Happy New Year!
NC State was a helluva lotta fun to watch yesterday in the Wolfpack’s 82-55 route of Western Carolina (link).
Aside from a sluggish start to the game that saw the Pack score three points (all on free throws) in the first four minutes, State’s offense was pretty much unstoppable. The guys hit 24 of 37 (64.9%) of their two-point attempts and had another productive day at the free throw line (16-21). Hell, even Calvin managed a couple of miss-free trips to the line. C.J. Williams’ outstanding play continued, Scott Wood did his Scott Wood thing, Richard Howell grabbed 13 defensive boards and picked up another double double, and Lorenzo Brown put on a little layup exhibition in the first half.
Western Carolina couldn’t get much of anything to fall, inside or out. Their 30.4% three-point shooting was almost higher than their two-point shooting percentage, which says everything you need to know about their performance at the offensive end. Give ’em credit for doing a fantastic job on the defensive glass, though for that to matter you first have to make sure your opponent does not shoot over 60% from the field. Just remember that next time, WCU.
NC State is off until Wednesday’s game against Delaware State, then it’s on to conference play.
On the night after Princeton gave the NC State’s out of conference schedule a little boost (link), the Wolfpack got more good news on New Year’s Eve came when Indiana continued to show the country that they are a legitimate Top Ten team and a force with which to be reckoned. Last night the Hoosiers beat #2 ranked Ohio State, giving them wins over both the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the country within the last month!
So, with one game remaining before conference play – against (2-7) Delaware State ranked ~#278 in the RPI – NC State is sitting at a very respectable #56 in the RPI having played the 24th toughest out of conference schedule in the country.
Folks are criticizing the weakness of the Atlantic Coast Conference this season…and, relative to what we all know as “ACC Basketball” the conference is certainly down. However, the ACC appears to be shaking out around a respectable 5th in the country in conference rankings and State will have plenty of opportunity for some good wins as potential resume builders. Of the Wolfpack’s 16 conference games:
- 3 will be against teams currently ranked in the RPI’s Top 10
- at least 11 will be against Top 100 teams