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. BJD95 12/27/2007 at 1:45 PM #

    Quote from Gavin: “I ain’t no point guard.” BJD95 agrees.

  2. travelwolf 12/27/2007 at 2:14 PM #

    ^ some guy with a big gun said: “a man’s got to know his limitations”… it will be interesting to see MJ for the first time. Javi was definitely more of the pure point guard than degand, but it seems that he doesn’t have the quickness yet to play against the top point guards in college basketball. singletary will run circles around him. let’s hope MJ is as quick as Degand is. i’m hoping that at least it will be an interesting game – unlike vs. MSU. i wouldn’t be surprised to see the team rally for one win, but what will be more difficult will be rallying for the rest of the season. one stroke of luck is that we’ve got 3 “easy” games to ease MJ into the lineup and allow Javi to improve before 2nd season starts against Carolina. lowe is great at making adjustments given time, so i’ve got confidence that he’ll come up with an improvisation by the end of the season.

  3. Trip 12/27/2007 at 2:26 PM #

    We already know MJ is not as quick as Degand. He’s 6’5 210 pounds, it’s tough to be as quick as Degand when you’re packing 40 pounds more.

  4. tdawg 12/27/2007 at 2:37 PM #

    Lets just hope this doesn’t mean we’ll see Trevor Ferguson on the court again…

  5. TNCSU 12/27/2007 at 2:45 PM #

    ^^^^^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.

    I concur, but don’t forget about Assistant Coach, Pete Strickland. Justin and Quentin may be better known to most Wolfpackers, but Coach Strickland is an experienced D-1 Head Coach, and former PG for Morgan Wooten at DeMatha. He also left Pitt as their all-time assists leader (feeding the rock to Larry Harris). He’a a heckuva Coach!

    I think Javi will come along – as will Marques. Good teams have a way of overcoming and adapting. I think this team can do that. Javi will continue to improve with every game, and it should be a fun season to watch unfold!

  6. zahadum 12/27/2007 at 2:53 PM #

    I’m cautiously optimistic of a win tonight for two reasons.

    One, we present some major matchup problems for them.

    Two, with the sole exception of their win over Virginia, Seton Hall hasn’t shown any evidence of being a good team. Of their other seven wins, 5 of them were against teams with losing records and the other 2 were by 2 points against James Madison in OT and by 4 against Robert Morris in OT. They even had to go to OT to beat 2-9 Monmouth.

  7. TNCSU 12/27/2007 at 3:11 PM #

    ^^I concur zahadum….

    This leads me to beg the question to BJD95…”Why in the world do you see a 30-40 point loss as a “possibility?”. If you use “possible” as the definitive term, then it’s possible that a meteor would hit the earth tonight, and we’d all be toast. Seriously, I’m just interested to know why you would be that “down” on this team right now…I just wonder if the possibility is the same as the “we’ll be down by 23 at halftime to Louisville” prediction this Fall. I’ll admit I’m a half-full type guy, and I don’t mind criticizing when I deem it necessary, but no way I think we lose by 30+ points. I actually think we are by far the better team, and taking into account the homecourt advantage, I would still wager (friendly) that the Pack squeaks out a win tonight. I would definitely take the Pack and 20+ points (if anyone would be willing to offer it!)

  8. vtpackfan 12/27/2007 at 3:15 PM #

    “but it seems that he doesn’t have the quickness yet to play against the top point guards in college basketball.”

    That is probably the case, but it will be interesting to see how he plays tonight as “the guy”. So far quickness hasn’t been as much as an issue as confidence and being in synch.

    Let’s hope that some of that was him being nervous that as the guy off the bench he had little room for error or else he would be yanked right back out (some beleive this was the case even with McAuley).

    Now that he may perceive a little more leash from the staff he may become more relaxed and take some pressure of himself. Talk about your wishful thinking during the new year, which by the way I hope everyone has a safe and pleasant one.

  9. Redblogger 12/27/2007 at 3:29 PM #

    The Wise guys in Vegas have SH by 2.5 to 3.0

  10. pakfanistan 12/27/2007 at 3:29 PM #

    Just remember that “Alone Jazz Giver” is an anagram of Javier Gonzalez. I take this to mean that only Javier can “jazz” up our offense, giving us the win we so deperately crave.

    Or something.

  11. GAWolf 12/27/2007 at 3:37 PM #

    It’s the very rare occasion that I do anything BUT expect the worst out of a Wolfpack team. After years of setting myself up for disappointment by buying our own self-inflicted unreal expectations through our fans uncanny ablity to hype a team unworthy of it, I have learned the valuable and difficult lesson to plan for the worst when watching Pack sports. It’s nice to be pleasantly surprised on a occasion as opposed to fealing defeated and swindled.

    HOnestly, I don’t have any worse feeling about this game because of the injury than I would without the injury to Degand. I’m not saying we won’t miss Degand, but the level of play at the point has been so poor for everyone I just don’t see it making a huge difference. Watching how ugly the last few games have been with Degand and how getting the ball across half court on offense is almost always an adventure, I don’t really see this changing my hope or lack of hope for us finding a way to win tonight or throughout the rest of the year.

    In my eyes, Marques can’t be any worse and it will be interesting to see how he handles the opportunity.

    (During the Cincy game I was putting together a post of the shortcomings of the point position for both guys and decided to delete it when Degand got injured. I wish him the best in his recovery and look forward to having him back with the team.)

  12. vtpackfan 12/27/2007 at 3:48 PM #

    ^Nice Pakfan. I hope you are really good at that sort of thing and didn’t spend too much time on it.

  13. Girlfriend in a Coma 12/27/2007 at 3:56 PM #

    “but it seems that he doesn’t have the quickness yet to play against the top point guards in college basketball.”

    Who does have the quickness to stay with the top point guards in college basketball?

  14. bTHEredterror 12/27/2007 at 3:59 PM #

    They are small and quick, and in Sendek’s last season they absolutely flat-blasted us in RBC. Only Gavin played significant minutes, but Fells, MCCauley and Costner were on the team and i expect they recall the game. Costner and Horner will be playing in front of family and friends in a homecoming atmosphere. I think they have no answer for our bigs.

    Adversity is always gonna come, its how you react to it. I saw Javi try to lead when Degand went down. He certainly needs some polish, but I was encouraged by his attitude.

    Most of the teams we have played have employed a 2-2-1 (or 2-1-2) zone press, which we have used our ballhandlers to break with increasing efficiency. While Gavin is no point guard, he handles well for a 6-8 forward. It’s the minutes when Javi rests that I’m worried most about. But I think our guys will respond and we win this game by 10-15 points.

  15. BJD95 12/27/2007 at 4:01 PM #

    Quote from earlier in the thread: “Good teams have a way of overcoming and adapting.”

    That’s true, but I’ve seen NO evidence that we are a good team. We might be a good team by the end of the year, but we certainly aren’t now.

    I didn’t say that a 30-40 point loss would be “possible” – I said “distinct possibility.” To elaborate, not a probability, but something that very realistically could happen, and would not be a surprise to me. However, I have to admire anyone who can be a Wolfpack fan for any length of time and consider themselves “glass half-full.” Not only do I see the glass as half-empty, I expect it to contain piss instead of water. That’s 30+ years of NC State fan experience coming through.

    I watched the Davidson game from a good vantage point to see the whole court (first row of upper deck, center court – right by cameraman). Two things really struck me: 1) our transition offense is nothing short of horrid; and 2) Degand ran the offense better than Javi, by a factor of about 10.

    However, like I said in the injury thread, the team could really come together in a “backs against the wall” kind of way, and play really well, at least in the short term (like we did after Atsur got hurt against Michigan last year). And unlike last year, we do have backup options – so long-term success is not out of the question.

  16. cpwolfpackfan 12/27/2007 at 4:07 PM #

    If our program is going to take the next step in becoming a national factor then games like tonight are a must win. We have to be able to beat middle of the road major conference teams weather it is at home or on the road, with starting point guard or not. I think a win tonight would go a long way with helping this team stay positive. It would also take the bad tast still left in our mouths from the uno and ecu games. I hope we pull it off and for some reason I think we will, I like javy and think he will get the job done. BIG men step it up tonight and hit the boards hard..

  17. zahadum 12/27/2007 at 4:27 PM #

    You guys are reminding me of an old Ernest Hemingway line: “Never fall in love with a boxer, cause he’ll be sure to break your heart.” Ernest should have tried being a Wolfpack fan for a while.

    As far as tonight’s game, I’ll make what might seem like a bizarre semi-prediction, which is that I’d actually like for them to try and play zone against us. If they do, it should turn into a dunk-a-thon, because we should be able to just throw over the top of it. Always assuming we can actually get the ball past half-court, of course.

  18. charger17 12/27/2007 at 4:34 PM #

    If anyone wants to listen to the game for free, try They have a 30-day free trial and they are covering the game tonight on channel 192! I haven’t used it, but it is free!

  19. Texpack 12/27/2007 at 4:36 PM #

    I remember standing in the doorway of the room across the hall from me in Owen Dorm the afternoon after Whittenburg broke his foot against UVa. I thought that season was lost. Our best perimeter scorer was gone with a short 3-pt line in play for the ACC season. As I recall that season worked out ok.

    In the recent past when we had injuries HWSNBN was running a system that required 1-2 years to learn in order to contribute. I also doubt he handled the injury situations in the same emotional vein that Sidney will. He will make this team believe and like last year he will make them better as the season rolls along. All we really need at the point is Trent Dilfer, someone to manage the game and not turn the ball over. We don’t need a playmaker. Javi will be solid by the end on January. Everyone else has to do everything they can to preserve our possessions and not waste them foolishly until he gets into a comfort zone.

  20. TNCSU 12/27/2007 at 4:50 PM #

    I’ve mentioned before that I thought Javi would be starting by January — the injury has sped that up, but I still think he’s the better “floor manager.” He just seems to play with heart, and he’s seems like a scrappy, floor leader. Did you see the assist to JJ at the end of the Cincy game? I guess it’s just a gut feeling, but I just think he’ll turn out to be a good ball player. Not to compare, but for some reason, he just reminds me of Corch a little bit. With that “glass half-full” comment, I’m looking forward to tonight, but NO, I don’t expect Javi to play like Corch!

  21. Trip 12/27/2007 at 5:12 PM #

    Dangit Charger, I have a XM subscription, if I had known that earlier I wouldn’t have put 5$ down for a month subscription to packpass audio, lol.


    I consider myself a glass-half-full guy with Wolfpack sports, if you haven’t been able to tell by my posts here in the last few weeks. It’s probably easier for me to do this because I’ve only been a fan for 8 years or so. I’m currently in my senior year at State, and overall the attitude about sports is positive, but realistic among students. We were crushed more by the ECU loss than the NO loss, because everyone knows that early season meltdowns happen, but a loss to ECU was inexcusable. Sidney is well liked around campus, and we’re willing to give him another season to get things together.

    I’m going to throw out a 8 point win for the wolfpack with scoring in the 70s, I think our bigs are simply going to dominate this game. Javi will play a solid low-turnover game, but only be barely effective at setting up offense. MJ is going to have some chemistry issues which will probably create a few turnovers, but overall a good game for him.

  22. GAWolf 12/27/2007 at 5:55 PM #

    While Degand might have “run the offense” better (still not totally sure what that means since every guy the floor is supposedly “running the offense”, he was TERRIBLE at penetrating and finding an open man. EVERY SINGLE TIME he opted to drive he threw up a terrible, out-of-control, and often contested prayer of a shot that hasn’t fallen for a Pack player since maybe it was heaved up by Ishua Benjamin. Both Javi and Fernold made horrific turnovers for a pointguard throughout the last few games. However, I do think Javi has the ability to improvise on penetration and find an open man. That alone, in my eyes, offers more of what we need AGAIN assuming our entire team knows how to “run the offense.” When we’re facing the zone and can’t hit the open three, SOMEONE needs to be able to penetrate and dish. I see our team doing well against Man D’s regardless… assuming we can get the ball over half court and at least attempt to play whatever offense our guys are able to put together.

  23. wolfpack n da house 12/27/2007 at 5:58 PM #

    One thing that has been fun over the past years as a basketball fan is our lack of expectations. That doesnt sound fun but it is fun because it doesnt hurt to lose and the wins are so much sweeter. Though it is fun to have low expectations of a team this year we cannot trick ourselves into believing we are bad. Sure we haven’t looked good so far but this year, the potential to come together and make a big time tournament run is there. Do not give up on this team. i could see the team peaking at the end of the year so lets show that we do have high expectations of this team.

  24. Astral Rain2 12/27/2007 at 6:01 PM #

    Part of me thinks it’s going to be ok in the end. One year away is one year away.

  25. redfred2 12/27/2007 at 6:38 PM #

    “the Wolfpack is starting a new season tonight in light of Farnold Degand’s injury.”

    Damnit, I wanted to say that, but ACCNow beat me to it.

    Maybe I’m a dreamer but I’m thinking that sometimes athletes play better when they know they’re “THE” quarterback, or “THE” point guard. I’m not saying that Javi won’t have to worry about MJ ‘possibly’ stepping into the PG position later on, but right now Gonzales has the minutes and the experience, such as it is, and I think he’ll asked to carry the load at least for now. Also, in the last few minutes of the Cincy game Gonzales did just what I’m talking about, he took the reins and played as if he was “THE” Wolfpack point guard. He also made one the best dishes I’ve seen this season.

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