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. Oldwolf 01/04/2012 at 8:31 AM #

    I think that it is a given that this years team is playing a way better level than last year. That is not really saying a lot, because last years team did not play all that well.

    Given that, I feel good about this team going into conference play and think that we will get some wins this year and finish in the upper half (upper third?). One factor is that there are so many bad teams this year (BC, WF, Md), Clemson is not play well, FSU is not playing as well as expected. UVA is playing well.

    Plus we are playing pretty good, I would hope that we could go 10-6.

  2. BAM 01/04/2012 at 8:46 AM #

    I have attended 5 games so far, including the Indiana game. Yes, we are much better in my opinion. Rebounding and transition play is a big difference I see. too bad playing conference games will hurt our RPI.

  3. Pack78 01/04/2012 at 9:19 AM #

    This team also seems to be having a lot more fun than those in the Sid years…witness the squad’s celebration on the bench as the supersubs get chances to score in late mop-up action. I think that this will continue to pay dividends down the road…

  4. PackMan97 01/04/2012 at 9:29 AM #

    I just look at player development.

    CJW is amazing this year.
    Brown continues to improve even as the season plays out.
    CJL has had a huge attitude adjustment and his play and decision making is greatly improved.
    Howell’s physical changes say most of it, his stats say the rest.

    When was the last time we had a group of players progress as individuals like they have this year? Generally we only see guys improve because their minutes improve. This year they’ve improved because their decision making is better, their effort is better, their stamina is better.

    Things aren’t perfect. Quality depth is a concern, but recruiting is looking up.

  5. Alpha Wolf 01/04/2012 at 9:37 AM #

    This team will be fearsome if they ever learn how to play forty minutes — meaning that they don’t have long swoons that leave huge holes to climb out of.

    I see this year’s edition of the Pack as a squad that is a middle-of-the-conference squad that needs a Friday win in the ACCT to finally secure their NCAAT. Their margin for error is small, and they cannot take the night off against any team in the lower half of the conference.

  6. zdivey 01/04/2012 at 11:12 AM #

    No Sid= We Are Better.

  7. smfrank 01/04/2012 at 11:12 AM #

    I’ve been looking all over the internet for some insight as to what to look forward to for the start of conference play. I enjoyed reading everyone’s post. Here are my thoughts:

    1) We play much harder all around. Hustle, defense, ball/player movement. We consistently challenge shots, play good transition offensive movement is much better, and offensive rebounding has been excellent. If this team loses, effort is not to blame.

    2) In our losses, we generally played 30-35 minutes of good basketball. But during a critical stretch, we seemed to get raddled just enough to allow the other team to make a larger run than it would be if we kept a little more focus. During these runs, you’ll see a soft pass that leads to a TO & fast break, missed FTs, an off balanced or rushed shot, a missed rebound, a late defensive rotation, etc., Just a little more mental toughness would lessen the blow of the run so that it only ends up being a 6 pt run vs. a 12 pt run. That way, when their momentum is slowed, we would be looking at a 1 possession game, instead of a 4 possession game. This is the one area our team needs to improve to make it a successful season and win a few more of the closer games.

    3) Another good thing at this point, is that I think the team has a feel for their rotation & roles. Zo, CJW, Wood & AJ will be on the premiter. Howell, Leslie & Painter down low. These guys will each see 20-30+ minutes, while Vandy, De Thay, Harris and Raymond will be sprinkled in for a few minutes every so often. I don’t think we’ll see the wild mood swings we’ve seen the past few years.

    4) Two minor points of concern – Leslie’s cramps. And we have been eaten up by scoring guards. We have to emphasize a better game plan for guys like Stoglin, Rivers, and Durand Scott.

    But overall, I’m excited about conference play. I think at a minimum we’re looking at 6-7 wins – which is Lowe’s high (I think), and in my mind this year – we have no ceiling. I’m gunning for 10-11, but with a little attention to detail and a hot night or two, we may be able to pull out a few more.

  8. BladenWolf 01/04/2012 at 11:36 AM #

    I tend to agree with Alpha in that if we can put together a total 40 minute effort, we could be a lot better this season than most people expect. Example is the Syracuse game. We came out gangbusters in the first few minutes of each half only to lose the momentum and start the old bad habits from last year (telegraphed passes, bad shot selection, etc).
    Having said that, we were playing the #1 team in the nation with a deep bench and stayed with them for the most part. Last year this team would have had the same “Wisconsin” result and lost by 40… not 18. So is that the definition of a “quality loss”? No one likes to lose but it certainly shows progress.
    Statistics can be tricky in that they can be often analyzed to support multiple points. The Delaware State comparison question, the OOC record vs last year, the RPI for opposing teams, our own strength of schedule vs last year, etc.
    The proof is in the pudding as they say. I’ve attended a few games (UNCA, Indiana, Syracuse, and NCCU) and watched those that I could. My answer is most certainly “YES”. We are a much improved team in almost every area. Sure we have a lot of issues to improve upon but lets remember where we were last year folks. We basically sucked in all aspects of the game and the team simply gave up in some of those contests. I will never get that nauseated feeling out of my stomach from watching our half-assed effort in the Dean Dome (and yes I was proudly wearing the RED&WHITE). That was a embarrassing and pathetic effort from the tip off.
    I know I feel good about moving into conference play (especially given the quality of the league this season) and expect good things for the Pack overall, even if the statistics are scarily similar at this point.

  9. TruthBKnown Returns 01/04/2012 at 11:42 AM #

    The record may be similar to last year’s record. But I believe I see more team chemistry and gelling happening now than we had under Sid last year. I’m cautiously optimistic that we have a better outlook than we had last year. Partly because we have potential to be better, and parly because the ACC appears to be weaker overall than last year.

    I’m just going to wait and see, hoping for the best, but not really expecting anything until I see more.

  10. smfrank 01/04/2012 at 11:49 AM #

    Another interesting thing to note – we have 5 guys averaging between 12.2 and 12.9 points a game… talk about spreading the wealth!

  11. 61Packer 01/04/2012 at 2:16 PM #

    The main difference between this year’s team and those teams since Jimmy V left NCSU is that this year’s team appears to have a better chance of winning an ACC road game than those teams, under Robinson, HSWNBN and Low (AND Fouler), had of winning an ACC home game.

    Coaching DOES matter.

  12. rtpack24 01/04/2012 at 2:40 PM #

    Numbers can be deceiving. We are a much better team this year. We do not have a lot of depth but we are playing much better basketball in every area. Who knows how this season will turn out but having been up close to our team at the beginning of last season and watching the team this year there is no comparision.

  13. lawful 01/04/2012 at 3:37 PM #

    Wuf, my opinion is summed up by a composite of many of the above posts. It would appear that many agree w/me. I’m not saying that we’re not improved/improving.

  14. Rick 01/05/2012 at 10:14 AM #

    No doubt we are better this year. Whether that means we make the tournament I do not know.

    I do know I hate that Bowden quote.

  15. El Lobo Loco! 01/05/2012 at 10:33 AM #

    It is hard to say what will the Wolfpack do in the court.
    Lack of consistency has been a trademark for years, and in the preseason it seems this has not changed.
    LetÅ› talk again in 4-5 weeks 😉

  16. BladenWolf 01/05/2012 at 11:18 AM #

    72-70 vs 78-44. Yep, we’re better.

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