Will Tracy Smith help the Wolfpack’s scoring droughts?

Last week we discussed how much the Wolfpack is ‘Missing Tracy Smith’.  Today, the N&O gave us an update on the Pack’s wait for Tracy’s return.

Still, Smith has yet to return, though coaches thought he may have played limited minutes on Thursday. Smith practiced with the team earlier in the week, but soreness in his knee prevented him from finishing practice.

N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe said the plan was for the forward to return on Thursday before the game against Arizona on Sunday.

"I was hoping that he was going to be ready to get some minutes [Thursday]," Lowe said. "I was optimistic early, now I don’t know. It’s a little disappointing because we thought we were going to have him back. I’m sure he’s frustrated with it as well."

It is impossible to argue that Smith’s absence has not had a negative impact on the Wolfpack’s offensive efficiency – or should I say lack thereof – to this point in the season.

To that point, The ACC Sports Journal profiled NC State’s scoring droughts in this article.

While the Wolfpack is improved in the open court and often pulls the trigger in half-court sets more quickly than in the past, it has struggled against its most difficult foes. As for those droughts, they’ve returned in an ugly and most untimely manner.

An affliction that predates Lowe’s arrival in 2006, lengthy scoreless periods are still a problem for the program. Chalk it up to youth and not having power forward Tracy Smith for most of the early games, but this year’s gulfs had the same look and feel of previous struggles, perhaps indicating that the problem may be more difficult to fix than it appears on the surface.

The Pack actually led Georgetown 44-42 with 16:30 remaining in a tournament in Charleston, S.C., but then failed to score for nearly five minutes while the Hoyas ran off 15 consecutive points. In all, Georgetown’s 40-19 run spanned almost the rest of the game, and the 82-67 loss should have served as a lesson for the Wolfpack.

Two weeks later, State saw Wisconsin go on a 32-10 run to take a 44-21 halftime lead in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. State failed to score over the final 6:40 of the first half and eventually lost by 39.

A few days later, the Wolfpack led at Syracuse 53-47 with 11:46 left but lost 65-59. State scored three points over the final 9:46, including being blanked over the final 5:20.

Poor shot selection and turnovers plagued NCSU in each of those situations, and even with the improved overall effort and performance at Syracuse, that old problem resurfacing was too much to overcome.

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18 Responses to Will Tracy Smith help the Wolfpack’s scoring droughts?

  1. fullmoon1 12/18/2010 at 3:20 PM #

    Will he help-yes. Will that stop and solve scoring droughts -no.

  2. turfpack 12/18/2010 at 3:44 PM #

    Yes it will help….if they can get him the ball……but I am more concerned about leadership on the team and OFF THE COURT. Mental toughness can be taught by demanding excellence from your player…is that being taught….I don’t see it….but it is alot harder today to teach it…..just saying…………….

  3. 61Packer 12/18/2010 at 3:47 PM #

    State will be better with Tracy Smith back in the lineup, but they’ll continue to be a lousy program.

    When you are faced with a make-or-break home OOC game before Christmas, against an unranked opponent no less, one player’s presence or absence isn’t going to change a whole lot of things. There are way too many other things going on besides scoring droughts.

    Even without Smith we aren’t lacking adequate talent. What we’re lacking is a competent Division One level coaching staff. That’s been painfully obvious for over four seasons, and Smith or no Smith won’t make any difference.

  4. phillypacker 12/18/2010 at 4:13 PM #

    Beg to differ. Even with the stellar recruiting class Lowe et al brought in, it is too early to expect them to be gelling as a competitive team against top 20 competition. I was embarrassed by the Wisconsin game. And greatly encouraged by the Syracuse game. These guys will click within 6-7 weeks. Much earlier I hope. I’m betting they win more than they lose in conference and a lot of these comments will look premature. I would by no means call the basketball team a “lousy program.”

    “Lousy program?,” We have 80/90 % of our on court talent (Harrow, Brown, Wood, Leslie, Howell, Painter) as freshmen + a few sophomores and carry a 6-3 record and losses to very strong, top 20 teams, That doesn’t seem like a “lousy program” to me. Come back in late January. Am I writing off the season? Absolutely not. I believe this season will be, overall, a very enjoyable one.

  5. Rick 12/18/2010 at 4:20 PM #

    “Even with the stellar recruiting class Lowe et al brought in, it is too early to expect them to be gelling as a competitive team against top 20 competition”

    Who is asking for that? I think consistent effort and scoring more than 5 points in ten minutes against a scrub team is hardly expecting too much. If this is to be an enjoyable season we will need to learn how to play defense, rebound and give consistent sustained effort. Something I have not seen in SL’s tenure.

  6. JeremyH 12/18/2010 at 4:45 PM #

    phillypacker, I like what you’re saying, but as Rick alluded to, its really frustrating when it appears that the fundamentals of positioning/movement on both sides of the court, as well as that “40 minutes of effort” thing, just is not coming across as taught->learned in what we’ve seeing on the court.

    This was supposed to be the year that we broke out, not moped out.

  7. Clarksa 12/18/2010 at 4:46 PM #

    “one player’s presence or absence isn’t going to change a whole lot of things.”

    You don’t think Tracy playing in last years AZ game would have made a difference? You don’t think a player with 1st Team ACC ability would change a lot of things? You don’t think our best player and top scorer would change a lot of things? It’s not “just one player,” it is Tracy Smith.

    I’m not saying we would be undefeated with Tracy, we probably would have the same record or maybe a win against the Cuse. However, the focal point of the offense and the focal point of the opposing teams defense is completely different without Tracy on the court.

  8. 61Packer 12/18/2010 at 6:01 PM #

    If Tracy Smith was a future NBA first round pick, yeah, it would be a huge deal to have him out.

    My point is that in year five of Lowe and Company the teams continue to be very undisciplined and at times unmotivated. There is a lack of leadership on the floor and fundamentals are woefully lacking. No one blocks out to rebound at either end of the floor, turnovers abound, and there is a huge lack of team defense and hustle. Shot selection is poor, and we never seem to try to get Scott Wood open. If we don’t shoot well, we always struggle, even at home, and on the road, we never win when we shoot poorly. The mistakes that are made, such as passing into corners, traps and packed inside defenses, continue to be repeated year after year, especially in critical game situations.

    Scoring droughts aren’t nearly as troublesome to me as being out of the NCAA tourney before Christmas if we don’t beat a so-so Arizona team here tomorrow. That’s based of the premise that we won’t do any better than 10-6 in the league and won’t win the ACC tournament. Va. Tech lost to Duke by a basket in the ACC finals and still didn’t salvage an NCAA bid under basically those same circumatances.

    I began this season hoping for just two things- that we’d finish 4th or higher in the ACC regular season, and that we’d quit looking so awful most of the time, especially on the road. After the Wisconsin, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Youngstown games, though, I just don’t think either of those will happen.

  9. Clarksa 12/18/2010 at 8:45 PM #

    “I began this season hoping for just two things- that we’d finish 4th or higher in the ACC regular season,”

    There is absolutely no reason we can’t still finish #2 in the league…but hell, this year that might not be enough considering how bad the league is looking.

  10. BSIE80 12/18/2010 at 8:54 PM #

    Not worried.
    Harrow, Leslie, and Brown are great players. They are getting adjusted to the competition. Tracy will be a great addition when he returns. We don’t need to rush him, we need to make sure he comes back when he is ready.
    We will struggle at times, but we will be very good at other times. I love this team and will enjoy their growth this season. 1st-4th in league is possible but not a guarantee. However, we will not be 10th-12th…..
    So I am very excited about this season!

  11. StateFans 12/18/2010 at 11:06 PM #

    Carving away Sidney (or any other coach for that matter) from the conversation — just to be clear, fair, & consistent — the 5th year of any coaches’ program is not ‘too early’ to expect a team to be consistently competitive against Top 25 competition when/if that program has not been consistently competitive in any of the previous 4 years.

    How many times do State fans have to hit their heads against the wall to knock some sense into themselves?

  12. Clarksa 12/19/2010 at 12:10 AM #

    Yes, that is a very consistent, clear, and fair generalization of acceptable terms within college basketball.

    Bringing this team back into the conversation, I prefer to focus on this year and think there is still 1 decent OOC game left and 16 conference games which leaves plenty of opportunity to have a good year and make the NCAA tournament. In order for this team to make that run, Tracy Smith will most certainly help with that goal.

  13. BJD95 12/19/2010 at 12:27 AM #

    Was I the only one who got an odd vibe from reading that article? I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but something seemed a little off. I hope another “chemistry issue” isn’t bubbling under the sureface.

    One thing to remember about TS – he’s an atrocious defensive player. So his return is very likely to have zero impact on that area of concern.

  14. 61Packer 12/19/2010 at 2:48 AM #

    Like I hinted, he ain’t a first round NBA pick, and lack of defense is our major weakness.

  15. Prowling Woofie 12/19/2010 at 7:56 PM #

    Tracy 0-1 against Zona; Leslie 1-11…

    Sid’s gotta go. I’ve had enough. Or keep him as a recruiting coordinator, but he’s not the Head Coach we need to get out of the cellar.

  16. Primewolf 12/19/2010 at 8:05 PM #

    If it is not clear at this point to anyone that has watched us this season, we are getting worse, instead of better. Our defense sucks, folks are out of position, the other team pretty much takes us at will, our offense consists of one guy dribbling around and the others mostly standing still. We can’t screen anyone, but Arizone absoluted stoned us with screens.

    These coaches have lost me as a paying customer. Give me a young smart coach with some concept of leadership. This is embarassing to the school.

    I predict 5 ACC wins and Sid packing his lunch pail in March.

  17. Clarksa 12/19/2010 at 9:35 PM #

    Ah #$%^ it…If Coach Lowe doesn’t have this team at 6-2 in the first 8 ACC games, he should announce that he isn’t coming back, finish the year, and do what he can to reassure the young players to stay.

  18. rawolf 12/19/2010 at 10:44 PM #

    Just to add to the topic, I think we miss Josh Davis more then people think. He was a work horse and played his heart out. That is who I miss the most on this team. I hope the best for him.

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