Tonight’s Big Game Evolves into Survival Mode (Updated 4:45pm)


The theme that we have attached to basketball this past week is one of major importance for NC State. Sunday night’s win over Cincinnati basically allowed the Wolfpack to hold serve while waiting for tonight’s opportunity to strengthen our NCAA Tournament resume’ with a road game at (RPI #25) Seton Hall.

Over the last two games against Davidson and Cinicinnati, a more energized Wolfpack team showed great significant improvement as point guard Farnold Degand became more effective on both offense and defense while helping the Pack with effective three point shooting when the open shot was available (8 of 16 for the year). But, Degand’s season ending knee injury has thrown water on our parade and now we don’t necessarily know what to expect when the Pack takes the court.

Pack Pride provides some preview information calling the game “HUGE” and Wilmington’s Andrew Jones says that Gonzalez is now the Wolfpack’s key and says,

Unless Gonzalez proves he a vastly different player from the one I’ve seen so far, State is in trouble. In 111 minutes, the Miami native has just nine assists.

Gonzalez, however, has only made a few plays worthy of an ACC point guard. He’s been extremely hesitant, almost timid at times, and hasn’t played with confidence. Gonzalez doesn’t shoot well, almost never penetrates into the lane, and starts the offense way too close to midcourt.

Lastly, ACCNow is discussing the improtance of this ‘home game’ for Brandon Costner; but – as ususal – Gavin Grant steals the spotlight in the ‘quotable’ department.

Asked if the game had special significance for him, Grant quickly quipped, “Nah, I live in the Bronx, man. We don’t even associate with Jersey.”

WRAL-TV has a report on tonight’s game with a focus on Grant but I can’t figure out how to do this damn embedding BS so you can view it by clicking this link.

Updated 4:45pm
Two new links worth posting:
(1) Section Six’s always informative preview

Well, this should be interesting. Of Seton Hall’s top five minutes-getters, no one is taller than 6-5. How they’ve managed the OR% they have, I do not know…probably just a function of the early season schedule seeing as how none of the short guys are very good rebounders at that end of the court; they had a similarly short team last season, and as you can see, they didn’t rebound well offensively…

SHU’s 2FG% defense ranked 292nd last year and currently sits at 259th this season.

Protecting the basketball is going to be huge for us in this one, as that’s really the only leg they have to stand on defensively; they don’t force misses and they give up plenty of second chances, so if we keep the mistakes down we’ll be in good shape for a nice day.

(2) ACCNow says that the Wolfpack is starting a new season tonight in light of Farnold Degand’s injury.

It also might be time to take another run at the Gavin Grant Experiment. Grant, a senior, ran the point with mixed success in Engin Atsur’s absence last season.

Lowe laughed this summer when it was suggested Grant get another turn at running the offense. But if Grant, Courtney Fells, Brandon Costner, Ben McCauley and J.J. Hickson represent State’s five best players, then they should be on the floor at the same time.


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07-08 Basketball

206 Responses to Tonight’s Big Game Evolves into Survival Mode (Updated 4:45pm)

  1. kevirose 12/27/2007 at 8:10 AM #

    Is this game only available on ESPNU(navailable)?

  2. BoKnowsNCS71 12/27/2007 at 8:22 AM #

    Yes. For those in Raleigh area with Time Warner that would be station 140 for viewing. Very available.

  3. kevirose 12/27/2007 at 8:24 AM #

    Thanks, not so available for those w/o cable though. Time for Javi to step it up! Or maybe we’ll get a nice surprise for Marques.

  4. Sweet jumper 12/27/2007 at 8:32 AM #

    I hope we make Larry Davis wish he had come here to take advantage of the opportunities that have presented at point guard both this year and last year.

  5. Stoner 12/27/2007 at 8:41 AM #

    I just hope we can limit turnovers. Seton Hall lives off of forcing turnovers. Get them in a half court game and make sure we take care of rebounding and we can win this game.

    I hope the last few minutes of the Cincy game is a better indication of what Javi can bring, because he probably wasn’t 100% after having surgery on his shooting hand in October.

  6. Sweet jumper 12/27/2007 at 8:55 AM #

    I hope Sid can settle Javi down. He tends to overdribble and is slow to get us into the offense. We need as much of the shot clock as possible to take advantage of our inside game and Ben’s passing ability. I do like Javi’s attitude and his hustle. He works hard and he should improve significantly with the game experience coming his way. His shot should also improve as his right thumb and right hand continue to strengthen from his recent surgery. MJ is a big unknown. I look forward to seeing what he can do. Oops, I’ll have to listen to what he can do since ESPNU is unavailable to me!

  7. Redblogger 12/27/2007 at 9:34 AM #

    Gavin Grant is pure entertainment every time he opens his mouth. I love it!

  8. wufpup76 12/27/2007 at 9:37 AM #

    make no mistake about it, we will be judged by the selection commitee primarily from tonight’s game forward … the first 10 games count, but after a significant injury it’s no secret that the commitee judges your team on a weighted scale (before / after injury)

    let’s hope javi and marques can continue to improve before we get to conference play … i don’t think we should “jump off the cliff” if we lose or look bad in tonight’s game … javi’s just gonna have to improve and the rest of the squad will have to adjust and pick up slack

    i like javi and he appears to be a true scrapper; his intensity and scrappy attitude on defense are great and only turning the ball over once the other night against that high pressure is extremely encouraging … i’ve been critical on many aspects of javi’s game, but am hoping to see improvement and wishfully thinking that his play prior to the cincy game was due to his injury/missing practice and freshman nerves

    also, go marques!

    i just hope for a solid performance tonight from the pg postion, win or lose … if we don’t turn the ball over i think that will be a great sign, b/c we can work on develop offensive effeciency if we’re not turning the ball over

    go pack!

  9. brando821 12/27/2007 at 9:39 AM #

    Don’t forget Sidney was a PG, he knows what each of our PGs can do. He’ll simplify the offense like he did last year. Javi and MJ should be able to dribble and move, which is more than Grant could do last year. The offense will be run more through Big Ben and Costner. I just wish we didn’t have to lose Degand for this to take place. oh yeah, and REBOUND!!!

  10. NCSU84 12/27/2007 at 11:17 AM #

    I agree with brando821. And let us not forget the other PG/Guard coaches who can help Javi adjust (Monte Towe, Justin Gainey, and Quentin Jackson). The coaching is there, the talent is there, we just need to put everything in sync. For all who crticize or have doubts about this team, let’s wait and see where we stand in March. And for the team, always remember:

    Never give up…Never ever give up.

  11. WTNY 12/27/2007 at 11:25 AM #

    Above all the frustration around Degand’s injury is that MJ is most likely forced into tonight’s game.

    IMO, Coach Lowe was planning on waiting until the relatively easier next 3 games (Western Carolina, Presbyterian, NCCU) to work MJ into the rotation. I believe he did not plan to play MJ in the Davidson/Cinnci/Seton Hall games due to the difficulty/importance of these games and the challenge of inserting a new player in a rotation.

  12. Sweet jumper 12/27/2007 at 11:35 AM #

    WTNY, Good point. You are probably right.

  13. Mr O 12/27/2007 at 11:55 AM #

    Anyone else expecting the worst tonight? I am not giving us much of a chance.

  14. Rochester 12/27/2007 at 12:10 PM #

    No offense to Degand, but it’s not like he was an All-American PG. He was coming along, but from what I saw in the Davidson game, we couldn’t get the ball inside for nothing. We did a lot of perimeter passing, and he had plays where he dribbled way too much. Javi may be raw, but if people are starting to write us off just because we lost Degand, my question is, how high did you see us finishing with him?

    I think this team will be fine. Maybe not the 4-loss season Gavin called for before it all started, but the squad will take a step forward. I know it’s frustrating to be a Pack fan sometimes, but stick with these kids. Javi will get better over time. When he gains his confidence I think we’ll be okay. And he should be here four years providing ever-steadier play. Everyone’s got to start somewhere.

  15. pakfanistan 12/27/2007 at 12:12 PM #

    I’m putting my blinders on and predicting a win by 10. In my reality, Courtney Fells wakes up and drops ~20 on Seton Hall. Then you combine that with Grant’s 18, Ben’s 13, Costner’s 15, Hickson’s 15, Horner’s 6 and Javi’s 5 and you’ve got yourself a W.

  16. Trip 12/27/2007 at 12:23 PM #

    Tonight will be decided on us getting 2 out of 3 of these factors.

    Javi/MJ not turning the ball over and setting up simple offense. Fancy stuff would be nice, MJ made a few really good passes in the red/white game but other than that, he’s a large unknown.
    Our bigs dominating. We’ve got a very large size advantage against this team, if our bigs turn on domination mode and fight for rebounds, we’ll fare well.
    Fells factor. If fells decides to show up tonight, it’ll be huge to make up for degand’s absence. He doesn’t have a hard defensive match up, they only have average-above average 3 point shooters, so I’m hoping he’ll put more effort on the other end of the court.

    I think if 2 of those 3 happen then we can squeak by with a win. If I had to pick one of them to happen tonight, I would want our bigs to dominate, if Costner is hitting his 3’s, Mccauley is being McNasty and Hickson shows his NBA body off, we could possibly win just based on that. I don’t think our guards can pull off domination mode yet,
    so just limiting turnovers will be the best thing they can do for us.

    Grant is still my favorite player, that quote is priceless.

  17. vtpackfan 12/27/2007 at 12:34 PM #

    IMO, we have to get the better of the Fells/Davis and GG/Laing match ups. I think the + of our bigs will negate the – of our pg situation (as long as the the TO’s don’t get out of hand).

    Degand was a six point, 2.5 assist man, and Javy was practically useless statistically through the first ten. So your asking Javy and MJ to be leaders and speak up, hustle, play defense with energy amd combine for atleast six points and 2.5 assist.

    It still may not be enough to win, but the Degand injury did not rewrite our fate. It’s a terrible outcome for Farnold as an individual and a teamate. He will be missed.

    This teams chance of playing well in ACC play clearly hinge on the talent and confidence exibited by the returning letter men and the blending of the new addition in the middle. We could double our assist per game if anyone could hit a jumper on a consistent basis.

  18. BJD95 12/27/2007 at 12:41 PM #

    I was nervous BEFORE I read that SH was a pressing team. I could see us losing by as many as 30-40 tonight.

    Interestingly, SH is only 88th in the Sagarin. We are 90th.

  19. Sweet jumper 12/27/2007 at 12:46 PM #

    Grant and Fells will have to continue to help with the press as they have the past 2 games. If we can handle the press with minimal turnovers and box out for rebounds, I think that our inside game, including slashing drives by Grant and Fells, will carry us to an important win.

  20. burnbarn 12/27/2007 at 12:55 PM #

    I am not expecting us to win as we rarely show up on the road in non conference games. It is amazing how this seems to span the years. Maybe it is just my perception.

    I like our chances tonight. I expect to see good mental toughness. I am worried about the press but we have ‘bigs’ that can handle the ball and we have been able to successfully mitigate a press this season. I doubt SH has a better press than we have seen so far this year, but I could be wrong as i know little about them.

    I see us breaking the press and then going into the half court. IF we can do that then we may frustrate them as their potential scoring will be held down. I should think we will be okay on the boards tonight due simply to our tremendous size advantage in the front court.
    I am not sure if the Hall has a player that we will need to play lock down defense on. This will be a nice change and may allow Fells to be more assertive offensively. They have no match up for GG.

    So the keys (for most any game)for us; hold on to the ball, rebound, hit foul shots. I like our chances of doing the above. Both of these teams do not seem to mind close games.

  21. pakfanistan 12/27/2007 at 12:55 PM #

    No way we’re losing this game by 30-40 points. If we lose, I say we lose by no more than 15. They’re not THAT good and we’ve been playing much better (we’re out of the realm of totally sucking) the last two games than we did the previous 8.

  22. Trip 12/27/2007 at 12:58 PM #

    I’m having to throw down 5$ so I can listen to this game via PackPass, Christmas in Florida makes watching the wolfpack difficult when your family doesn’t have ESPNUnavailable. I hope that 5$ goes toward fixing Degands knee.

    I believe MJ is solid enough to avoid turnovers if Javi caves to pressure, what i’m worried about with him is running our offense. From what I saw in the red/white game he can handle court pressure, he’s got a lot of size on him in comparison to most guards and backs into defenders much like Atsur used to. As far as running the offense, lets take a moment and pray that they don’t practice zone.

  23. BJD95 12/27/2007 at 1:20 PM #

    The 30-40 margin could happen if we just implode against the press once we get significantly behind. I’m not saying that WILL happen, just that it’s a very distinct POSSIBILITY. Most of the team more or less laid down at Michigan State, and the margin would have easily been in that range if the Spartans were a higher scoring team.

  24. quad87 12/27/2007 at 1:24 PM #

    Based on the article, Degand has an assist for every 10 minutes he plays and Javi has one for every 12 minutes. So if each played a full 40 minute game, Degand would have four assists and Javi would have three. Not a huge difference obviously. I’m too lazy to look up the corresponding turnover numbers, but agree with others that these will most likely spell the difference between the two.

  25. WestCoast 12/27/2007 at 1:40 PM #

    We’re going to win tonight. This won’t be the same team we saw at ECTC. Even without Degand. Afterall, Grant can play point…

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