NC State +21 @ UNC-CH (Updated 9:30am)

Grasping for something to hope for stat of the day — Despite being grossly overmatched in talent, UNC-CH only scored six more points than NC State in head-to-head competition in the five halves that Coach Sidney Lowe was on the NC State sidelines wearing the red blazer last season.

9:00am Lead-in comments
Poor, poor JJ Hickson.

The leading candidate for the Atlantic Coast Conference’s rookie of the year has played in fourteen college basketball games, including three games against very physical teams from the Big East. Through these 14 games Hickson has yet to encounter one ounce of anything that resembles foul trouble.

Then again Hickson has never played a basketball game in Chapel Hill or tried to process oxygen anywhere near everyone’s All-American, “Psycho T”.

Here’s to an extra prayer of good luck that Hickson isn’t on the bench with three fouls ten minutes into today’s game while the bull in the china shop isn’t allowed to beat the hell out of everyone wearing red today.

9:15am Quick Preview
A friend asked me this week what I expected the betting line to be for today’s game. I said:

I expect it to be about 15 points…but, if anyone has actually watched NC State play then it should be 20 or more.

I guess some people in Vegas have watched the Wolfpack this year because the line started at twenty-one points.

Obviously these two teams enter today’s game with very different perspectives of the first half of their seasons. But, today marks the beginning of a ‘new season’ for everyone.

If you want a GREAT preview of today’s State @ Carolina game (as well as the other ACC games today) then you can click here for ACCNow’s video podcast.

Additionally, WRAL-TV continues to elevate their online presence with graphics and good content like this tale of the tape. We are also including their video chat below.

Our Take
I honestly look at today’s game with Carolina as an absolute cannot lose situation.

First, we are playing a road game at a Top 5 RPI team. Whether we win or lose by 100 points our RPI will improve significantly just for stepping on the court. Obviously, and upset win would propel this team into every NCAA Tournament projection bracket in the country and would serve to help most people forget about the Wolfpack’s early season struggles.

But, those early season struggles and the Wolfpack’s tendency to play down to competition without needed intensity maybe exactly why NC State needs to be embarrassed and beaten by 25+ points. We all know that the relaxed, lackadaisical attitude that accompanies so much of what NC State does on the court will not get this team through the ACC’s regular season; but, does the team really understand this?

If NC State is going to lose at Carolina anyway, then I wouldn’t pick a better time to get smoked in Chapel Hill than the first ACC game of the year. Perhaps such a bloodletting would happen early enough in the season to spark a change in these guys with enough time to positively impact our season.

And, if we somehow don’t get destroyed today…well, maybe these guys are closer than most of the media and Wolfpack nation believe. That wouldn’t be so bad.