Everything on the Line Sunday Night

Julius Hodge put on a passing clinic, Jordan Collins did his best Josh Powell impersonation, and freshmen Gavin Grant and Andrew Brackman played aggressive offense in the second half of last night’s pivotal win in Charlottesville. Whether your opinion of Coach Sendek is positive or negative (like me, in case you hadn’t noticed), you have to feel a great deal of pride in the players for getting their acts together, playing hard, and putting themselves in a position to redeem the season.

Still, it will all be for naught without a win on Sunday night. If the Wolfpack wins, it will lock up a spot in the 4/5 game on Friday, and a probable NCAA bid so long as Friday’s result is not a loss to Virginia Tech (go Terps). If the Wolfpack loses, it faces a probable #8 seed, a Thursday night game against resurgent Clemson, near-certain defeat against UNC on Friday afternoon, with NO CHANCE at an NCAA bid. It’s hard to imagine one single regular season game having more impact on a season.

Wake will have some incentive as well, even if UNC beats Duke (as expected), locking up Roy’s cherished regular season ACC title. I don’t buy it (the 3 best teams in the nation are clearly UNC, Illinois, and Wake, regardless of what happens between now and Selection Sunday), but you can make the argument that Wake needs to win Sunday night or cut down the nets the following weekend in order to secure a #1 seed in the NCAA tourney. You can bet Skip Prosser will make that argument in the pre-game. Also, the Deacons received a rude wake-up call on Senior Night against Georgia Tech, so they will not enter the game over-confident.

At the end of the day, this is all you can ask for – to have your destiny completely in your own hands. A statement win against Wake, and it doesn’t matter what else happens around the ACC or in mid-major conference tourneys. A loss to Wake, and it also doesn’t matter – NC State won’t even be part of the bubble conversation. There are no back doors available – so the Pack needs to charge into the Big Dance by taking down the mighty Deacons. I have every reason to believe that the focus and effort from last night will be there, but the execution will have to be even better on Sunday.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

General NCS Basketball

8 Responses to Everything on the Line Sunday Night

  1. Trout 03/03/2005 at 10:11 AM #

    Nice write up BJD95. I continue to enjoy your work. Your feelings about our program are evident, but you dont let that get in the way of recognizing that the team is playing much better, and has something to big to play for at the end of the season.

    The execution will have to be much, much better. UVA is a bad team. How we lost to them in Raleigh is still the mystery of the season, to me. Wake, on the other hand, is a power. Teams can score on them though. My concern, every game Wake has lost this year, the other team has scored more than 90 points. You know NC State isnt going to score more than 90. So can we beat Wake with a game in the 70s?

  2. James 03/03/2005 at 11:49 AM #

    You’re absolutley right about Sunday’s game! I’ll be there to cheer as hard as I can.

    It is sort of a conundrum. If we win Sunday (and I think we really can!) and pull one out at the ACC tourney, we got to the big dance for the 4th year in a row. That will remove all consideration of Herb involuntarily leaving (which I’d like to see!).

    But, I can never bring myself not to pull for the Pack!

  3. blpack 03/04/2005 at 1:06 PM #

    When was the last time a State-Wake game in Raleigh meant so much? 1991? I think it will be a special atmosphere, though I too am torn.

    SFN: February 29, 1999. NC State entered Winston-Salem on the NCAA Tournament Bubble with a 17-11 record. With a win, many thought that the Pack would have sowed up a berth. (If not, only one win the ACC would have been needed to 100% insure a berth).

    Sound familar?

    Let’s hope the result isn’t familiar — in this “big game”, the Pack laid an embarassing egg. State started the game falling behind something like 20-2 and ended up losing 74-45. Ouch!!!

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