NOTE: There is A LOT of activity going on at SFN today (recently). So, please don’t do yourself a disservice by not scrolling down our entire front page for different entries that may be of interest to you.
Although the 54th Annual Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament will take place in a “new school” city, the opening round will have a distinctive “old school” feel to it for Wolfpackers as NC State will play Big Four rival and the #7 seeded Duke Blue Devils on Thursday at 7 pm. The winner of the game will advance to play the #2 seeded, Virginia Cavaliers on Friday at 7 pm. All seeds are set and BJD has a great look at what each team needs to do this weekend in this parity-laden event that anyone can win.
Wolfpack fans will be happy to know that Sidney Lowe is breaking out the red jacket tonight, and we have a super blog entry on the topic.
Regardless of the Gerald Henderson’s presence, SFN – and others – believe the Pack matches-up better against Duke than with some of the other potential alternative opponents that existed before last weekend’s games were played. This is because:
(1) State laid a miserable egg vs Duke earlier in the season and would like a shot at redemption.
(2) We physically match-up better with Duke than some of the other opponents.
(3) We have defeated both North Carolina and Wake Forest this year. It would quite a nice feather in the cap for Coach Sidney Lowe to win at least one game against each Big Four rival in his very first season!
This N&O preview says NC State wins if State:
(1) Remembers Jan. 20
State played its worst game of the season, including the Cincinnati disaster, against Duke. There was never an offensive flow because Duke forced 20 turnovers. As Sidney Lowe said, Wednesday, it’s going to come down to that again
(2) Slacks off Duke’s guards
Maryland provided the template to beat Duke â€” make them beat you from the outside. Even at Cameron, Duke didn’t have enough shooters to make Maryland pay for backing off the perimeter and protecting the basket. State didn’t play any interior defense in the first game, so that’s going to have to change too.
A major key to the game – and something that you won’t see mentioned in the polite media – is best explained by TexPack in a previous entry:
The hand checking and clutching and grabbing really neutralizes our athletic advantage. That is why I donâ€™t like the match-up. IF, by some miracle, the assaults by the Dookies were to be called and they were forced to play legitimate defense it might be a different story. Iâ€™m just happy to see â€œTournamenttime.â€
Additionally, if you REALLY want some detailed statistical analysis of keys to tonight’s game, then all you have to do is visit Section Six and take a look at some of the recent analyses that have been done. (If anyone has a personal relationship with Section Six and can convince him to merge into our platform here then please don’t hesitate. We think that we do a super job of covering a lot of angles of what is going on in Wolfpack world; but, our current team of authors just don’t have the time/resources to dig as deeply into numbers analysis that we would like. Adding S6’s wonderful insight from that side would build a POWERHOUSE of a blog!!!)
It isn’t ‘ACC Tournament Eve’ anymore, but you have some relevant links to review in this entry from 850TheBuzz. Anyone who wants generally great ACC Tournament information then you should just click here and surf around.
From the historical irony category comes the following:
* Ten years ago NC State had first year coach leading the Wolfpack into the ACC Tournament as a very low seed. You probably remember what happened!
* 20 years ago a low-seeded NC State team entered an ACC Tournament that was being played in the unconventional host city of Landover, Maryland. That NC State squad miraculously swept the Big Four on consecutive days to win Jim Valavano’s second ACC Championship. The Wolfpack’s win in the first round of the 1987 tournament came against Duke.
* 20 years later, a low-seeded NC State team enters an ACC Tournament being played in the unconventional host city of Tampa, FL. The Wolfpack will match up with…Duke…in the first round.
* Duke’s Gerald Henderson will be suspended for the first round game against an NC State who may need another win (or two) to make ourselves more attractive (to the NIT committee) for a potential post season berth. Sound familiar? Just two years ago NC State entered the ACC Tournament needing a couple of wins to impress (the NCAA Tournament) for a post-season bid. Because of Chris Paul’s suspension, the Wolfpack got a much needed win over #3 ranked Wake Forest in Friday’s session (after defeating Florida State on Thursday). You can remember it all by clicking here.