coming from all over the court for NCSU at this point, it is the play of two specific players which has helped spear-head the Wolfpack on their current six-game winning streak.
When Lorenzo Brown, a sophomore guard, was given the task of being the Wolfpack’s starting point guard this year, there was a bit of worry from the coaching staff on how fast he would grasp the role and duties come with that position.
Gottfried talks with The Insiders after first ACC win
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Quick hits from NCSU’s win over Maryland
Kudos to others
It was hard not picking Brown for player of the game because of his all around play. Brown finished with 11 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and just one turnover in 31 minutes. The nine assists were a new best for a conference game, topping the eight he had twice last year. This was the seventh game this year Brown had eight or more assists. He has 109 assists in 16 games this year, almost equaling his total of 116 in 31 games last season.
Junior wing Scott Wood is officially on record-watch after going 6 for 6 at the line. He had made 47 straight at the line, tying the school record set by former guard Rodney Monroe. He is seven shy of matching former Duke guard J.J. Redick’s conference record.
Wood finished the game with 19 points, giving him four straight games in double figures and five of the last six. The trio of Leslie, Brown and Wood ensured that the Pack had three players in double figures for the 15th time in 16 games this year. St. Bonaventure Dec. 20 was the lone time it did not happen.
What the win means
This is a particularly sweet win for the Pack as it snapped what had been a nine-game losing streak to the Terps. The last time State had defeated Maryland was a 62-58 win at home Feb. 5, 2006. Former head coach Sidney Lowe never had a win over Maryland.
Because of that extending winning streak the Terps enjoyed over State, they continue to lead a tightly contested series 76-73.
NC State is now 33-26 all-time in conference openers and 19-8 in home league openers. Mark Gottfried became just the second Wolfpack head coach to win his ACC opener. Les Robinson defeated Clemson 74-70 in 1991.
The Terps had their seven-game winning streak snapped while State extended their winning streak to six, the longest such stretch of victories for the Pack since the 2007-08 team won seven in a row.
State is 12-4 on the season and won of six conference teams to start league play with a win, joining Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest. Maryland falls to 10-4.
North Carolina State Team Report
Richard Howell pulled down only four rebounds in the ACC opener against Maryland. But that doesn’t diminish the foundation he has set across the past month.
The junior forward has been rebounding at a rapid clip and it has helped reshape the Wolfpack.
He had a string of five consecutive games of double-doubles. That catapulted him to second in the ACC in rebounding entering conference games.
“He’s just like a magnet to the ball,” teammate Scott Wood said.
It should be no surprise that Howell can hold his own around the backboards. He’s 6-foot-8 and still burly at about 250 pounds, though he has shed weight to make him more mobile.
Coach Mark Gottfried has credited Howell’s rebounding with making the Wolfpack smoother on offense as well. That’s because his dedication to the boards has allowed others to fill spots on the fast breaks.
“After the rebound, he has done a nice job of making an outlet pass and really has helped us get out and go,” Gottfried said.
If the Wolfpack has been a remade team, there might be no better example than Howell midway through the season.
• N.C. State showed a bit of variations on defense in the game against Maryland and it will be something for future opponents to consider.
That’s because the Wolfpack went to a box-and-1 defense on Maryland’s Terrell Stoglin at times, though he ended up with a game-high 25 points.
The assigned defender on Stoglin was G C.J. Williams, a senior who seemed locked in on defense at times as he was the only player in the Wolfpack’s starting lineup to fail to score in double figures.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
BEYOND THE ARC: Down, but still competitive
2. Fear the Turtle no more: N.C. State’s win against Maryland in Sunday’s league opener snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Terrapins that dated back to Feb. 5, 2006. It was the first win against Maryland for everyone on the Wolfpack’s current roster. It also made Mark Gottfried only the second State coach ever to win his ACC debut (Les Robinson was the other).
1. Over-rated: Florida State was picked to finish third in the ACC and was ranked 22nd nationally after a 5-0 start. It has since gone 4-6 with two losses to Ivy League teams and Saturday’s 20-point beatdown by a bad Clemson team. The lowlight of Saturday’s loss was a stretch of 10 straight misses in the first half.
2. Resume loss: There’s a reason Seth Greenberg’s Hokies are always on the wrong side of the bubble on Selection Sunday, and losses like the one Saturday at Wake Forest is the reason why. The Hokies beat the Deacons by an average of 21.5 ppg while shooting 60 percent in two games last season. That wasn’t the case this time.
Andrew Skwara (accsports.com)
ACC Hoops Power Rankings, Jan. 9
4. N.C. State (12-4, 1-0)
Opening up ACC play with a win over Maryland was a big step for Mark Gottfried’s program. The Terps had won the previous nine meetings with N.C. State. The balanced Wolfpack has now won six straight and has five players averaging 12 points or more.
Games This Week: Wednesday vs Georgia Tech, Saturday at Wake Forest
Previous Rank: No. 4
10. Wake Forest (10-5, 1-0)
It took the Deacs just one ACC game to match their ACC win total from a year ago. Nabbing a 58-55 triumph over Virginia Tech should be a huge confidence boost for Jeff Bzdelik’s team.
Games This Week: Wednesday at Maryland, Saturday vs N.C. State
Previous Rank: No. 10
11. Georgia Tech (7-8, 0-1)
After playing their worst game of the year in a 73-48 whipping by Alabama, give the Yellow Jackets kudos for responding with a hard-fought loss to Duke – they trailed by as little as two points with less than four minutes to play. Glen Rice, Jr. looked like the best player on the floor, scoring a game-high 28 points.
Games This Week: Wednesday at N.C. State, Sunday at Maryland
Previous Rank: No. 11
Andrew Skwara (accsports.com)
Midweek Preview Part 1, Jan. 10
Jim Young (accsports.com)
Three To Look Back At/Three To Look Forward To, Jan. 9
N.C. State at Wake Forest, Sunday 1 p.m.
The Wolfpack’s schedule – home games against Maryland and Georgia Tech followed by this trip to Winston-Salem – is set up to get Mark Gottfried’s team off to a fast start in ACC play. Of course, that assumes State will take care of business at Wake. As Virginia Tech has shown, that’s a dangerous assumption to make these days.
This should make for a fascinating progress report game. A Wolfpack win would show off a new-found level of maturity for State. A Demon Deacon win would bolster the assertion that Jeff Bzdelik’s second Wake team is making serious strides in the right direction.
C.J. Leslie: Leslie should – should – be able to dominate inside against the Deacs. But putting up numbers on the road in the ACC requires a level of competitive focus that has often eluded the uber-athletic forward. If he puts up big numbers, expect State to leave Winston-Salem with a win. If Leslie flounders, be on upset alert.
Joe Ovies (WRALSportsfan.com)
Triangle ACCtion: Taking care of business
The first weekend of ACC conference play offered little in the way of surprises. Yes, that includes Virginia Tech putting themselves on the NCAA bubble with a loss at Wake Forest. Per usual, the Hokies never do anything the easy way.
Neither does NC State. The Wolfpack entered their conference opener against Maryland as home favorites and were in cruise control, up 67-53 with 5 minutes left in the game. NC State then put on a “comedy of errors” that allowed the Terps to get back within single digits. But unlike previous games this season, where the Wolfpack shrunk in the moment, they kept it cool thanks in large part to Scott Wood’s free throw shooting down the stretch.
While Maryland is an improved, more competitive team with Alex Len and Pe’Shon Howard on the court, the Wolfpack still had the better roster and home-court advantage. Throw in Mark Gottfried’s blunt assessment that his team needs to win 11 conference games to reach the NCAA Tournament, Sunday’s game entered must-win territory. Challenge accepted and met by NC State.
Gottfried’s scheduling gamble appears to be paying off even if his team struggled to close out Maryland. His team won, and that’s the bottom line. Obviously NC State needs to continue their incremental improvements and they might just get those 11 wins. The ACC is terrible enough that it actually creates an environment for teams like NC State, who haven’t done much winning in the past, to learn how to do it.
Watch the Mark Gottfried TV Show
In this week’s episode, Head basketball coach Mark Gottfried discusses the Delaware State game and the start of conference play with host Tony Haynes. Mark Thomas visits with sophomore point guard Lorenzo Brown.
NC STATE FOOTBALL
SOURCES: Edmond To Be Named New S&C Coach
According to sources close to the situation, former NC State standout Corey Edmond will be named new S&C coach for the Wolfpack football program.
Edmond, 42, was previously the associate director of athletics and director of performance enhancement at Arizona. He was hired by the Wildcats in 2004, and he was promoted to director of performance enhancement in early 2005, serving as the football program’s chief strength and conditioning coach. He also worked with the UA men’s and women’s basketball teams, among others, during his tenure. He was named as associate AD in 2010.