Denial Runs Deep at NC State

I didn’t expect to get even madder when I read the sports page this morning. But then I read these quotes from Ben McCauley:

“It may seem like it but we’re still trying to [win],” junior forward Ben McCauley said. “We’re definitely trying to.

“I don’t think we’ve forgotten how to win [but] I think we’re kind of one step behind. We’re almost there.”

Almost there? Are you fucking kidding me? The last place team, the team who was winless against non-Boston College ACC foes, was beating you by 27 early in the second half. Maybe there’s a new meaning for “almost” that I just haven’t heard of yet.

How do we get out of this mess? Pretty simple, says Big Ben:

“We have to win these last three games and do very well in the ACC Tournament,” McCauley said. “If not win it, get to the finals and hope for the best. But we can’t think about the ACC Tournament right now. We got to win these last three games.”

How about a manageable goal – like showing up ready and fucking willing to play hard for a full 40 minutes. Just once. Then talk about how motivated everyone will be in the offseason to work hard, get in shape, and make sure they never have to suffer such humiliation ever again. Forget the NCAAT, NC State is on the outside of the NIT bubble right now. There’s nobody on the NCAAT selection committee even thinking about NC State.

This team and this coach continue to act like there are no major, systemic problems with the lousy product they are putting on the court. Like there is some magic switch that will flip, and NC State will get “hot” just like every opponent magically seems to do against NC State.

Here’s a hint – they are outworking you. It started with offseason workouts and fall practice, and continued through yesterday’s shoot-around. From the game recap thread, here’s what SFN commenter WolftownVA81 saw yesterday:

Being at the game today, I’ll offer my few observations. We got there when the doors openned 1-1/2 hours before game time so we got to see the shoot arounds, warmups and stretches. We had good seats on row A at the 300 level just behind the NCSU basket so we had a good view.

1. Our guys were not taking the shoot around serious. They were laughing and having a good time while most of their shots bricked.

2. The UVA players were all business and were making most of their shots. At one point my wife commented UVA had made 10 or 12 in a row from the 3 pt. line and we’re going get killed today.

3. When stretch time came, it was more go through the motions. We have players that can’t or won’t touch their toes.

The first step to recovery is recognizing that you have a problem. I see no evidence that anyone associated with the basketball program really gets that. Like I said a few days ago, maybe losing out and having no post-season will finally hammer the message home.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

07-08 Basketball NCS Basketball Quotes of Note

243 Responses to Denial Runs Deep at NC State

  1. Noah 02/25/2008 at 11:14 AM #

    In the ACC, anything less than an all-out effort is always going to be met with a blowout.

    That’s incredibly disturbing.

  2. statered 02/25/2008 at 11:15 AM #

    From the previous thread…

    Noah – that is too bad you can’t get into specifics. I knew it must have been something personal. I have met Sid three times as well and he was always nice and outgoing. Some folks have a big problem with him becuase of his son. Others quite frankly have a problem with the fact that his is a black guy and therefore subscribe to the steroetypes that can go along with it (I’m sure he gets up before noon everyday!…but he was friends with Rasheed!).

    Without specifics I can only judge based on bball. From there I see a crappy assemblege of talent trying to run a style of play that does not all together suit them. I also see a team that does not give consistent effort. That all to me is a combination of situation/circumstance (Herb leaving when he did, roster Sid inherited) and coaching.

    Having talent makes up for a lot as far as coaching goes. Just look at Calipari.

  3. Noah 02/25/2008 at 11:18 AM #

    I’m fine with Lowe’s skin color. He has my sympathies about the thing with his son. I don’t have kids, so I can’t talk about that stuff.

    Hell, I don’t like Lowe, but if he could coach I wouldn’t care if he was the biggest jerk in the world. It’s not like we have to work together. I have no doubt that Calipari is a jerk, but I’d take him.

    It all just feeds into a bigger picture.

  4. Rick 02/25/2008 at 11:23 AM #

    This year is the pits.

    I told my wife there is no way my son is growing up a State fan. There are not any ups to go with all of the downs.
    I imagine I will change my mind in the future but right now…

  5. Stoner 02/25/2008 at 11:24 AM #

    continued through yesterday’s shoot-around

    I went to the Drexel NIT game last year and got there early enough to see the shoot around. The Drexel gym only seats 2500 or so and I even got a chance to say “hi” to a couple of players and bumped into Towe and Strickland, in the hall way, on the way back from the bathroom.

    The team was loose early on and just putting up shots and getting warmed up. Then they had to go for a team meeting they were all very serious about getting there and seemed to have a lot of respect for Lowe & Co. Then stretching and drills. The team was very serious during the drills. Saw Atsur “coach up” Ferguson a bit on a drill, where one player is pressuring the other, while they try and bring the ball up the court.

    If they are slacking off now, I don’t know why. It didn’t seem to be the case last year.

  6. wfpk99 02/25/2008 at 11:27 AM #

    Agreed, Noah. How many of us were watching the Memphis-Tennessee game, seeing both sidelines, and daydreaming of “what might have been”? The funny thing is that the score ended up being about the same as a lot of our games this year, it was really sloppy at times, but there was never a question of either teams’ efforts.

    For the rest of the season, I have traded in my red (if we don’t really have a team, it’s not “abandoning” is it?) for pastel orange and a string of “Pearl”s. Go Rocky Top!

  7. Rochester 02/25/2008 at 11:27 AM #

    If it boils down to a lackadaisical attitude from the coaching staff (allowing the guys to screw around instead of demanding perfection in practice and effort at all times), that’s going to be almost impossible to turn around without changes to the coaching staff. It’s hard for the same guy(s) to go from good cop to bad cop. We need bad cop to bust out the billy club and get these guys in shape. And then teach them how to actually play team basketball. Almost like a less psycho and younger version of Bobby Knight.

  8. wfpk99 02/25/2008 at 11:28 AM #

    And by the way, BJD95, spot on!

  9. Rick 02/25/2008 at 11:29 AM #

    Also, if no one thinks there is a problem or if they think it is just a minor tweak then there is no way anything gets fixed this year and probably not next year.
    There are major changes that need to take place in the way we run things.

  10. CStanley 02/25/2008 at 11:29 AM #

    I really fear that Lowe is way, way in over his head with this team. I thought at the minimum, we’d have a team that worked hard but may not win every game.

    Looks like we have a team, undisciplined, unwilling to work their ass off, and just plain dumb. That will get you fired quick as a head coach.

  11. Par Shooter 02/25/2008 at 11:38 AM #

    Unfortunately I have talked to other folks (including BOT-level folks) who formed a similar impression of Lowe even before this season started. I’ve only met Sid once and never really talked to him so I haven’t formed a personal opinion but others certainly have.

  12. Texpack 02/25/2008 at 11:40 AM #

    The fact that anyone on the team could talk to the press without saying they were embarrassed by their performance on Sunday is disturbing. They don’t have a picture of what kind of effort and focus it is going to take to win in the ACC.

  13. travelwolf 02/25/2008 at 11:40 AM #

    In all my history of following ACC B-Ball, I’ve never seen a team with as much talent as we have disintegrate. The closest is what happened to Duke the year that Coach K. was out with a back problem. For Duke, the problem wasn’t the players, it was the coach. The next year when K. was able to coach again, they came right back to the top of the conference. I believe Duke went 16-10 that down year – and was still much better than we are right now. I’m not sure what it means, but I’m interested in seeing if/how we get out of this. But, damn it’s painful.

  14. 44legend 02/25/2008 at 11:42 AM #

    i got nuthin

  15. choppack1 02/25/2008 at 11:45 AM #

    Par Shooter – What does this mean?
    “I have talked to other folks (including BOT-level folks) who formed a similar impression of Lowe even before this season started.”

  16. wolfpackpassion 02/25/2008 at 11:48 AM #

    e-mail from adam gold
    “has this team quit? honestly in some games yes!”
    they are terrible defensively and were last year and offensively they are not that good!”

    I think that sums it up!

  17. Rochester 02/25/2008 at 11:51 AM #

    If we finish on an 0-9 run, how will Sid recruit anyone? “Come to NC State, we’ll let you work however hard you feel like. You don’t even need to feel bad after we lose to the last place team in the conference.” I’m not sure that pitch will hit home with many guys out there.

  18. RBCRowdy 02/25/2008 at 11:59 AM #

    Unless we pull a New Jersey Institute of Technology season next year, Coach Lowe is going to be around until the end of the ’10 season. Anything sooner would appear to be a knee-jerk reaction that would keep most suitable replacements away. I suggest adopting a team for a couple years like Wfpk99.

  19. Mr O 02/25/2008 at 12:09 PM #

    The kids are interviewed, they don’t really know what to say. It doesn’t really matter either. The season was lost before it ever started and Ben McCauley carring 15-25 lbs too much is this season in a nutshell. Ben’s lack of quickness had made him ineffective in the post.

  20. pack80 02/25/2008 at 12:11 PM #

    Amen BJD95. Just one game,ONE GAME, this year play hard and with heart for a full 40 minutes. That should be the only focus right now. With FSU, Dick, and Wake left if we don’t show something more then the fat lady has left the building.

  21. old13 02/25/2008 at 12:13 PM #

    I’m sure that Jim, Lee and Tom are just tickled pink that Wolfpack athletics continues to be downgraded!

  22. packof81 02/25/2008 at 12:15 PM #

    Texpack said, “The fact that anyone on the team could talk to the press without saying they were embarrassed by their performance on Sunday is disturbing.”

    Yes it is. It demonstrates a complete disconnect. I just stare in slack jawed disbelief every time I see one of them on TV talking to the reporters. They seem to be on another planet. Ditto for Sid. He has yet to acknowledge that this team has hit bottom and started to dig.

    If this trend continues, they’ll be one and done in the ACC tournament.

  23. Par Shooter 02/25/2008 at 12:18 PM #

    Cocktail party conversation from the fall. I observed that the “powers that be” should be happy with our coaches in both major sports and the gentleman said “we are definitely happy with TOB, we’ll see about Sidney”. It seemed odd since the season hadn’t started yet and this was a time when most were pretty high on basketball based on last season’s end and this season’s expectations. I just sorta filed it away but it keeps popping into my head when I read stuff like what Noah posted and what was on sfn earlier about offseason deficiencies. I think folks close to the program (that does not include me) had reason for serious concern before the Barton game.

  24. militarypack 02/25/2008 at 12:20 PM #

    BJD95 your article is right on target until your last paragraph. I can’t support your thought that a disaster of a regular season and no post-season play will hammer anything home to a team that is this deep in denial! We’ve been looking for the wakeup calls all season–losses to ECU and UNO, close games with below average opponents,30+ point blowout to UNC. Fundamentals, focus, mental toughness are absent with this team. If you’re not taking shoot-arounds seriously, there’s only one to blame: the coaching staff. The coaching staff has NO idea how to motivate a team when its down. When they’re down,they run back to the bench and sulk like children. To all the SL supporters who say you have to give him sufficient time to develop his style and recruit his players, I say you can recruit a team of McDonald’s all-americans and it won’t matter if the coaches can’t coach. I’m affraid to say but the foundation of a good coaching staff seems to be missing at NC State right now and while I don’t see any change in the near future, I don’t think another year is going to help.

  25. militarypack 02/25/2008 at 12:34 PM #

    UNC had no problem pulling the plug on Matt Dougherty after 3 seasons and who did they hire afterwards? I know we’re not the attraction that UNC is but if next year is anywhere close to the disaster this season is turning out to be, I don’t think there’s any way you can hang your hat on this coaching staff.

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