OTR: Lowe Era Begins Tonight With “5 Pack”

The Sidney Lowe era begins in Raleigh tonight!!!!

State #35

It is no secret that Coach Lowe has been dealt quite a tough hand in his first year of collegiate coaching. The Wolfpack is thin. Very thin. A YOUNG starting five of Engin Atsur (Sr); Courtney Fells (So); Gavin Grant (Jr); Brandon Costner (Fr); and Ben McCauley (So) are going to have to carry the Wolfpack’s load almost exclusively this season. Even the Wolfpack’s potential back-ups have no experience.

Here’s a newsflash for all of you outsiders– nobody cares!

NC State’s fan base is SO EXCITED about the future of the program that nobody cares that we are picked last in the ACC . Nobody really cares how bad this year could be because we now have a fresh begininng and genuine optimistic excitement about the future. I don’t care that some jock sniffing writer in B.F.E ‘doesn’t understand.’ That is their fault, because in addition to 95% of real Wolfpack fans that get it, even the local media ultimately ‘got it’ and admitted so much in print.

Caulton Tudor of the News & Observer got it.

Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer ultimately got it.

Tom Suiter of WRAL-TV ultimately got it.

John DeLong of the Winston-Salem Journal ultimately got it.

John Brasier down in South Carolina somehow got it.

Even Andy Katz at ESPN once got it (but then forgot)

I can’t count how many times I have read comments from idiots in the uneducated national media and even heard NC State’s own administration make comments resembling “I hope that the fan base will just give him time”…and “I hope that expectations are not too high”. These folks are going to be quite surprised that to learn that most Wolfpackers don’t have much of any expectations this season and still couldn’t be more excited about basketball and the future. Stick that in your critical pen and smoke it.

With this said, it is time for our readership to go “On the Record” with your expectations and/or predictions for this basketball season. (Please refrain from any future predictions as we will run another “On the Record” related to your expectations for the future of NC State Basketball)

If you need to brush-up…you can click here for a direct link to the Wolfpack’s schedule and click here if you want a discussion regarding the Wolfpack’s 2006-2007 schedule.

I will begin.

I’m expecting nothing this season. Nothing. Period. As long as you see effort, hustle and potential from this year’s squad then you will get little complaint from me.

I’m watching every game for the sheer enjoyment of getting to know players that have the potential to grow and develop and contribute to the re-birth of NC State Basketball in the coming years. Courtney Fells, Gavin Grant, Brandon Costner, Ben McCauley, Dennis Horner, Trever Ferguson and Big Lew. That’s it.

I’m watching every game to build a bond with these kids and watch them grow and develop. I’m watching to learn how Coach Lowe deals with situations so I know what to expect in the future as our program grows. I’m watching every game to see when Coach Lowe goes to a zone to rest his “5 Pack” of players; to see a box and one tailored for a one-game situation; to see a squad of boys not be scared to take good shots that they have created without progressing through a set of limiting rules.

For this season’s 29 game regular season schedule – I am looking for the Wolfpack to finish the season 12-17 overall with a 3-13 record in the ACC. I expect a first-game exit from the ACC Tournament. Anything above this is gravy to me this year.

A “stretch goal/expectation” would be a 15-14 regular season record; I don’t care how the wins are distributed. Finishing the regular season 15-14 (and potentially 15-15 after an ACC Tournament loss) would qualify the Wolfpack for an NIT Tournament appearance that would be unbelievable this season. This is the goal.

The reason that 15-14 is a ‘stretch goal’ and not an expectation lies in the details of the Wolfpack’s ACC schedule.

* The Pack plays 10 of 16 games against teams that Dick Vitale projects to be NCAA Tournament participants.

* Additionally, State plays two more games against a Virginia squad that many gurus project as an NCAA Tournament team.

* State plays AT Miami and AT Florida State and doesn’t get a return trip to Raleigh from either school. Smilarly, the Pack only has one game against Clemson this season.

* Of a potential six games that could have been scheduled against teams predicted to join the Pack in the bottom of third of the conference, NC State only plays four games.

* We all know that the middle of the ACC is always the strongest of any conference in America. Every team projected to finish #5-#8 in the ACC is included in mulitple NCAA Tournament projections. Of a potential eight games that could have been scheduled against these teams, the Wolfpack plays seven.

I expect 12-17.

I put 15-14 as a realistic ‘stretch goal’ that would excite the hell out of me.

In other preview/preseason notes:

* The N&O provided a small pre-season preview article that is available by clicking here.

“It’s definitely going to be a tough year,” senior guard Engin Atsur said. “We’re not too deep, not too experienced. We have a new coach, and it’s a transition period for us.

“But I’m not happy we’re predicted for the bottom of the ACC. I think we’re much better than that. Once we get adjusted to our new system, I think we can have a good year.”

* Gavin Grant is one happy camper in Coach Lowe’s new environment. (Link) If Grant’s two preseason performances are any indication of what is to follow this year, then the junior is going to have a monster season.

Grant, a 6-foot-7 junior who plays guard and forward, is expected to thrive in the up-tempo offense of new coach Sidney Lowe. Grant flashed signs of his wider impact in the season’s two exhibition games, averaging 25 points and 7.5 rebounds. Last season, he started nine of 32 games and averaged 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds.

* Section Six took a statistical look at the St Aug’s game after looking at the Northern State game.

State scored 87 points on 73 possessions, which is an Offensive Efficiency of 119 and a big improvement over the NSU game. It’s good to see that low TO%.

Unfortunately, I can’t speak as highly of the defense; we didn’t force many turnovers and St. Aug’s shot a good percentage. Both Northern State and St. Aug’s had eFGs above 50, and that is alarming.

So if our field goal defense has abandoned us, and we still can’t force turnovers, and we still can’t rebound at the defensive end…yikes! Will this year’s Wolfpack have anything to hang its hat on? Take a look at Wake’s in-conference OFF EFF/DEF EFF from 2006. Their offense was actually above league average, but their defense was so terrible (here’s some perspective), they couldn’t keep up with their opponents. I could see the Wolfpack having a similar profile in 2007.

* S6’s statistical information in the preseason supports some of the observations about weak defense that fans have expressed from watching the games. I don’t think that this young team will be as strong defensively as we have become accustomed to in recent years. But, I want to point out that defense start’s at the point guard position and people seem to forget that Engin Atsur hasn’t been playing due to injury. I expect Atsur’s presence to improve the Pack’s defense.

* Dick Vitale projects seven ACC teams will be selected to the 2007 NCAA Tournament. (Link). The world’s best superconference – also known as the Big East – also is projected to land seven bids. Except, the Big East has sixteen teams compared to the ACC’s twelve.

North Carolina, Duke, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Maryland, Virginia Tech

* Fox Sports is previewing the entire country in “groups of five”. Pretty neat idea. (Link)

These teams will have down seasons

1. N.C. State — New coach Sidney Lowe doesn’t have enough depth after losing Andrew Brackman to baseball and Cedric Simmons to the NBA.

2. West Virginia — John Beilein’s team is young after watching nearly all of last season’s team depart.

3. Michigan State — Tom Izzo has plenty of talent, but it’s primarily in the freshman class.

4. Oklahoma — Jeff Capel wasn’t left much in Norman.

5. Iowa State — New Cyclones’ coach Greg McDermott will have to re-build after losing Will Blalock and Curtis Stinson prematurely.

* That^ same article cites former NC State assistant and SFN favorite, John Groce, as an assistant coach that may become a head coach in the future. Congratulations to ‘Johnny Grasace’

3. John Groce, Ohio State — He helped haul in arguably the best recruiting class in America — to Columbus, Ohio.

06-07 Basketball General On the Record Sidney Lowe

33 Responses to OTR: Lowe Era Begins Tonight With “5 Pack”

  1. highstick 11/10/2006 at 5:07 PM #

    All we ever wanted was a fresh start with a coach that has a “passion for winning in the ACC”!! Jeez, do you realize how long that has been? I didn’t have any gray hair then!

  2. class of 74 11/10/2006 at 5:26 PM #

    A .500 season overall would not surprise me, but we have no margin for error, injury and foul troubles to reach that level. The recruiting appears to be going extremely well and that is the real hope for our future under Coach Lowe.

  3. ushum 11/10/2006 at 5:47 PM #

    great read Jeff…

    I’m hoping for a .500 record at the end of next year…but if we fall short i don’t really care…

    this year is a year for Coach to see what it is like coaching in the ACC, I look for us to at least just be entertaining and for Fells, Costner, McCauley, and Horner to get some much needed experience for next year when the reinforcements come from Hickson, T. Smith, J. Thomas, and Degand.

    I can’t wait…for the future and the present…

  4. legacyman 11/10/2006 at 5:48 PM #

    As the season progresses, we have to remember where Sidney is starting and where we all hope he will get to in the future. Together, we will get there much quicker.

    I ask for the ones, who are just waiting for the first loss to offer their I told you so comment, to remain calm and they, too, will be around when all of us get to experience what our program once was.

  5. ushum 11/10/2006 at 5:53 PM #

    they’ll have to at least wait until we play Michigan if they are waiting on our first loss…

    and I totally agree there are those out there praying we fall flat on our face, and they are also the a-holes that I truly cared less about their opinion on what went down last year…

  6. cornellpackfan 11/10/2006 at 6:27 PM #

    I’ve never been more excited about Wolfpack basketball in my entire lifetime until now. That may make me dated, but honestly I finally feel like the program is headed in the right direction with a coach that understands not only the local scene but also the goals and wants of the NCSU fan base. Sidney Lowe just gets it. I will be impressed by anything this team accomplishes this year, but I am hoping to break .500 as my one major goal for this team.

  7. ldr of the pk 75 11/10/2006 at 6:37 PM #

    Bye Bye Princeton, Hello Up-Tempo. To the outsiders, we’re going to be fine. No expectations and anything resembling close to .500 will be gravy. As mentioned by others, it’ll be a pleasure to see the hustle up and down the floor. It might take longer than 2 years, but I’m betting we win some folks over sooner. Coaches are already making more progress in recruiting than, what’s his name? did in 10 years IMO. Go Wolfpack and Coach Lowe.

  8. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 11/10/2006 at 6:41 PM #

    Grant in the N&O today…

    After Sendek left for Arizona State last spring, Grant considered transferring when he heard that West Virginia coach John Beilein — another advocate of tightly patterned offense — might be Sendek’s successor.

    “I was like, ‘He’s Herb. He’s the same coach.’ That didn’t make sense to me,” said Grant, who has grown from a shy newcomer to the Pack’s most colorful quote.

  9. Woof Wolf 11/10/2006 at 7:36 PM #

    “I hate to lose…even one game, I hate to lose,” Sidney said or at least close to that. I didn’t go back to find the article. He went on to say we were going to lose some games this year, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.

    That, compared to people who thought losing 10 to 13 games a year and losing in the first or second round of the NCAA’s was a good season, is why we are excited. Sure we are going to have big problems with the more talented teams on the schedule and struggle to win most of our games.

    I can be satisfied with 12-17 or maybe a little less. 15-15 would be great. If we get into the NIT and everyone is still healthly maybe we can win a game…or two? 1983? I don’t think so. I really think 15-15 is a reach.

    Relax, have fun, and look for the positive stuff. There are going to be some nights where it’ll be tough to be happy. But the most important thing for Coach Lowe to do in the next three days is not to beat Wofford tonight, but to get Tracy Smith to say,”N C STATE,” at two o’clock Monday afternoon.

  10. Lock 11/10/2006 at 7:51 PM #

    I will be pleasantly surprised if we hit double-digit wins. I’ve written this year off already, which is obviously not meant as a slight against Lowe. I fully hope (and expect) much better things in the future…but postseason play is just a fantasy this year.

  11. xphoenix87 11/10/2006 at 9:21 PM #

    Expectations should be absolutely nothing. If State gets to .500 by some miracle, Sid should win coach of the year with no questions asked. Things are going to be rough, so lets get used to it and enjoy watching the team grow with a hope for the future.

    I’m with Lock, double digit wins would be a pretty good accomplishment for this squad, and we’ll be lucky to pick up more than 2 wins in conference play.

  12. tvp 11/10/2006 at 9:29 PM #

    McCauley looks like he could have a huge year. Least heralded member of that class (with Costner and Fells) but he could be the best.

    I vote for 14-15 (4-12) by the way.

  13. Micky McCarthy 11/10/2006 at 10:49 PM #

    I’m cool with the low expectations and will be patient in this 2-3 year period. With that being said, its still going to be painful suffering our twice annual-3 quick fouls on our only 2 legit big guys-Brian Bersticker nut grabbing-showboat-bullshit-ass raping-at the hands of Duke and UNC.

  14. bTHEredterror 11/11/2006 at 1:02 AM #

    Delaware St, Mt. Gardner WEbb, St. Mary’s, ECU, UNC-W, and UNC-G should be solid wins. Valpo, Michigan,and WVU, are winnable even though the latter 2 are on the road. Bama is a tough one as they have some inside power and very good guard play, probably a loss. All road ACC tests are likely to be losses, excepting for a couple of shockers. Most home ACC games are winnable except BC, UNC, and maybe Duke unless they struggle to find points in the post JJ era. I predict 4-4 at home in conference for a 6-10 league mark. I predict 15-13, with a couple of memorable upsets, maybe one in the tournament, and an NIT bid. Possibly a deep run in the NIT. Obviously ANY injury blows up the season. Anything better would be joyous, anything less is whatever. I’ve decided nothing that happens this year is worse than the end of last year (I felt I was gutpunched by the UNC game, and slapped in the face in the Wake games), and I agree with the sentiment that great effort from our guys is enough for this first couple of years.
    This team will be Sid’s cornerstone, and I hope to remember them 25 years from now, as the sturdy bunch that circled the wagons, believed in the dream, and restored our rich tradition.

  15. burnbarn 11/11/2006 at 1:50 AM #

    I like us one game above 500 with an Nit bid and a second round exit. But really i don’t care as long as we hustle and play with fire.
    Taking one from the holes would be the icing.

  16. OwenDorm83 11/11/2006 at 8:58 AM #

    I’m watching every game to see when Coach Lowe goes to a zone to rest his “5 Pack� of players; to see a box and one tailored for a one-game situation; to see a squad of boys not be scared to take good shots that they have created without progressing through a set of limiting rules.

    Man, won’t it be great to see a box and one again? I don’t think the previous coach had ever heard of it. You folks remember Corch guarding Tom Hammonds?

    Last night (Wofford) was a little scary, but, if you gave me the chance to turn back the clock and have Herb back this year or to stay the course and have hope for the future with Sid, well, good luck in Arizona, Herb.

  17. partialqualifier 11/11/2006 at 11:02 AM #

    Great article! Once again you have hit the nail right on the perverbial head!!

    I look at this year as 27 exhibitions games. When it’s all said and done an NIT bid would be a small miracle, so let’s give these guys 27 games of experince and a season thru the ACC to develop and see what happens.

    Another thing for all of us to consider…

    This team is not very good, experienced, or deep. Yet has anyone heard any doubt in the players voices? I mean, yea, on the court we look a little unsure at times…but when I hear these guys speak they sound like they are having a ball…and believe it or not they sound confident to me. So I ask myself, “why does a team that has had so much adversity over the last few months seem so confident in the face of sure defeat?” This team was never this confident under Herb, despite having much better teams. That to me is a great sign!!

  18. cpwolfpackfan 11/11/2006 at 3:34 PM #

    does anyone know anything about tracy smith? any inside info, he is supose to announce monday??? Hope he is coming here , he is a beast

    SFN: No reason to think that he will be announcing for anywhere other than NC State

  19. ShootingGuard 11/11/2006 at 4:34 PM #

    My goals/predictions/etc. really would be just a repeat of Jeff’s, so I won’t waste time being redundant…

    I will say that I had a great time at the game last night watching our short list of young guys—and one old guy—give it their all and pull out a tough win. I joked that normally I save up all of my prayers for the Duke and UNC games, and I hated using them during the Wofford game, but, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. This is going to be a LONG season with a lot of losses, but, if the kids can resist getting frustrated and stay together and work hard like they did last night all season in the face of serious adversity, then the future will indeed prove bright. I give Sid GREAT credit for keeping the guys from getting impatient and throwing up stupid 3’s and stuff to get back in the game. I give the crowd that was there GREAT credit for staying with these kids and giving them some umph that was badly needed down the stretch when they were all obviously tired.

    Call me crazy, but, if these kids play hard like this all season and keep their heads up, and, if Sid gets the recruiting holes filled and takes us back to the promised land sometime soon, I wouldn’t mind seeing our IRON 5 + 2-3 on this team honored in some way. No, not putting their individual jerseys up, but something nice in the spirit that Kentucky did for their “Irreplaceables.”

    Sorry, I am dreaming right now, but mostly what we have right now is hope for the future…And it is nice to feel that way again after years and years of living in an Arizona desert right here in North Carolina…

  20. JimValvano 11/11/2006 at 5:22 PM #

    12-17 overall but 4-12 in the ACC…We’ll prolly lose one to a team that should be embarassing, but we’ll upset someone in ACC play.

    My expectations of this team aren’t overwhelming, but I will say that if they don’t win 10 or more I’ll be a little disappointed. There is a possibility that they could really come together by the end of the season and somehow win 14 or maybe 15 games, but all-in-all they should certainly win between 10 and 14 total.

  21. bTHEredterror 11/12/2006 at 1:38 PM #

    Tracy Smith PC Monday at 2:00 pm EST, NC Preps (Rival.com) byline is “to relieve recruiting pressure”. They have us as his high interst, and Okla ST as medium after his visit! those two points taken together,make it look like a good possibility cp.
    If he does come to Raleigh, we are gonna be wicked inside the next few years. with McCauley, Hickson, maybe smith, and even Big Bartosz if he develops.

  22. packbackr04 11/13/2006 at 12:35 PM #

    can we take bartosz scholly after this year. i mean will he be needed??? would be nice to have that schollie….. if we get smith of course.

  23. packbackr04 11/13/2006 at 12:36 PM #

    o by the way…. 11-18 is my guess. (3-13 in acc) but watch out i think we win the play in game of the acc tourny

  24. bTHEredterror 11/13/2006 at 4:05 PM #

    TRACY SMITH!!!!!!!

  25. redfred2 11/13/2006 at 4:11 PM #

    Wofford shot lights out and taht made it a little deceiving, but I’ll be honest, I don’t see us winning any ACC games right now. One problem I saw was Atsur, he is a senior and has been too long in a system that flat out stops it’s own momentum. Every time he catches the ball to bring it over the timeline, he pauses and slowly walks it over, and every time he receives it in the frontcourt he stops, pauses, and evaluates. It disrupts the motion other player’s causing everyone to reset and start the offense all over. It’s a bad habit that will hopefully change with some time under Sidney Lowe.

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