BBall: Last Bytes of the Year; +21 in 20 Minutes

Despite the holidays, we’ve posted a ton of stuff to the site in recent days…so, if you haven’t been visiting a lot then we ask that you don’t overlook some of our entries like the ACC expansion pieces and our comprehensive “BC fans” piece.

===> We obviously followed the Wolfpack’s win over Western Carolina closely. (See link) Pack Pride has a lot of links in their Web Run, including a link to Andrew Jones’ report card that includes the following grade on intangibles:

State intangibles: At some point State is going to be humbled enough to understand it just can’t walk onto the floor and beat teams, even ones like Western Carolina. Coach Sidney Lowe said his club was tired, that some players are playing a lot of minutes, etc. Ben McCauley – who never made such excuses a year ago when nearly 40 minutes was the norm for State’s top players – said coming off a (quick) trip to Seton Hall and playing two days later affected the team. There’s no excuse to only lead WCU by a point with 3:27 left, especially when you’ve already lost to New Orleans and ECU and have been pushed by several other mediocre-to-bad teams. The Wolfpack notched the victory and it required some toughness and smart play on offense to do so. For that, it deserves credit. But there’s just no reason this team should ever take anyone lightly. That’s on the staff and the players. Grade: F.

===>I know that a lot of fans are very frustrated with the Wolfpack’s tendancy to play ‘down’ to their competition as highlighted in Andrew Jones’ previous comments. I don’t criticize anyone for feeling this way as it obviously frustrating. However, as it relates to yesterday’s game I am going to make two mitigating points:

(1) State outscored Western by 21 points in the second half. 21 points in 20 minutes. I don’t have a problem if you were frustrated by the effort in the first half. However, you may be choosing to be just a little too negative if you allow the negative to define your perspective of the entire afternoon. As bad as the first half was, the second half was equally good.

(2) State was playing only our second game without starting point guard, Farnold Degand. Fans looking for blowouts need to remember that the point guard has the ball in his hand more than any other player on the court and therefore dictates the direction of the game. Even with Degand we aren’t built for blowouts like some teams.

===>Seaking of ^point guard, I was doing the math on Farnold Degand’s knee injury the other day. I am very happy to see that Coach Lowe has requested a medical redshirt from the NCAA in light of Farnold’s circumstances.

===>With ^that said, I am going to say something that those of you who like to keep your head buried in the sand won’t like and those of you who come to SFN for honest and accurate conversation with appreciate – especially if Degand gets an extra year of eligibility, I foresee a significant log jam at the point guard position in the future that can only be fixed by the transfer of more than one player currently on the team. During the year when we will be recruiting all-everything point guard, John Wall from Raleigh’s Word of God High School, the Wolfpack’s roster is projected to include FIVE (of 13) scholarship players who project to play the point: Trevor Ferguson (R-Jr); Marques Johnson (Jr); Farnold Degand (potentially a R-So); Javi Gonzalez (So); and Julius Mays (Fr).

===>For overall scholarship distribution and for the talent distribution of the point guard position while trying to recruit John Wall, I would expect that Trevor Ferguson has little to no future of playing time at NC State. Additionally, if Javi Gonzalez continues to project behind both Farnold Degand and Marques Johnson while NC State tries to land John Wall, then one has to wonder if Gonzalez will want to stick around Raleigh for all four years?

===>Few teams have been as pleasantly surprising this year as the University of Miami Hurricanes. Heading into the weekend the Hurricanes were ranked in the Top 20 with an 11-0 record and had seen the RPI as high as #2 in the country! But, to the detriment of the ACC, the Canes lost at home to previously 6-5 Winthrop. No word from the NCAA if the game counts when no fans show up to watch.

===>Speaking of RPIs, NC State fans will be happy know that Wolfpack is currently at a very solid #38 with two cupcakes ahead before entering ACC play. As I previously commented, as long as we can get out of the out of conference at 11-3 then the strength of the ACC will solidify our RPI and create a situation where the Wolfpack can secure an NCAA Tournament berth (before the ACC Tournament) with an 8-8 conference record.

===>The following are few RPI’s of interest now that we are about 35% to 40% through the season:

(5) UNC-CH
(10) Michigan State
(18) Duke
(32) Villanova
(36) Florida State
(38) NC State
(40) Clemson
(49) Seton Hall
(50) Indiana
(52) Miami (FL)
(54) UCLA
(57) Boston College
(60) Virginia
(62) Georgetown
(72) Georgia Tech
(79) Wake Forest
(96) Virginia Tech
(104) Arizona State
(107) South Carolina
(128) Florida
(143) New Orleans
(151) Rider
(157) Davidson
(170) UNC-Asheville
(171) East Carolina (thanks NC State)
(172) Maryland

07-08 Basketball

68 Responses to BBall: Last Bytes of the Year; +21 in 20 Minutes

  1. Mr O 12/30/2007 at 2:41 PM #

    I agree with many of those commments. While WCU isn’t a tough team overall, it ended up being a good test for us two days after a big road win. The more tough situations we face, then the better we will handle them down the road.

  2. PAPacker 12/30/2007 at 2:43 PM #

    According to Packpride, we are not among Wall’s top four or five teams. Is there some inside track by Lowe et al the rest of us don’t know about? I’ve been worried about us stockpiling PG’s that seem below the caliber of the pre-Sendek/Robinson period and of most of the other ACC member institutions. Is Mays a stronger player than he appears on paper at this point? (3 star, apparently lightly recruited)

  3. wolfpacker420 12/30/2007 at 2:59 PM #

    With all the attention on Wall I don’t see us coming up with him signing. Some out of state school who offers him some bling or a new whip will get him a la USC. With that being said I have full confidence in Sidney getting it done with the personnel that we have. He took a mediocre team last year without a true point guard and still put up 20 wins. I like those recruits that fly under everyone’s radar a la Rivers who was also a 3 star recruit!

  4. burnbarn 12/30/2007 at 3:03 PM #

    It is so early with Wall. He certainly has been on campus many times. I understand many more schools are getting involved and we are also looking at other PGs as well.

    I hope none of these guys transfer…someone has to ride the bench.

  5. Sweet jumper 12/30/2007 at 3:16 PM #

    We lack the killer insinct of our 2 close neighbors. For some reason we are unable to extend leads and put people away. This lets lesser teams hang around until the last few minutes when a hot shooter(Hinnant) or a stupid foul or mistake (Fells’ intentional foul) can cost us a loss to a lesser opponent.

    Wall and Leslie led Word of God past DeMatha in the Holiday Classic at Broughton yesterday. We have Leslie committed and we need Wall no matter who has to sit or transfer. Go get him Sid!

  6. wolfpacker420 12/30/2007 at 3:20 PM #

    Not that I don’t want Wall I’m not going to get my hopes up! If we get him I’ll be soooo excited but if we don’t get him I have faith that Sidney will get it done with whoever he has playing…. GO PACK!!

  7. choppack1 12/30/2007 at 3:27 PM #

    I think Mays is supposed to be smart and solid. It sounds like he’s a better shooter than Gonzalez.

    Our PG situation is very much like our RB situation in football. We probably over-recruited the postion – but aren’t you glad we did?

    Regarding our game vs. WCU – it looks like we’ll just have to get used to this kind of thing for the short term. I’m not thrilled w/ the way we played, but we won. The good news for all Pack fans is that we have positioned ourselves for an at large bid w/our performance OOC.

    The bad news is that we’ll be playing a lot of mediocre teams who will beat us if we play like we did vs. WCU. Remember, we didn’t miss the tourney last year because of the way we played against UNC and VaTech – there’s a possibility if we could gave won 2 or 3 regular season games vs. GaTech, Miami, 1 of 2 games vs. UVA, Clemson, or BC. With the exception of GaTech and the game at UVa, I was disappointed in our effort in those other games.

    Like I said earlier, big games seem to bring out the best in this team and staff.

  8. Sweet jumper 12/30/2007 at 3:37 PM #

    MJ has asserted himself as the point guard. I look for his minutes to increase to 28-32 minutes in the ACC season if Javi does not progress very quickly.

    JJ’s upside is tremendous. He will only get better and should be a monster by March. His attitude and effort are tremendous.

    FF, BC, Fells and Ben need to concentrate on consistent, excellent effort in every remaining game. Their experience will be vital when combined with consistent effort in the ACC season.

    Horner is a solid contributor. When he regains confidence in his shot, he will be very important for us.

    I hope Tracy Smith gets significant minutes in the next two games. Given the chance, he could develop into a solid contributor for 8-10 minutes per game in the ACC season.

    Simon Harris has great work ethic and I like him for 5 minutes to rest Fells on a tough defensive assignment.

    Sid has us moving in the right direction. One day we will look back on the hiccups and bad breaks of Sid’s early years and realize that these were character builders for our return to the upper echelon of college basketball where we belong. Go Sid and Go Pack!

  9. Sweet jumper 12/30/2007 at 3:38 PM #

    GG not FF–sorry.

  10. Sweet jumper 12/30/2007 at 3:41 PM #

    I thought that Mays is a 2guard who can play the point if necessary.

  11. gopack968 12/30/2007 at 3:46 PM #

    Is WOG an accredited school that can send athletes into NCAA programs? I thought it was on the NCAA’s list a few years back. It is nice to look at players like Wall and eventually CJ Leslie, but will they be eligible from that program?

  12. doug74 12/30/2007 at 4:09 PM #

    I think that Coach knows these guys better than any of us and understands progress and peaking at the right time. He knows that every team is different and deserves a different plan. I’m not concerned that they don’t all look like they’re giving 100% on every play. The best players in history had an instinct for choosing their moments and not wasting energy. I love the way that MJ looks out there with our wings and love how we’re not panicking more about the bigs’ minutes the way we were several weeks ago. I predict 10-6 in the conference and a 3/4 seed.

  13. Octavian 12/30/2007 at 4:48 PM #

    I thought Ferguson was considered more of a 2 or at least a “combo” type guard. Despite his reputation, couldn’t Marques Johnson also be considered in the latter category? Nevertheless, there’s a glut as you speak of and it bodes against maybe acquiring Wall (Didn’t know we were not listed in his top 5 but isn’t he buds with CJ Leslie?)

    I certainly agree with a lot of the other fine points, but feel an 8-8 record would place us squarely on the bubble. Maybe with one or 2 ACC Tourney wins we’d be in? Although NO/ECU are two inexcusable losses maybe I’m not giving our other OOC games enough stock.

  14. E-RO 12/30/2007 at 5:18 PM #

    I could see Javi transfering.

    ” He took a mediocre team last year without a true point guard and still put up 20 wins.”

    A lot of people don’t appreciate just how good of a PG Atsur was.

    Mays is one of the leading candiates for Indiana’s Mr. Basketball. He’s also a 90%+ FT shooter and a 40%+ 3PT shooter. Word out of Marion is that he’s a better 1 than 2, but plays a lot of 2 because his team needs him to (they have another guy or two that are good players at the 1)

  15. werncstate 12/30/2007 at 5:22 PM #

    Doug you said “I’m not concerned that they don’t all look like they’re giving 100% on every play.” Holy crap! You must be very happy with an extremely mediocre team then. That’s all they are if everyone of the players are not giving 100% on every play. I do not watch the NBA because noone gives 100% until the last 2 minutes of the game. I’m pretty sure Sid did not bring the NBA philosophy with him to NC State, although watching this team makes you wonder sometimes.

  16. VaWolf82 12/30/2007 at 6:10 PM #

    I expect fewer players to get playing time as the season progresses. If you have not seen enough from someone on the team, then you may not get a chance to see them until mop-up duty from here on out. The time for experimentation is past (I hope) and it’s time to nail down the rotation.

    State has not looked good for most of the “preseason”, so I’m not sure what we can expect to see when the real season starts. How people are still projecting 10+ ACC wins is beyond me. The team will need to show improvement just to reach Jeff’s mark of 8-8. Let’s hope we see lots of improvement.

  17. choppack1 12/30/2007 at 6:34 PM #

    VaWolf – I think it all depends on how this team will treat the majority of its conference games. If we treat every game like we did VaTech or UNC last year, or Seton Hall and Nova this year, we’ll do well. If we play like we did so many other games last year and like we have against our crappy non-conference foes this year- we’ll definitely be lucky to get to 8-8. I think we’ve shown thus far this year, if we show up flat, we’re capable of losing to any Division 1A school in the country.

  18. waxhaw 12/30/2007 at 6:39 PM #

    Maybe Scout has said that we aren’t in Walls top 5 but I don’t remember anyone on Packpride saying it.

    As was proven with Hickson and others, scout’s top 5 isn’t always accurate and is usally late to update.

  19. wufpup76 12/30/2007 at 7:05 PM #

    regarding the comments from andruw jones and the n&o article today, i am getting more than tired of the excuse making when things don’t go well for this team …

    “we have tired legs … etc.”


    i love sidney and the team but let’s leave the excuse making and “we only beat ourselves, we didn’t actually lose” BS to our light blue neighbors down the street

    show up ready to play … if the other team beats you then give them credit … and if you lose b/c you weren’t ready to play or took a team too lightly then for goodness sakes admit it (to yourself), learn from it and move on

    gut check please

    go pack

  20. Mr O 12/30/2007 at 9:07 PM #

    Too many PGs? We stil don’t have one good one on the roster.

  21. Rochester 12/30/2007 at 10:39 PM #

    I would like to see us borrow one tactic from UNC-CH. The line change. When we show up with our heads up our asses and turn the ball over the first five possessions, I’d like to see Sid put five new kids on the floor and let the starters watch what effort looks like. You can’t tell me our second string couldn’t at least hold their own against Western Carolina.

    You do have to give the team credit for the second half, but outscoring the Catamounts by 21 in a half shouldn’t be anything special. Granted the point guard issues, etc., but they had no one that could stop JJ and never will recruit anyone capable of stopping him.

  22. Sweet jumper 12/31/2007 at 8:28 AM #

    I agree with Rochester. I love it when Roy doesn’t think he is getting acceptable effort from his starters. He yanks all 5 at the same time and then he goes down the bench and chews them out individually while the second team hustles their asses off. When the starters go back in, they usually go on a huge run.

  23. RAWFS 12/31/2007 at 8:36 AM #

    Keep in mind that just because a coach doesn’t give the answer you think he should that he doesn’t really know the situaion. When Sid said “we were tired” I thought it was classic coachspeak.

    Sidney’s smart enough to not dog his team publicly…keep in mind that he has had to handle some chemistry issues so far this year. That doesn’t mean that he and the staff will mince their words in the locker room or at practice.

  24. zahadum 12/31/2007 at 8:57 AM #

    Good point RAWFS. I also think that Gavin getting to finish the game watching may have been a case of Sid sending a message as well. Something like: “You may be a senior and you may have been outstanding the last few games, but that doesn’t mean you get to take this one off.”

  25. Sweet jumper 12/31/2007 at 9:04 AM #

    Good points. The fact is that every player cannot be on all the time. When crunch time comes, you have to go with the 5 who are helping the team the most and playing the best to finish the game. I think WCU was a good lesson for GG.

    Watching JJ, I am reminded of the Al McGuire line: “You have got to get the ball to your aircraft carrier in the paint.” WCU was a great example of that philosophy.

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