Thank you, Indiana

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

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11-12 Basketball

25 Responses to Thank you, Indiana

  1. choppack1 01/01/2012 at 10:22 AM #

    I agree w/ a lot of what was said in this article – but I have to take issue w/ one sentence:
    “The ACC appears to be shaking out around a respectable 5th in the country.

    When you are historically the best or 2nd best conference in America, there’s nothing respectable about being the 5th best. If the SEC was the 5th best football conference in the country, it wouldn’t just be “down” – it would be so far off the norm that it would be news itself. The only reason that this isn’t a bigger story is because the ACC has been crumbling in front of our eyes for really the last 15 years.

    The ACC went after known football schools in its expansion, but the ACC is joke right now both in football and in basketball. The only thing that’s keeping this conference from being an absolute laughingstock right now is Duke and UNC in basketball.

    Regarding our game itself – I was happy to see that Coach Gott was already getting on the 4 guys on the floor for not rebounding properly due to Howell’s effectiveness on the boards. This kind of coaching is exactly what they need.

    It’s also worth noting that Howell said the reason he can put up these kind of numbers on the boards is that he’s finally in-shape. Thank heavens Sidney Lowe is no longer our coach or else he’d still be out of shape and struggling to exert himself for 30 minutes.

  2. 61Packer 01/01/2012 at 10:26 AM #


  3. tmb81 01/01/2012 at 11:20 AM #

    After watching the other ACC teams in pre-conference play, 4th or even 3rd place is not out of the question. That, combined with the tough OOC, should help us avoid the “Greenburg effect” and get us a bid. (Our competition for that bid might be Greenburg himself and UVa).

    The ACC suffers with the turnover of 2/3rds of its coaches in the last 2 years. Therefore the race to respectability (for the conference) is how quick can these coaches can turn their programs around. I think we are well positioned to be a prominent team in that recovery.

  4. tuckerdorm1983 01/01/2012 at 12:36 PM #

    Maryland should be a good test for us. I think Coach Gott has the best players on the court in Wood, Calvin, Zo, Howell and CJ. They can give any team in the ACC a run, even those bastards I shall not speak of. Can the bench pull us through. That is our weak point, but not next year. Foul trouble for any of the first five means problems for us.

    Painter and Johnson are the best coming off the bench. After that is begins to go downhill fast. Several of the new kids may be quite good, but they need time to develop.

    That means we have to play smart and that means you Calvin.

  5. 61Packer 01/01/2012 at 1:10 PM #

    The new ACC coaches should be an improvement over the former ones they replaced. Look for the league to improve as time passes.

    Hard to say which school benefitted the most from its coaching change, but my vote goes to the Wolfpack, with Maryland on the opposite end.

  6. Wulfpack 01/01/2012 at 1:56 PM #

    I gotta agree with chop on this one – there is nothing at all respectable about being the 5th best conference.

  7. Wulfpack 01/01/2012 at 1:59 PM #

    I watched the IU game, and man are they good. Tom Crean may well be your national coach of the year. A total turnaround, a complete rebuild. Oh, and he has some horses to add to the cavalry next year. Hell of a coach. Great to see patience rewarded in this day and age of firing coaches at the whim.

  8. StateFans 01/01/2012 at 2:26 PM #

    How did you guys get so far from my main point so quickly?

    My point is simple — My context is EXCLUSIVELY related to NC State’s probability & potential to make the NCAA Tournament.

    I’ve heard people tell me that any chances we have of making the NCAA Tournament will be ‘hurt’ by the ‘weak ACC’.

    My point is that, on a relative basis, being the 5th best conference is not that weak relative to other conferences and, therefore, a 9 win season that will give us 20 total wins should be fine to get us into the Tournament.

    You can debate all of the other stuff all you want.

  9. StateFans 01/01/2012 at 3:32 PM #

    Related from Sports Illustrated

    3. Is Indiana for real? Well, along with UNLV’s win over North Carolina, the Hoosiers have two of the nation’s three best wins this season. Before tonight’s win, the Hoosiers were No. 8 in both Ken Pomeroy’s and Jeff Sagarin’s overall rankings, and No. 7 in Sagarin’s “predictor” rankings, which incorporates margins of victory and is a better predictive measure of future accomplishment. They also have the No. 7 offensive efficiency and No. 23 defensive efficiency, per What does all that mean? It means, yeah, it appears Indiana is very legit. In a year where there’s some (perceived) separation between the top four or five and everyone else, teams like Missouri and Indiana may not “feel” like top-7 teams, but it’s possible they are. They also won at NC State, which is a better road win than most teams have at this point. Enjoy it, Bloomington. It looks like your program is back a year early, and the future looks very promising.

  10. choppack1 01/01/2012 at 3:45 PM #

    SFN – I don’t think the 9 wins are enough directly because of the weakness of the conference. 9 wins in this ACC will leave us about where we are now…Of course, if 2 of those 9 wins are vs. UNC and Duke (or we beat one of them in the tourney), we’ll probably have enough.

    However, I think if we go 9-7, and go 0-3 vs. UNC and Duke, and have an early ACC tournament exit, we’re likely on the outside looking in, simply because we will not have beaten anyone of note.

    Now, we go 10-6 and I think that may be enough given our schedule.

    Finally, we’ll have to take a look at our RPI after our stinker game this week. I think we’ll all have a good idea of our magic number then.

  11. choppack1 01/01/2012 at 4:56 PM #

    Actually – looking at the schedule, it’s going to be iffy:

    According to….we have a an RPI killer game vs. Delaware State (currently 295 or 285, I forget which).
    We have 2 games vs. 225 BC
    1 game vs. 230 Clemson
    2 games vs. 145 or so GaTech
    2 games vs. Wake (with their 87 RPI)
    1 game vs. 101 UMd

    I’ve never seen 3 conference games be RPI killers – but that’s what we’re looking at this year. Considering the fact that according to RealTimeRPI, we’ll only be playing 4 more games vs. Top 50 teams, we have to go 10-6 or beat some good teams and go 9-7.

    I think we’ll also need to get to Duke or UNC in the ACC tourney – our RPI will need it. Remember, at this point, we have ZERO quality wins.

  12. 61Packer 01/01/2012 at 5:07 PM #

    9-7 in the league with 0-3 vs Blues and an early tourney exit will make us dependent upon someone else if we Dance. 10-6 in the league would put us in if we get a win vs Blues or don’t lose the opening ACCT game.

    Honestly, from what I’ve seen so far this season, the league has some pretty awful teams by ACC standards. Being swept by BC, WF, GT or Miami would be the best way to avoid worrying about whether or not we Dance.

    All I want is for this team to finish at least 4th in the conference. If they do that, then it’s been a great season as far as I’m concerned.

  13. ancsu87 01/01/2012 at 6:09 PM #

    Everybody probably drifted off point because at this time there is nothing anybody can do but debate and provide opinions . Let them play the season and enjoy watching a team that plays with some disciple, confidence provided by real coaching. Let’s see how it plays out.

    I enjoyed the WCU game. The Campbell game, not so much. However I am not sure we even win the Campbell game 1-5 years ago and fairly sure we would not have followed it up with the WCU game. It was clear that some “words” were provided to the team about their “lack of effort” after the Campbell game.

  14. StateFans 01/01/2012 at 6:16 PM #

    We will be close under those scenarios…but, I am hopeful that FSU and UVa will also be NCAA Tournament teams and give us chances for some good (not great) wins.

    Also, it is all relative — it is totally dependent on the comparative resumes of the other ‘bubble’ teams.

    People have a tendency to over estimate the ‘strength’ of the teams on the bubble. Do you know that we actually made an NCAA Tournament a few years ago without defeating a SINGLE NCAA Tournament team in the regular season?

    We already have at least one win this year – vs Texas. And, I don’t know if any of other games (UNC-A? Princeton? others?) can eventually become eligible.

  15. Wulfpack 01/01/2012 at 7:30 PM #

    I’m not so sure Texas will be an NCAA tournament team. The Big 12 is very strong this year. I’d like to see St. Bonnies go on a nice run in the A-10. I think Harvard will take the Ivy. From what I am hearing, there are some very solid mid-majors out there that could steal some bids away from the big guys. I think we definitely need to shoot for 4th or higher. I also don’t think FSU is going to be all that good in conference play. They simply cannot score. We have a legitimate shot at third as it stands today.

  16. SaccoV 01/01/2012 at 8:44 PM #

    I love that Indiana is back to being a superbly relevant team again. I was hoping that Crean would be ousted after last year so that we could snatch him up. He’s very good, and Indiana competing for the Big Ten title this year will attest to that. As for State and the ACC, it’s not looking pretty, and I don’t believe that anything less than 10 wins will earn a tourney birth for any non-blue ACC team. FSU is a paper tiger (as has been the case consistently under Hamilton) and Bennett is a super-defensive coach, which means some ugly basketball and some not-so-impressive wins (i.e. Towson). No one else, as the RPIs indicate, is remotely available unless an impressive regular season in the ACC is had.

    I think the better point to made here (sorry for the hijack, SFN) is that given circumstances, our expectations are changing. Going into the season, I personally had NC State getting 20 wins (regardless of an NCAA birth) as a good 1st season for Gottfried. Now that all fans have assured themselves that the ACC is in a terrible spot, it’s certainly possible for State to earn that coveted 3rd position THIS SEASON. I also am having this increased expectation cautiously, given how the football season in 2010 had the same possibility for the greatest outcome but fell short with a terrible showing at Clemson and a Ron-Cherry-Special at Maryland. Gottfried has an opportunity to immediately cash-in on a weak conference to put us into that 3rd spot.

  17. Tau837 01/01/2012 at 10:29 PM #

    Agree with a lot of the commentary by chop and others. I think we need to achieve one of the following to make the tournament:

    1. Finish 3rd outright in the conference.
    2. Reach 22 or more wins by the end of the ACC tournament.
    3. Reach 21 or more wins by the end of the ACC tournament, with at least one win over Duke and/or UNC.
    4. Reach 20 or more wins by the end of the ACC tournament, with at least two wins over Duke and/or UNC.

    I think all of these scenarios are achievable, but none will be easy.

    It would also help if Texas could drastically raise its profile during Big 12 play, but I’m not counting on it.

    St. Bonaventure winning the A-10 or Princeton winning the Ivy would be helpful, but not on the same level IMO.

  18. 8pack 01/02/2012 at 12:42 AM #

    ^Tau – excellent points…I see it exactly like you do. So often, it is easy to forget that the ACC Tourney( esp. 1st Rd) can get you in, or, knock out a team that would have gotten in based solely on the r.s.

    We just can’t assign a value to how important it would be to make the Dance THIS year. The positive momentum of the program would be very strong if that could happen.

  19. stillapackfan 01/02/2012 at 9:05 AM #

    How do Indiana’s wins help us? We lost that game, remember. Also, the Texas win is not a quality win. They are not a good team and we beat them without their leading scorer. We have to beat UNC plain and simple and I don’t see that happening.

  20. Texpack 01/02/2012 at 10:02 AM #

    Indiana’s rise in the RPI helps our RPI. Texas will struggle to make the tournament this year. I agree that a good regular season finish for the Bonnies will be important for our resume. Two wins vs. UNC-CH, Duke and UVa are required for a bid. If we only beat the crap ACC teams on our schedule we’ll have 5 conference wins, so 9-7 won’t excite the committee unless a couple of those are great wins.

  21. choppack1 01/02/2012 at 10:14 AM #

    Tau – I think you’ve nailed it.

    We’ve got 10 wins and 18 games left. You have us with a magic number of 12…assuming we don’t beat UNC or Duke…So that means we’d have to go 12-3 in those other 15 games. It’s worth noting that we could lose 2 to UNC, 1 to Duke, 1 to Va Tech, 1 to FSU and 1 to UVa and do that. This, of course, leaves absolutely no room for error, but doesn’t assume that we’ll beat any good teams either.

    Keep in mind, even in Sid’s years and Herb’s NIT years, we’d usually beat at least 1 ACC team w/ an at-large NCAA bid…I so no reason why we can’t beat UVa, Va Tech or FSU this year. Of course, we’ll probably lose a couple of games on the road we don’t have any business losing. (Our ACC road games are Wake, BC, UNC, Duke, Miami, GaTech, VaTech and Clemson.) Road losses to Clemson, BC or GaTech will be very damaging to our tourney hopes.

    As for Indiana – I’m glad to see them doing so well. I like Crean and since they beat us, we need that to be a good loss.

  22. stillapackfan 01/02/2012 at 1:23 PM #

    All the Indiana loss proves is that the Zeller brothers own us.

  23. Tau837 01/02/2012 at 3:22 PM #

    Amending my list of scenarios slightly, I think State needs to achieve one of the following to make the tournament:

    1. Win the ACC tournament (obviously).
    2. Finish 3rd outright in the conference.
    3. Reach 22 or more wins by the end of the ACC tournament.
    4. Reach 21 or more wins by the end of the ACC tournament, with at least one win over Duke and/or UNC.
    5. Reach 20 or more wins by the end of the ACC tournament, with at least two wins over Duke and/or UNC.

    #1 is extremely unlikely, which is presumably why I failed to include it the first time, and it would almost certainly be accompanied by one of the other scenarios. #2 might be impossible to achieve without achieving one of the others as well, so it probably just boils down to achieving one of the last three.

    FWIW, RealTimeRPI currently projects State to finish 19-12 and 8-8 in conference through the end of the regular season, with no wins over Duke or UNC. If that happens, the #2 and #5 scenarios above are out, so State would have to reach the ACC final (whether winning or not) or reach the semifinals by beating Duke or UNC.

    Looking at it that way, it seems like a long shot. The realistic path to a bid for State is to win 9 or 10 regular season conference games.

    We should learn a lot about this team over the next month. Looking forward to it.

  24. dsgill87 01/03/2012 at 12:34 AM #

    The Maryland game should be a barometer for where we stand ACC-wise. A win at home vs the Terps would be a good confidence booster and could a harbinger for good things to come.

    I think Indiana winning that game here has really propelled them. We had control of the game and they changed the tempo and took it to us in the last 7 minutes or so.. our lack of depth is the achilles heel, and it was a tough loss in my book up seven or so at home. Despite that, 3rd in the ACC is a realistic possibility.. and anything less than 5th should be a disappointment. The league sucks this year.

  25. Prowling Woofie 01/03/2012 at 10:10 AM #

    Stoglin concerns me for the MD game. He ate us alive last year, and I haven’t seen a guard on our roster that qualifies as a lock-down defender this year.

    I’m comfortable with our inside game against the Terps, but if we don’t have an answer for Stoglin, it could be a disastrous start to the conference schedule.

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