Just because State lost on Tuesday night does not mean that you can underestimate the importance to today’s game. I look at the rest of the season as follows:
State needs two wins to feel good about securing an NIT berth (especially in light of the amount of tickets that we will no doubt sell to NIT games). We have to project that those two wins need to come against our two weakest remaining opponents – Miami and Wake Forest.
That would get the Wolfpack to 5 ACC and 15 overall wins.
As improbably as it sounds, every win after 5/15 is a step towards a potential NCAA bid that would only come if State was able to reach .500 in the ACC (with two remaining games vs Maryland as well as hosting VPI and traveling to UNC-CH and FSU.)
SO, today’s game against a similarly thin Miami Hurricane team is very important to Sidney Lowe and NC State. Coach Lowe addressed the depth issue this week and plans to use more players in Coral Gables today. The N&O says:
For the Pack, that probably will mean minutes for freshman guard Trevor Ferguson, who has not played the last two games, and possibly senor Braxton Albritton. It may mean more minutes for freshman forward Dennis Horner and senior Bryan Nieman.
I respectfully submit that the N&O missed the name of Darrell Davis in their projection. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of Davis as opposed to Ferguson and Albritton. Additionally, I expect the Wolfpack to exploit the strong post play that goes with our height advantage in both Brandon Costner and Ben McCauley.
As usual, we will turn to Section Six for a great preview of today’s game.
The Hurricanes continue to maintain a guard-oriented attack, with Jack McClinton playing the (very) poor man’s Guillermo Diaz. They don’t shoot well, but they protect the basketball and they’re pretty good on the offensive glass even with a bunch of forwards missing in action. They’ve struggled to score on the road in conference play, but they’ve more than held their own at home–they have the fourth-best home offense in the ACC (112.9 pts/100 poss).