Should we feel good heading into conference play?

Tomorrow night NC State plays Delaware State. Big whoop.

But did you know that last year we beat them 72-70? A few weeks earlier powerhouse LaSalle had beaten them 65-61. Only a week prior, in-state rival Delaware had beaten them by 11 points. Yet they come to Raleigh and lose by one possession.

This made me want to take inventory. In the win=loss column, what did we look like at this point last season.

Some similarities are scary.  And I do not mean scary as in interesting, I mean scary as in I really thought we had done better this season compared to last.

Losses up to Jan 3, 2011 : at #20 Georgetown, at Wisconsin, at #8 Syracuse, vs Arizona.  I’m am sure we hung our heads high about these 4 “good” losses. Or, conversely, we had no “bad” losses. The same sentiment many, including myself, have been evangelizing about this season. We have beaten everyone we should and our losses were against better teams. One difference is we beat Texas this year. Last year we had no respectable victory to this point.

A splash of cold water in the face is healthy I suppose. We are still unproven. But are the numbers lying? Last year on this day our RPI was 111. Flash forward to this year and we are at 44 in the RPI with the 15th toughest schedule in the nation. At least one number says we are better!

It is difficult to be objective when you are a fan.  I want to say we are better, I want to say we look better, I want to say the coaching is better. We should beat Delaware State by double digit points. We should beat them by 20 or 30 points!  Please prove what we have been saying right Wolfpack. We are a better team… aren’t we?

About BAM

I grew up on Jones Franklin Rd with a Wolfpack banner hanging over my bed. UNCW class of 2001.

11-12 Basketball NCS Basketball

41 Responses to Should we feel good heading into conference play?

  1. hoop 01/03/2012 at 6:27 PM #

    Yes, we are a better team. But you are mistaken on one major point. We got our asses dragged up and down the court by Wisconsin. They took a commanding lead early and never looked back, beating us by 38 points IIRC. They led by 40 at points in that game. I remember hoping against hope that the loss would be by less than 40. That’s when I knew we truly sucked and the Sid experiment would be over soon. The new highly-touted players weren’t going to make much of a difference.

    This season we have no blowout losses. Most of our losses have been reasonable. For example, we were tied with Indiana near the middle of the second half before they started pulling away.

    On the down side, I’m not really sure we have a solid quality win. We beat Texas but that was only after being down by 18 and then when we fought back to about 8 down their best player fouled out. So there is definite reason for concern.

    But on the intangibles alone I think we are a better team. How much better is the question.

  2. Thinkpack17 01/03/2012 at 7:05 PM #

    We have a chance to really pile up some ACC wins this year. I am ready for league play to start. We play GT, Wake and BC twice. Rich is grabbing everything that comes near him and even with Lo Brown’s mind numbing lapses in concentration he is 4th in the league in assist to turnover ratio. It can’t be said enough…the ACC is bad. 2 loses to UNC, a loss to Duke and VA still leave us some room for error.

    Talent wise we are set up for success, we also have a competent coaching staff. The rest is just mental toughness. I’d like to see a change in that department.

  3. tuckerdorm1983 01/03/2012 at 7:10 PM #

    gotta beat the bottom teams in the conference consistently. We have to beat teams on the road. Sidney could not do it.

    What we have to do to go dancing.

    1. We travel to Wake, Miami, BC, Georgia Tech, Clemson and VT. We need to win most of these.

    2.We have to hold serve at home for all teams and even maybe those assholes in light blue that are west of Raleigh. We can’t have many mental lapses at home. I know a team can’t bring its A game every night and sometimes opponents are simply on fire. Still, we can’t give up many loses at home.

    3.We have to not be playing Thursday in the ACC tournament.

    4.We have to have a 10-6 record. 4 road loses and 2 home loses. That is a tall order when you look at it. I think we can do it.

    How we play Maryland will set the tone. Mark my words. If we are 3-2 going into the UNC game we will be NIT bound.

  4. primacyone 01/03/2012 at 7:11 PM #

    We haven’t lost by 40. That’s a significant improvement.

  5. PoppaJohn 01/03/2012 at 7:40 PM #

    Very interesting article, makes you think.
    It may not happen this year, but what we are seeing on the court has no relation whatsoever to what we saw last year. I believe that having a plan makes a difference.
    I think we are going to enjoy this year much more than last.

  6. NCStatePride 01/03/2012 at 8:21 PM #

    All of our loses have been much closer this year than last year where we were effectively “blown out” several times.

    I’m really optimistic. So far, Gottfried has made a lot of the right moves. This season should be a good start for his staff and next season is staged to be an even better one. Hopefully this is where optimism meets results.

  7. Jediwolf 01/03/2012 at 8:30 PM #

    We are a much better TEAM this year, better team play and hustle. We have had the talent to make it to the big dance, the team just needed some direction. Go Pack! Go Gott!

  8. wolfie91 01/03/2012 at 8:35 PM #

    No bad losses in the sense that we didn’t lose to a New Orleans or an ECU, but the WI and GTown games were blowouts. We did play GTown even at the half, but other than that, we weren’t holding our heads high about those loses. One difference I see is that after those 4 OOC loses last year, I felt like our chances of make the tournament were over. This year, I think they are slim but I do have a sense of optimism. In part, that is because I think we can be competitive in this ACC but also I think we do have a good coaching staff.

  9. 61Packer 01/03/2012 at 8:52 PM #

    Anybody can be whomped on the road like we were at Wisconsin, but the home loss to Arizona is the one that proved just how Lowe our program had gotten. I can still hear the loud, continual “U OF A” chants in the RBC.

    Our coaching is light years ahead of last year’s. But they’ve got many of the same players to deal with. I don’t blame these players, but we’ve got to realize how poorly they were led until this season. Bad habits won’t go away simply because a new staff says “shoo”.

    Seeing that the league has 4 truly awful teams that by luck of the draw we get to play twice this season (WF, Miami, BC and GT), plus having a new staff that seems to understand and get across to the players the concept of team basketball on both offense and defense, I’m optimistic that we’ll contend for an ACCT opening-round bye.

    I’m pleased with the consistency the team has shown. We won’t blow many teams out, but we also won’t be blown out by many teams either.

    Like people at the games keep telling me, it’s a completely different atmosphere in the RBC Center this season. It’s Gott to be the coaching.

  10. Wulfpack 01/03/2012 at 8:55 PM #

    Much better this time around. I am confident the post season opportunity and final record will show it.

  11. bigwolfpacker 01/03/2012 at 8:59 PM #

    We are better this year. If we had a bench at all we would be very tough. I went through the ACC schedule game by game and came up with 9-7. Thats the worst we should be. 9-7 is probably the NIT. 10-6 is NCAA tourney imo.

  12. NCStatePride 01/03/2012 at 9:06 PM #

    “Anybody can be whomped on the road like we were at Wisconsin,”

    No ACC team should get whomped on any road by any school. It happens, but never to any team you would call quality, at least not regularly.

    IMHO, any team worth any sort of post-season can get upset but shouldn’t ever just getting slaughtered, at least not by an unranked team. That is one of the reasons why I have walked away from our loses with positive observations (the other big reason being because my expectations were low coming into the schedule). Even that Indiana game keeps looking better and better as time goes on.

  13. WTNY 01/03/2012 at 9:19 PM #

    Bobby Bowden had a quote something like: You go from
    1) losing by a lot to
    2) losing by a little to
    3) winning by a little to
    4) winning by a lot

    Looks to me we are in phase 2 when you compare us to good teams. We are at least a year away.

  14. Wolfy__79 01/03/2012 at 9:19 PM #

    Should we feel better about this team? HELL YEAH.

    if we are really asking ourselves this question then espn3 might be the next step for you. this team is almost a polar opposite of last in team chemistry. from the wc game saturday, i saw howell get almost as many assists as lorenzo brown.. and he and leslie dishing to one another on consecutive possessions. that’s enough for me but if you need further evidence, how about cj’s improvement in point production and also revealing his accuracy from 3pt land? howell is beginning to realize how his wide body can reek havoc on the boards. painter’s 15ft jumper isn’t such a bad shot any longer… scott wood is, well, still great from three but beginning to move in a little bit to widen his threat on offense. but one of my favorite things about this years team, i like to watch the players head off the court for a breather.. there is a coaching staff there with either a pat on the back or coaching words of encouragement!!

  15. lawful 01/03/2012 at 9:25 PM #

    To answer the question: No.

  16. Wufpacker 01/03/2012 at 9:53 PM #

    Lawful, I presume the question you are answering is the one in the title of the post. I’d be interested to know why you feel that way.

  17. ron2nc 01/03/2012 at 10:21 PM #

    Just give me a winning record in the ACC!

  18. choppack1 01/03/2012 at 10:25 PM #

    Definitely. The proof is in how the effort. Our guys are playing harder this year, they’re better prepared and in better shape. I think we’ll reap the rewards of these changes in acc play.

    I do want to see what happens to our rpi when we play Delaware state.

    Oh yeah, we can’t lose to bc.

  19. Texpack 01/03/2012 at 10:36 PM #

    I know I have been harsh in my analysis at times this year, but I have seen some fundamentals get better over the past two weeks or so. I had a moment during the IU game when we went up after a repeatedly tipped ball four or five times before pulling down the rebound and heading up the court on offense with the lead. I nearly came out of my chair because it was the most raw effort I had seen a State basketball team put forth in years.

    We are a team that relies heavily on offensive rebounding, free throws and transition because we are such a poor shooting team. That means we will inevitably lose one of the games against a corpse if two of our bigs get in foul trouble on the same night. We can also win against Duke or UNC-CH if we catch them on a night when CJW & AJ are knocking down threes as well as Wood. I have to say that Gott has the team playing to its very limited list of offensive strengths.

    My concerns are shooting, depth, shooting, turnovers, and shooting.

    I feel like we actually have a chance to do something in the ACC this year mainly because the league is so much worse but also because we are marginally better.

    Another post today somewhere asked if our current RPI of 40 would be our high water mark for the year and it probably will. But this team can finish in the RPI Top 50 and give the committee something to think about if it improves and avoids serious lapses.

  20. sundropdrinker13 01/04/2012 at 12:03 AM #

    Texpack, our shooting is great. 48.3% which ranks us 28th in the nation, 3rd in the conference. How is shooting a concern? Making a freakin layup is my concern, but not actual shooting. TOs are another concern.

  21. stillapackfan 01/04/2012 at 12:53 AM #

    Please stop referring to the Texas win as a quality win. It wasn’t.

  22. sundropdrinker13 01/04/2012 at 1:57 AM #

    How is Texas not a quality win? Right now they have an RPI of 78, with a SOS projected to be 29th. They are a quality opponent. We won. So it is a quality win, as of right now. It will depend on how their season plays out.

  23. ryebread 01/04/2012 at 2:02 AM #

    Great original post. This is something that I’ve thought about — just because I know that the Lowe defenders will argue that we’re no better.

    By my eyes, we’re way, way ahead of where we were last year with respect to:
    1) No blow out losses
    2) Better results against a tougher schedule
    3) Better effort
    4) A real college, motion offense
    5) Players in shape
    6) A solid rotation entering ACC play
    7) Team cohesion
    8) Visible improvement from the first game until this past game
    9) Better rebounding (particularly defensively)
    10) Way more assists
    11) A real transition game
    12) Balanced scoring (5 players averaging in double digits)

    I don’t know exactly what I numbers were last year at this time, but I can almost guarantee that for many of the stats that Pomeroy tracks, we’ll be way better off this year.

    Let’s just take offensive efficiency. Heading into tomorrow night’s game, we’re currently number 15 in the nation, with only UNC and Duke being higher from the ACC. I don’t have our ranking last year at this time, but the last time I remember us being this high with any number of games played was during HWSNBN’s tenure. The numbers here back up what my eyes tell me.

    Let’s also look at scoring margin average. That is something that I can find good data on. Last year entering our last non-conference game, we averaged winning by 6 points. We’d peaked with a 31 point win against Alabama A&M and gotten hammered by 39 against Wisconsin. This year we still are averaging winning by 6 points. Our biggest win was by 30, but our biggest loss was to #1 Syracuse by 16. Not a huge difference on the surface.

    The difference is that we’ve played a much tougher strength of schedule. Last year at this time, we’d played 5 teams with a 300+ RPI, 5 with a top 25 RPI and no one else with an RPI of better than 100. At this point in time, we’ve played two top 25 RPI squads, 5 in the top 100, but more importantly only two teams with a RPI of higher than 200 and none with an RPI of 300+. The schedule last year was more top heavy, but was just filled with cupcakes. This one isn’t as strong at the top (in part due to Vanderbilt underachieving and Stanford playing a bunch of cupcakes), but is much stronger across the board.

    We’ll see how things play out. Last year at this time, I felt like there was no way we’d be dancing. This year, I think we actually have a shot. Maybe that’s more of a statement about the ACC than anything else, but I actually see is getting to 9-7 this year (which admittedly leaves us on the outside of the bubble). Last year at this time, I felt like our best shot in conference was about 7-9.

  24. WilmyWolf 01/04/2012 at 2:15 AM #

    choppack, a BC loss would be devastating… I saw them a few weeks ago when my girlfriend and I went to visit her family in Boston. They played Bryant Business College, a 1-12 team (rpi 332 out of 344) in their first year of division 1. BC came out with a win, but they were out-muscled the entire game and had to rely on hot 3-point shooting. BC is TERRIBLE. Maybe worse than Wake was last year

  25. Texpack 01/04/2012 at 7:44 AM #

    Texpack, our shooting is great. 48.3% which ranks us 28th in the nation, 3rd in the conference. How is shooting a concern?

    We have one above average three point shooter. CJW has shown signs of being a threat. AJ has had one good game shooting from the outside. Lo is a 2012 version of a Ernie Myers. He can slash and score, but teams will dare him to shoot threes if they are smart.

    Calvin is an awful shooter. Howell certainly doesn’t have any range. Painter has shown way more from the high post than I expected but I certainly don’t get a warm fuzzy feeling when he lets go of a jumper.

    We will see a lot of zones this year to cut down our dribble penetration. We are going to have to make open jump shots to win some games. Our current shooting percentage is a product of our transition game.

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