0–4 Out of Conference puts Pack in a bind

In the previous four years of Sidney Lowe’s guidance, NC State’s Basketball team has proven an ability to win tough out of conference games whether played in the RBC Center or on the road –  Villanova, Cincinnati, Davidson, Seton Hall, Marquette, others.   Unfortunately…that didn’t happen for the Wolfpack this year and we now find ourselves in a competitive position that some could describe as ‘behind the 8-ball’ or even as bad as ‘up the creek’.

I recognize that the quality of your wins is a major factor in NCAA Tournament invitations and seeding.  But before the season began I carved away some specifics and took a  general look at the Wolfpack’s Basketball Schedule. 

With 30 games on the schedule before the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, the Wolfpack plays 14 out of conference games because of the three tournament games in the Charleston Classic.  “EYEBALLING” the schedule, one would think that 20 regular season wins would be a recipe for an almost guaranteed spot in the NCAA Tournament; with 18 pre-ACC Tournament wins serving to place the Wolfpack on the weaker side of the proverbial NCAA Tournament bubble.  Now that we know that the ACC is weaker than we had originally hoped, I don’t think 18 wins could get the Wolfpack into the big dance unless we performed decently well against our four decent out of conference opponents — Cue Captain Obvious – we didn’t.

As you can see from the table below



Let’s presume for a moment that Wolfpack could (miraculously) achieve an 8-8 record against one of the more difficult ACC schedule’s and use this as a foundation of our an assumption set.  (Obviously, any conference performance that varies from this peg will play a role in impacting NC State’s NCAA Tournament resume.)   This would mean State would needed to generate a minimum of an 11-3 record against non-conference opponents to ‘be  the discussion’ in March.  A 12-2 record against the 7th toughest OOC schedule in America coupled with an 8-8 ACC record would have appeared to create safe haven and probable Top 8 NCAA Tournament regional seed for the Wolfpack.  That isn’t going to happen.

  • As you can see from the table, NC State has ten OOC match-ups that are ‘hold serve games’ and should result in wins.  Any stumbles against these foes, ala East Carolina a couple of years ago, could be deadly for the Wolfpack’s season (and could intellectually be argued to be deadly to Sidney Lowe’s coaching career as you extrapolate the potential impact of such a loss to the Wolfpack’s season).

  • This leaves four ‘swing games’ that will play a defining role in the Wolfpack’s quest for success this season.  We have highlighted those four games in the table above – Georgetown, @ Wisconsin, @ Syracuse, and Arizona.  As we now know…the Wolfpack whiffed on this and now are in a lot of trouble.

  • Just a single victory against that^ subset of opponents was an absolute must and would have gotten the Wolfpack to a minimum of 11-3 to be on squeeking onto the NCAA Tournament bubble with an 8-8 record in the ACC. 

As I see it today, a 9-7 record in the ACC is a necessary to fit ourselves squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

As most everyone sees it today, based on our our uninspired play to this point of the season, that scenario is shaping up to be a pipedream.

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10-11 Basketball Sidney Lowe

108 Responses to 0–4 Out of Conference puts Pack in a bind

  1. Prowling Woofie 12/20/2010 at 11:09 AM #

    Where is Uncle Jed ? I want to kick his ass all over again !

  2. rtpack24 12/20/2010 at 11:16 AM #

    Very disappointing last night. Yes that we lost but more so in the way we played at both ends of the floor. Az ran wing pick and roll so many times I am sure Sean thought we would adjust and they would have to but we never did. They were shooting layups off halfcourt simple pick and roll. Hopefully we might turn it around but most of our problems are the same from the first four years.

  3. tjfoose1 12/20/2010 at 11:18 AM #

    I don’t think a buyout will be necessary. Sid has his coaching issues, but he loves NC State.

    He’ll choose to resign once faced with the inevitable, and DY will give him an appropriate parting compesation package.

  4. whitefang 12/20/2010 at 11:21 AM #

    I am betting Yow is all over this. I bet she is already sending out feelers to names on her short list. She knew coming in that absent a miracle, she was going to be looking for a basketball coach. Heck most of us knew that deep down inside. How could watch a Lowe coached team for this many years and not realize that?

  5. jamieinkorea 12/20/2010 at 11:21 AM #

    We will never be any good until J. Gonzalez is out of the line up. He is the reason we lose, go on ten minute scoreless streaks, and can’t find offense. Javi Gonzalez is the cancer that is killing the Wolfpack.

  6. PackHowler 12/20/2010 at 11:25 AM #

    “I was there last night and heard mainly “U OF A!!” raining down on me for most of the game. While one team whipped the ball around with authority, the other team handled the ball like it was a rotten potato… Fans around me left shaking their heads.”

    That pretty much sums it up. Arizona ran well-disciplined, quick offensive sets; State stood around like deer in the headlights. Arizona’s coach was screaming his lungs out at his players to get them into position with intensity; Lowe just whistles, waves, and hopes. If Arizona can get enough fans together to do one of their chants, I’m beginning to get worried about what some more local fanbases are going to bring come ACC play…

  7. Pack Mentality 12/20/2010 at 11:32 AM #

    Our crowd will suck, the other fans at our home will be louder and more passionate than the few State fans that are in attendance, and we will get our asses kicked.

  8. JEOH2 12/20/2010 at 11:33 AM #

    I think its ridiculous and simplistic to blame any individual player for a team losing…

    Placing blame on the guy whose only job is to direct and manage the team…now thats a different story…

  9. PackisRolling 12/20/2010 at 11:33 AM #

    “Lowe just whistles, waves, and hopes”

    that is exactly what Les did. sigh

  10. FullMoonRising 12/20/2010 at 11:33 AM #

    Has anything improved over Sidney Lowe’s tenure besides recruiting? Would he be willing to serve in such a role?

    Its been obvious since about half way through season two that our hero Sidney’s best years were nearly 3 decades ago.

  11. packfan03 12/20/2010 at 11:41 AM #

    I tend to agree with most of what has been said. I firmly believe we will improve as the season moves onward, but it’s impossible to stress how important yesterday’s game was and the giant egg we laid.

    It’s encouraging to see the rebounding margin, particularly on the offensive end. We didn’t help ourselves with our shooting percentage, at all.

    What’s concerning to me, is that we are still starting Javi. No disrespect to the kid, because I love his passion and fight, but as starting PG over the past three years he has yet to produce consistent results. I understand Harrow is fairly equal to Javi at the moment, but Lowe must realize that this is his last chance. If Harrow consistently sees 30 mins a game, we’ll be all the better once ACC play rolls around.

    Harrow, Brown, Wood, Leslie, and Howell, for the time. Our best lineup, our best chance to get off to a good start and win. Why Lowe insists on playing Vandy 10+ minutes a game is beyond comprehension.

  12. Wulfpack 12/20/2010 at 11:41 AM #

    Harrow had two critical turnovers back-to-back after we had cut it to 4. They led to 4 easy Arizona points. Ball game.
    I fail to see how you can put it on any one guy. Javi sucks, but so does just about everyone else. Wood is the only guy with any sense on this team right now. He’s our only threat. Shut him down, and anyone with a decent team will beat us. CJ Leslie is a trainwreck offensively. Howell, Painter and Vberg are woefully inconsistent and bad defensive players. Harrow and Lo Brown are still figuring out how to play at this high level. Eac have been good in spurts, but nothing consistent.

    I can’t in my right mind put it on 1 player or a crop of freshmen. It starts and ends with the coaching staff. They are failing miserably.

  13. bradleyb123 12/20/2010 at 11:41 AM #

    This may very well be Sid’s farewell tour. I’m not defending him, but I do think he deserves to finish out the season before we pull the plug. For me, he doesn’t get another year unless we make the dance. But for me, he does get the chance to do it. No more WTNY. It’s either this year or never.

  14. Pack Mentality 12/20/2010 at 11:49 AM #

    The losses compiled over the past 5 years don’t have a damn thing to do with the players. And if they did, recruiting is the coach’s job anyway.

  15. TheAliasTroll 12/20/2010 at 11:56 AM #

    What was really angering to watch was the entire team quit yesterday with a little over one minute left in the game. You could tell they had just completely given up.

  16. PackHowler 12/20/2010 at 11:59 AM #

    Isn’t it the coach’s responsibility to improve players’ skills so they can be more successful?

    Has Vandenburg improved over last year?
    Has CJ Williams improved over the past two years?
    Has Gonzalez improved over the past four years?*

    (*Probably, but he still isn’t an ACC-caliber point guard.)

  17. smfrank 12/20/2010 at 12:01 PM #

    Sidney Lowe seemed to forget the one thing he learned last year – put in a freakin base offense! Nothing complicated, no need to run the triangle or become Carnegie Melon genius – just something like the flex. I really think he calls his offense – “motion”. It’s more like dribble around like a turkey out of a cage and get a shot off. Scott Wood is the ONLY player they run off cuts and screens (Except an occasional play by CJW). I’m sorry, at the college level you need more than just a cross over to get good shots throughout the entire course of a game. At the end of last year when we went on our “run” – it coincided with Lowe running the flex to try to establish some sanity during the infamous scoring droughts. What happened?

  18. ShavlikLeague 12/20/2010 at 12:09 PM #

    We’ve all seen Javi commit critical turnovers and/or be the cause of huge point swings late in a game. At least Harrow has the excuse of only having the experience of 10 games under his belt.

    How many games does Javi have under his belt? 100+? Most of those as a starter? And he still sucks…heart, desire, yadda, yadda, yadda. Sorry, Javi, it’s not personal, it’s business. I’m going to say it again because it bears repeating:

    Who can name any other four year starters in the ACC (off the top of your head) that have been or are worse than Javi? No cheating…no Googling…off the top of your head. Anyone?

    Exactly. None. Play Harrow the majority of the game beginning yesterday.

  19. highstick 12/20/2010 at 12:17 PM #

    The Amy Grant and Vince Gill Christmas concert was great last night…Oops, did State play again?

  20. bradleyb123 12/20/2010 at 12:17 PM #

    Sid has this year to do something. The season is young. Let’s re-visit this topic at or near the end of the season. What’s the point in talking about this right now? We’re 0-0 in the ACC. At the end of the season, if our record is unacceptable, then we can talk about letting Sid go.

  21. TheAliasTroll 12/20/2010 at 12:20 PM #

    Agree, Harrow needs to play 40 minutes and 2 overtimes if required. He’s got tons more upside. I mean this kids got upside coming out of his backside. Let him play through the mistakes and allow him to get better.. this should have been done weeks ago, but you know how Lowe likes to prolong the development of players by benching them.

    Wouldn’t it have been great to have a Harrow who had been put through the fire for 40 minutes at GTown? A ridiculous talent who had true 10 game experience would have been useful last night.

  22. Pack Mentality 12/20/2010 at 12:22 PM #

    “The season is young.”

    No it is not. We have played our entire OOC schedule and have lost to every good team. Unacceptable.

  23. packfan03 12/20/2010 at 12:35 PM #


    My point was not that Harrow was leaps and bounds better than Javi. But it seems silly to have our second leading scorer (Harrow) on the bench for most of the game.

    Check out the kids assist-to-turnover ratio – I assure you it is better than Javi’s.

    My intent was not to “blame it on one guy”, as I realize we still may not have won these games. However, I don’t think there is a statistical reason for the assertion that Javi gives us a better shot. If someone can provide this, I’m willing to listen.

  24. Wulfpack 12/20/2010 at 12:36 PM #

    The team has had more than 2 months of practice. Some games against cream puffs and some against solid competition. The season is not young. We know where we are and it’s the same place as te previous 4 years. Unacceptable.

  25. packfan03 12/20/2010 at 12:39 PM #

    Again, I appreciate everything Javi has done for this program. I do not forget his fantastic performances against Duke and AZ last year. But loyalty is something you earn as far as minutes goes. He has been the “QB” of this team for two whole seasons and has not been able to produce the optimism, nor results, that warrant the playing time he receives.

    It would be entirely different if, even with the obvious talent discrepancy, we were somehow winning with him in the lineup. As a poster said, you simply cannot learn on the bench.

    I was shocked that Javi started against AZ after leading us to what can only be described as dreaded starts against USC Upstate and Youngstown.

    Those “pro-Javi” will surely point out that things against Youngstown didn’t improve with Harrow in the game (they sure as heck did improve against USC Upstate), with us in the hole, and that’s fair. That still doesn’t forgive the performance by Javi, and I believe should justify giving Harrow a chance to start the game.

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