We are going to hit some quick items of interest today:
* The News & Observer has a photo slideshow and audio of the Wolfpack’s first practice this year. You can click here to view it. Gone are the days of CIA-level secrecy and the program choosing to isolate itself so much from free media coverage and attention. Also gone are the days of hiding from our heritage for fear of not ever living up to historical standards; you will note the two National Championship banners now prominently displayed on the wall of the Dail Practice Center that recently replaced the text of “One Heartbeat” on the wall.
* You can click here For more audio clips related to NC State’s Basketball program from media day.
* Andrew Brackman‘s decision to forego basketball was blogged nationally by Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News here.
Brackman now is the fifth player among NC State’s seven leading scorers from the 2005-06 season to depart the program. Four completed their eligibility, and center Cedric Simmons entered the draft and became a first-round pick. With them goes 71.4 percent of the scoring from a team that was not an offensive juggernaut.
With Brackman gone from the picture, State will struggle to stay out of the ACC basement. It will be a far tumble for a program that has made five consecutive NCAA Tournaments and whose fans ache to be competitive with local sluggers Duke and North Carolina. It’ll be much harder to play in that league now.
* The big news in the Triangle is the injury to Greg Paulus‘ foot. (Update linked here) . This is the kind of injury that could linger all year if not properly cared for. No team can afford injuries to key players – particularly point guards – but NC State’s season would be over before it started with such an injury. Until Trevor Ferguson becomes eligible at the end of the first semester, NC State will be playing with only seven recruited scholarship players.
* The Fayetteville Observer has a nice set of previews of Big Four basketball teams available here.
* If you don’t check Luke Winn’s College Basketball Blog at Sports Illustrated then you probably should give it a try every now and then. This link will take you to his most recent entry that includes a lot of quick videos from March Madnesses from around the country.
* This NCAA Hoops Blog also has some random musings of interest to start to get the season rolling.
* The NCAA has unveiled its logo for the 2008 Final Four. San Antonio is a great place for the event. The logo is featured at the beginning of this entry.