Despite what I am sure were their best efforts, the Boston College facilities crew responsible for watering the artificial turf to slow down NC State’s football team was not successful in turning the lights off in the gym for last night’s basketball game. 🙂
In a no pressure atmosphere (somebody needs to teach those fans in that high school gym the importance of ACC Basketball) and a no intensity game (does BC care about their season?), the Pack finally rolled to a victory over a Boston College program who had beaten State in two straight non-conference affairs in 2003 and 2004
The Eagles outlasted State 66-65 in overtime in the January 2004 game at Conte Forum behind Smith’s 20 points and 10 rebounds. The year before, the Eagles came to the RBC Center and beat the Pack 93-81 — a rare nonconference loss at home for Sendek.
Tuesday night’s game was decided by the exact same two keys that almost every NC State game will rely upon this season: (1) 3-point proficiency and (2) Cedric Simmons’ presence on the court.
As much as the Wolfpack’s exceptional 10-for-17 three-point shooting was responsible for the victory, the fact that State took 17 good three point shots may have been more responsible. In Chapel Hill on Saturday, State jacked up 20 threes (making only eight) and experienced long episodes of very poor shot selection that, first led to the Tarheel comeback from a 0-11 deficit, and later led to a Tarheel victory. Poor shot selection by the vetern Wolfpack did not persist on Tuesday night.
Additionally, if you had any doubt regarding the importance of Cedric Simmons’ presence to NC State’s basketball fortunes this season (originally highlighted in a December entry and then again before the Carolina game this weekend), then your doubt should be absolved now. From the News & Observer:
Sophomore center Cedric Simmons was at his best against the Eagles, competing hard against Smith, a 6-foot-7, 250-pound senior power forward with a linebacker’s build and a preseason All-America. Simmons had a game-high 17 points — 16 in the second half — to go with seven rebounds and two blocked shots, but Sendek said to forget the statistical sheet.
It was very nice to earn a victory for the “old ACC” in BC’s first home ACC game, especially after falling flat in a similar attempt last year at Miami.
Section Six has more numbers on the game if you are interested.
“The Position of the Pack”
After playing over half of the season’s schedule, the Wolfpack logged their first win against a team currently ranked better than #72 in the current Ratings Percentage Index — Boston College has fallen to bubble territory at #49 in the RPI and 0-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Eagles are #44 in the Sagarin Ratings, where the Wolfpack currently sits at a strong #14 (compared to #30 in the RPI).
State will host Georgia Tech on Saturday at noon before traveling to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the Pack’s only game of the year versus #1 Duke on Wednesday night.
(Sidenote: As much as some Wolfpackers complain about the new ACC, had the Pack had to play Duke twice last season, the resulting 6-10 ACC record would have been too big of a hole from which to climb to achieve an NCAA Tournament bid with wins over Florida State and Chris Paul-less Wake Forest in the ACC Tourney. So, you won’t hear me complaining too much about not getting to play the Blue Devils more when our current coach is only 3-20 in the last decade against Coach K and has never won a game in Cameron.)
Forgive me if I am not overly concerned about playing struggling Georgia Tech in Raleigh. The Yellow Jackets are one of the four ACC programs against which Herb Sendek actually has a winning record (Numbers as of March 2005). In fact, no Georgia Tech squad has mustered a win in Raleigh since Sendek’s arrival, making them one of the only four programs that Sendek has a winning record against in Raleigh. (Sorry…since I bought season tickets and contributed to the Wolfpack Club every year….those first five seasons really did exist no matter how much you may wish that they didn’t).
The BC win definitely puts the Pack back on track in the ACC. The good news is that program is in the mix for a strong finish in a weak(er than average) ACC. The bad news is the only way State can legitmately claim to be competing for a regular season ACC Title is with a win at Duke. Anything else is second place….which, in our fanbase….is really something to crow about.