I see four different angles in this game, and all are good for NC State:
1) The coaches and players have to be embarrassed about their performance on Wednesday night. The post-game comments I heard from Evtimov and Sendek reflected pretty clear embarrassment. That is a good motivator, especially on Senior Day. We’ve all had lots of fun laughing about the “daytight compartment” stuff, but I honestly think that even Sendek knows that Wednesday’s abomination wasn’t just “another single game.”
2) BC’s guard play really sucks. State has had the most trouble against teams with good, quick, penetrating guards, or guards that got really hot (GT’s Zam Frederick). BC might very well have the worst guards in the ACC, and I don’t think they will be able to exploit the surprising defensive deficiencies we’ve seen from Atsur and (IMHO, especially) Bethel. UNC’s guards are no great shakes offensively either, but BC’s guards aren’t good defensively – a big differentiating factor (on top of the Roy Williams component).
3) Evtimov’s injury should mean more of the lineup with Ced and Brack on the court together. That’s two big, quick bodies to combat Dudley and Smith inside. I don’t think they’ll be able to take over the game, which they must do in order to win.
4) Every time I’ve watched BC play, they’ve looked like crap. I saw most of their Tuesday night loss to Virginia, and it cemented my impression that the Eagles will be an early NCAAT out to any team with so much as decent guard play. A good mid-major team might even beat them senseless, like what happened to Dave Odom’s last NCAA team at Wake (against Butler, IIRC).
I enjoyed my live blogging of the game earlier in the season against Wake, so I’ll be back in an hour to do it again.
3:45 – We get a national CBS broadcast, but still get stuck with Dan Boner announcing? Oh well, I’ll fight the temptation to hit the mute button.
3:48 – Every time I see that Dick Vitale commercial, it makes me want to never eat a DiGiorno pizza again.
3:52 – 6-0, and Craig Smith has the flu. We’re going to kill these guys.
3:54 – Game now tied, but the guy with all 6 BC points has 2 fouls trying to guard Big Ced. Cam travels. Try getting Ced involved, please.
3:56 – BC not giving help on Ced – if he gets touches, he’ll have a game like the one in Cameron last month. Please give it a try, Coach.
4:02 – Tie game, but I really don’t like our defensive effort so far. BC getting easy look after easy look. No longer tied, 17-14, BC.
4:06 – Bethel really on fire so far. 21-19.
4:11 – Nice inside move by Gavin. Against Dudley, no less. Still, Eagles up 2. Dan Boner has never heard of the Lisfranc ligament. Freaking idiot. Cam gets absolutely racked. That should have been intentional, no question.
4:14 – A good run followed by a poor one, topped off by a lazy pass by Cam and an equally lazy attempt to catch it by Atsur. Unforced turnover, BC leads 28-26 with the ball.
4:18 – I like Grant’s overall game, but he can’t guard Jared Dudley.
4:21 – Cam with a great shot. He could take this game over with his diverse offensive repertoire (sp?). We really need to pull out to a 5-7 point working margin by halftime.
4:22 – Cam now on a Rodney Monroe-like 10-point scoring spurt. Still no defense, so BC still leads.
4:24 – Starting to see significantly more energy from our guys, on both ends of the floor. Even pulling down a few rebounds, which needs to become a trend and not just a 5-minute anomaly.
4:29 – Great pass from Grant to McCauley. But BC answers to re-take the lead. Time-out, NC State.
4:33 – Nice defense by Atsur robs BC of a chance to extend the lead, but State does nothing with its last possession of the half. It seems like I’m a broken record, here – BC leads by 2. Without one of our 2005-06 trademark spurts to open the 2nd half, it will be a very nervous final 20 minutes. I’ll say it again – get Big Ced involved! BC has no answer for him.
4:37 – Seth Davis repeats the nonsense that Evtimov is NC State’s “most important player.” Has he watched Cameron Bennerman and Cedric Simmons play, especially in our best games this season? Evtimov is an important member of our rotation, but outside observers seem to have no clue about what makes this team explosive (and potentially special) at times.
4:54 – Ced is taking this game over.
4:56 – Two-man game – Ced and Evtimov. Very effective so far. Tied at the first break.
5:01 – Great move by Cam, but no finish. Alley-oop, and Eagles back up 3.
5:03 – Cam gets his 3rd foul? That’s bad news. You can hear the energy draining out of the building. That’s not good, either. Offensive rebound on the FT miss – shades of Wednesday.
5:05 – Very few turnovers so far. 7 for BC, 6 for us.
5:07 – Ced’s rebounds are keeping us in this game. This stretch is key – BC could have expanded this to an 8-10 point lead, easily. But they haven’t. I think it will come back to haunt them. Just a gut feeling.
5:09 – Good foul by Brack to save another dunk.
5:12 – It had been awhile since we had seen an out of control travel by Grant.
5:15 – Nice feed by Evtimov to Ced. He’s the only guy looking to get Ced the ball, unfortunately.
5:17 – Three point game at the under 8 timeout. I think if we get the lead, BC won’t get it back. But the Eagles showing alot of toughness in not giving the lead up. They had better quit leaving Evtimov open looks from 3, though. He’s killing them they way Wes Miller lit us up Wednesday night.
5:21 – What’s this – a junk defense?
5:22 – Finally, a lead! And Ced makes it 3 with a follow jam!
5:28 – Things look pretty good right now. BC isn’t a catch-up kind of team.
5:29 – Over the back on Smith – I’m calling it. Ballgame.
5:31 – You have to give Sendek credit for switching up defenses at the end. Apart from the one Smith dunk, BC has looked very confused. Maybe there’s a learning curve after all!
5:35 – It looks like I spoke too soon. This will come down to the final possession. Feed Ced and quit bleeding clock.
5:36 – Still, at moments like this, I appreciate being a good FT shooting team. Missed FTs are killing BC.
5:38 – Atsur is money in the clutch. But we give BC a second chance, and they tie it up.
5:40 – Just my humble opinion, but I’d like to see the Evtimov/Ced 2-man game again.
5:42 – Huge offensive board after a terrible play and shot. Drive the lane and draw a foul. At least we can no longer lose in regulation, and are unbeatable in OT.
5:43 – What a crap final play that was. I bet the Iraqi Information Minister wanted a foul.
5:47 – Smith with a huge follow shot, then Cam draws a foul. Wow, was he ever invisible the entire second half.
5:49 – Great plays by Evtimov and Atsur. But BC answers.
5:51 – Good timeout by BC. They looked winded, disorganized, and confused. Ordinarily, I’d hate that last shot by Evtimov, but he’s hot today. If BC is smart, they hold the ball until 50-55 seconds, so they ensure having the last possession.
5:55 – Almost last shot territory for State. Looked like Atsur was out of bounds when he saved the ball, but still, what a hustle play. Please, please get it down low to Ced.
5:57 – Someone please explain why we played for a three. Question – do you press and try for a steal? Or accept 2OT, which is money for us?
5:58 – BC set up an even dumber last play than us. Why does neither team seemingly want to win?
6:00 – All of our first OT points came on the same possession.
6:02 – Dumb play by Atsur. Repeat after me – find Ced.
6:04 – Ced found, and we at least score.
6:06 – Smith cramping up after missing a bunny. Lucky to still be in this one.
6:07 – Another stretch where BC can’t take advantage of our ineptitude. That tends to come back to haunt you. We really need to draw a foul, any way possible.
6:11 – Much better shot by Evtimov, but it doesn’t drop. Another good timeout by BC. Remember, they can’t shoot FTs. So we will have ample chance to extend the game, if need be.
6:13 – Worst played OT game ever? Amazing that we will win with ONE three.
6:14 – BC hangs on to win. Ugly, ugly game. But we’re one step closer to avoiding a semifinal matchup with UNC, and saving Jim a very, very painful ACCT Saturday.
FINAL THOUGHT: If any BC folks want to do some smacktalk on this thread, you are perfectly entitled to do so. I can now fully admit that you are no worse than us. And you guys did play very, very hard. I’m still not picking any ACC teams to fo far in my NCAAT bracket, except maybe Duke, depending on their draw.