Today’s Keys for a Wolfpack Win

If you want more current commentary about NC State Basketball and the Pack’s game against Carolina, then please click here. The following are the two primary keys that I will be watching today to give me indication if the Pack is on the way to a win or a loss in Chapel Hill:

(1) Officiating / Foul trouble — specifically down low in the Cedric Simmons vs Tyler Hansbrough match-up.

Although State has built our top ranked national defense on the backs of a weak OOC schedule, we are legitimately a very good on the defensive team. Additionally, the Pack has solid and versatile depth to match up with the Heels on every spot on the floor, except maybe David Noel.

I’ll give the Heels Noel. Let’s just assume the senior has a solid to good game because we don’t necessarily match up with him. I don’t think that David Noel, alone, is good enough to beat a well-balanced effort by the Wolfpack. However, I do think that Noel coupled with a big performance by Tyler Hansbrough is enough.

Many fans have failed to recognize how bad of a shooting team that Carolina is this season (outside of the Kentucky game). For the year, the Tarheels are shooting 32.3% from the 3-point line (vs State’s 37.7%) and a paltry 65.7% from the free-throw line (vs State’s 73.3%).

But, Carolina and State are both shooting 48% overall from the field because of State’s volume of the 3-point attempts and the offensive proficiency of Tyler Hansbrough, who is second in the ACC in field goal percentage at 63.2 percent.

As I mentioned in my Miami commentsCedric Simmons’ availability and presence on the floor makes NC State is a significantly better team on both sides of the court.

Therefore, if the officials decide to ruin this match-up early and call bullshit fouls on Simmons…then the Heels can win based on the offensive ability of Hansbrough and Noel. But, if the Pack protects Simmons and gets a well officiated game, I would be surprised if our balance and strong free throw shooting didn’t put us over the top by the end.

(2) 35% (or better) 3 Point Shooting
State’s offense still relies a little too heavily on three point shooting. IMHO, if the Pack could magically replace our 5 to 7 worst three point attempts with feeds to Simmons, Brackman, or Evtimov in the post then this team could be one of the five best in the country.

As stated above, our defense and other components of play are good enough to position us to win today as long as we shoot “average” or better from the 3 point line. But, a signficantly poor shooting day from the arc (below 30%) could quickly spell doom for the Pack if it is coupled by a 50% shooting day or better by the Heels.

In the only place that “favorites” count – Las Vegas – the Wolfpack is generally a 2 to 3 point underdog today.

If my “keys to the game” fall in the Wolfpack’s favor — I’m predicting the Pack by a 76-71 score.

If my keys to the game fall to the Tarheels — I’m going with 77-69 for the Heels.

General NCS Basketball

22 Responses to Today’s Keys for a Wolfpack Win

  1. lumberpack 01/07/2006 at 4:22 PM #

    Sendek is too stupid or too gutless to make the officiating an issue prior to the game by calling out the officiating on our players. We will be lucky to get 15 minutes out of Simmons. And Herb will take each call with no reaction.

  2. Jeff 01/07/2006 at 5:02 PM #

    ^ Jeez…did we really write all of this BEFORE the game?

    I’m waiting for my critics to chime in with some comments about our insight here.

  3. WTNY 01/07/2006 at 5:08 PM #

    We played Carolina today? Same story, different year.

  4. Jeff 01/07/2006 at 5:31 PM #

    ^ You must have been outside chopping some wood and forgotten about the game?

    You know what is hilarious… have had that exact moniker since I met you on the internet 12 years ago!!!!!


    Man, that is classic on days like today.

  5. Slader4881 01/07/2006 at 5:53 PM #

    Anyone else tired of seeing missed layups? I counted about 5. While UNC seemed to get more and more as the game went on.

  6. Jeff 01/07/2006 at 6:01 PM #

    Well, damn….all we do is shoot three pointers….of course we miss lay-ups…we don’t know what to do when we get that close to the basket.

  7. Slader4881 01/07/2006 at 6:25 PM #

    I’ve concluded this years team will have 3 types of games:

    1) We hit a good portion of our 3’s and we blow the other team out. (like against GW)

    2) We can’t hit anything but our D keeps us in the game. (Iowa)

    3) We can’t hit anything and our D is shaky. (UNC)

    As much as the announcers talked about experiance today you would’ve thought we didn’t even have to show up for this game. I guess our past “experiance” against UNC (8-21 in our last 29 games) really made the difference.

  8. VaWolf82 01/07/2006 at 6:34 PM #

    It appears to me that State struggles against two different defenses:

    1) Zone Defenses (Temple anyone?) . State will live and die with the three.

    2) Agressive man-to-man defenses that pressure over the entire court and over-play the passing lanes. State’s players either can’t or won’t take someone off of the dribble and make this type of defense pay. Duke has absolutely blown State out of the building a number of times with their half-court man-to-man defense.

  9. VaWolf82 01/07/2006 at 6:35 PM #

    I’m waiting for my critics to chime in with some comments about our insight here.

    PD is getting his list of speculations together and will be by shortly to tell us why this loss doesn’t really count.

  10. Rick Jernigan 01/07/2006 at 7:03 PM #

    Jeff – Amazing pre game prediction. I went to the game and suffered mightily. The 26 for 28 free throw shooting was incredible. I don’t think they caught any rim on more than four free throws. We had 20 fouls to their 18 but we only took 14 free throws. The front end misses by Brackman & Astur in the second half were huge.

    Iowa hammers Illinois at home, Miami beats Maryland at home – It was all there for a real special day. Ced is the key for our becomming a terrific team. He only got to play 21 minutes. When he picked up his fourth foul, it started to look like a lay-up drill. Very disappointing defense today and we weren’t strong enough with the ball.

  11. WTNY 01/07/2006 at 7:31 PM #

    Jeff — No, I knew we were playing. I just knew what was going to happen so I tried to keep my hopes from getting up.

    Still, I feel into the trap of thinking, “this year, this year will be different! We’ll sweep Carolina, we have a special team again!” I, like many State fans, am like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football.

    And unfortunately, the WTNY nickname just rolls on…

  12. SaccoV 01/07/2006 at 8:15 PM #

    Although nothing will keep me from vomiting over the loss, I can help but thinking that this loss was due IN TOTAL to Etivmov’s late turnovers and bad half-court defense in the second half. It seemed that State had the opportunities to win and didn’t take advantage. This was NOT a coaching defeat. I know that much will be made of working over the officials before and during the game, but that wouldn’t have won us anything either. Don’t blame this loss on Sendek. He didn’t miss two front ends on the 1-and-1 and he didn’t turn the ball over twice in two late possessions.

    I will criticize Herb in the use of the freshmen so far this season. Fells hasn’t touched the court much this season and McCauley has only had late first-half duty so far. Maybe when Costner gets healthy he will be effective but I’m wondering why those guys aren’t being groomed for conference play (especially McCauley because of his size).

  13. BJD95 01/07/2006 at 8:20 PM #

    ^ Sacco – one big positive for Sendek. After the big turnover at the 1:20 mark, Sendek yanked Evtimov from the game.

    He was money on open 3s today. But his defense and ballhandling (both due to lack of quickness) were daggers today.

  14. Sammy Kent 01/07/2006 at 10:47 PM #

    Sendek lost this game by abandoning the inside game entirely when Cedric went out of the game. We barely stayed in the game because of our defense and guys hitting a few threes. When Simmons came back in, he might as well have been back on the bench. Not once did he get in the lane and call for the ball. Not once did Herb tell him to get there and for the other guys to get him the ball. We shot half as many free throws as Carolina because we didn’t do anything to draw fouls.

    Jeff, nice call on the Wolfpack score.

  15. PACDADDY 01/08/2006 at 12:11 AM #

    Nice read Jeff…


    “because we didn’t do anything to draw fouls”…we did…they just weren’t called against the other team, like they were against us. Before you start saying I’m blaming it the loss on the refs…stop…because I don’t know how it would have turned out, but I knew Ced’s fourth foul was going to be called early in 2nd and it was going to be EXTREMELY bogus.


  16. VaWolf82 01/08/2006 at 8:48 AM #

    VA…get over yourself.

    It’s amazing that people are often treated the same way that they treat others.


    This is true and good…but not enough.

  17. PACDADDY 01/08/2006 at 5:35 PM #

    Sorry if I came on a little strong with that comment VA. I had a bad day yesterday and wasn’t in the mood for comments like… “PD is getting his list of speculations together and will be by shortly to tell us why this loss doesn’t really count.”

    We lost a tough game in Chapel Hill…it counts and I’m upset we lost. I just happen to look at things differently than some. When CED went out with 4 th foul, I felt at that time we would lose, unless Hansborough could get into foul trouble…didn’t happen and I was right…sucks don’t it?

  18. VaWolf82 01/08/2006 at 8:03 PM #

    sucks don’t it?

    I competely agree.

  19. Sammy Kent 01/08/2006 at 10:51 PM #


    Not after Ced left the game, and not even after he came back in. Spreading the floor and having a forward drive from the arc to the basket is NOT the same as setting up and feeding the ball to a low post presence that the defense has to respect and allocate resources to defend against. When Ced left I saw the value in spreading the floor and working down the shot clock to shorten the game, though I would rather Brackman have parked himself down low. I said I’ll be happy if we just trade baskets with them until we get Ced back in. But when Ced came back in all he did was set screens at the top of the key. Watch the tape of the last six minutes.

  20. PACDADDY 01/09/2006 at 1:21 AM #

    ^all I know is when CED returned we went from 5 pts down to tie game. Including missing 2 front ends.

    During the run by UNC, we simply made BAD plays and didn’t have a couple of calls go our way and had a bad bounce which lead to a HAns dunk….they bascially put the game away at the FT line and we had to play catchup. The way they were calling fouls on CED, maybe we were scared to go inside…I don’t…All I know is, until the break down which happend fast, we played well during that 3 minute stretch.

  21. Class of '74 01/09/2006 at 6:23 AM #

    I said this before and I will always believe that Roy and K are the best in the business, 1A & 1B if you will. As long as they are the lead dogs our view will remain the same and it aint a pretty one either. And this was to be our year? Please.

  22. Jeff 01/09/2006 at 9:09 AM #

    In the last 5 years of the ACC….our OVERALL performance ranks us somewhere around 5th in the conference. 4 different ACC teams have played in the National Title game. 5 different ACC teams (6 now that BC is in the league) have been ranked in the Top 10 SIGNIFICANTLY more than we have. I would have no problem being 1C. But, we are not.

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