Gameday Headlines — Pack vs. Noles

February 18, 2012

ncsu bball logo

Brett Friedlander (
Five questions to ponder before tipoff

1. Can N.C. State put Thursday’s disaster at Duke behind it and bounce back against Florida State?

Squandering a 20-point lead against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium could potentially be a crushing blow to the Wolfpack’s psyche and its still strong NCAA tournament hopes. But that doesn’t appear to have been the case, judging from the upbeat postgame reaction from State’s players Thursday. Forward Scott Wood said he and his teammates are determined not to let the Blue Devils beat them more than once and vowed that they’d be ready or today’s game against another ranked opponent. Coach Mark Gottfried’s team has already displayed an ability to put tough losses behind it and it should have plenty of incentive to play well. Beating the nation’s 19th ranked team, though not as emotionally satisfying as an upset of Duke would have been, would be just as valuable in helping the Wolfpack pad its postseason resume. As long as State’s big men stay out of foul trouble, look for another strong effort against an opponent that has shown a penchant for playing poorly on the road.

Stephen Schramm (
N.C. State (18-8, 7-4) welcomes No. 20 Florida State (18-7, 9-2) to the RBC Center. The game, slated for 1 p.m., can be seen on the ACC Network.

1. Quick turnaround

N.C. State walked out of Cameron Indoor Stadium after its 78-73 loss to Duke just before midnight on Thursday. The Wolfpack’s tip off against Florida State comes 37 hours later. It’s the fifth time this season that the Wolfpack has played two games in a three-day span. It’s 4-1 in the second half of such situations. While freshness will be a concern for the Wolfpack, Florida State isn’t in much better shape. Its 48-47 victory against Virginia Tech tipped off just two hours ahead of the Wolfpack’s last outing.

Bret Strelow (
Q&A with ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, assessing the futures of N.C. State, North Carolina, Duke and Virginia

Lunardi spoke with The Fayetteville Observer on Friday morning, before he released his latest projections. Here’s what he had to say …

On where he has N.C. State after Thursday’s loss …
“I still have them in. I have them in that “First Four” group, meaning the last four in playing the “First Four” games in Dayton. They are 48th on my board. That group of four goes N.C. State, Miami, Illinois and Washington. That’s with the loss last night.”

On a loss at Duke not having a real negative impact …
“Obviously, had they won, they would be several spots better. In fact, I was looking at slotting them around 42, 43, which would have made them an 11 seed in the bracket as opposed to being in one of those pigtail games. Now they’re going to have to get it done head-to-head against Miami. Their advantages, the three best teams left on their schedule are all at home. If they can get two of the three and split the two road games, they’re going to make the tournament.”

On the impact of Gottfried beefing up N.C. State’s schedule …
“He’s doing exactly the right thing, and I would like to take all the credit for that from all the conversations we’ve had the last couple years in the studio (that was a joke). I actually get no credit for that. I think he recognized two things. One, he had to market his program to get back among the league’s elite. To do that, you had to get on television and you had to play marquee games. Two, he almost had nothing to lose as a first-year coach, right, because the leash is reasonably long when you first start. Why not try to be an overachiever? Here they are doing exactly that. I think the odds are still better than 50-50 that they’re going to make it. That’s going to make him a hero in Raleigh, and rightfully so.”

Bret Strelow (
Layup Lines: Wolfpack back in black and Clemson looking to avoid customary blues

Crank up the “Party Rock Anthem” for:

Florida State at N.C. State

N.C. State’s players were remarkably upbeat after the loss to Duke, which erased a second-half deficit of 20 points and won 78-73, the same exact score as the Maryland game from a dozen years earlier.

Thursday’s result prevented the Wolfpack from tying the Blue Devils for third place in the league, but there’s no time to dwell on that. Florida State, still tied for first place thanks to more 3-point heroics from Michael Snaer, arrives in Raleigh for a Saturday afternoon game. Three days later, the Wolfpack welcomes UNC to the RBC Center.

N.C. State closes against Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech, and coach Mark Gottfried is stressing a one-at-a-time approach. Bunching things together in groups of three, or especially six, rarely works out well.


Who can’t get loose?

N.C. State’s Scott Wood was able to laugh off his late free-throw struggles against Georgia Tech because the Wolfpack won the game. Then he had another rough outing, by his standards, Thursday.

Since seeing his ACC-record streak of consecutive makes reach 66, Wood is now seven 7 for his last 13.

He scored 10 points against Duke on 1-of-7 shooting from the field and a 7-for-10 effort from the line. He was fouled twice while attempting 3-pointers, going 1-for-3 on one trip and 2-for-3 on another one with 57 seconds left. If he had made all three in the final minute, N.C. State would have trailed by only two points, and a defensive stop might have preceded a better look at a game-tying shot than the one Lorenzo Brown managed.

If anyone from Matt Doherty’s staff at SMU tries to offer shooting advice, run fast and run far.

Andrew Skwara (
ACC Weekend Preview, Feb. 17

No. 20 Florida State (18-7, 9-2 ACC) at N.C. State (18-8, 7-4)

When: 1 pm (EST) TV: ACC Network Radio: Sirius 112/XM 195

What’s at Stake?

N.C. State’s NCAA tournament hopes. Beating a ranked Florida State team won’t guarantee the Wolfpack an at-large bid, but it will give its chances a major boost and give its resume the quality win it desperately needs. The Wolfpack appeared on its way to gaining all that on Thursday but gave up a 20-point lead at Duke and ended up losing. Florida State had to come back from eight points down with less than two minutes left and get another game-winning 3-pointer from Michael Snaer in the final seconds to beat Virginia Tech on Thursday. Leonard Hamilton’s team has likely done enough to lock up an NCAA tournament invite, but needs to keep winning to improve its seeding and stay in control of the ACC race (the Seminoles are in a three-way tie for first place with Duke and North Carolina and own tiebreakers over both).

Key for the Seminoles

Outside shooting. When the Seminoles go cold from 3-point range – which has been the case recently – they struggle to score. Guards Dievidas Dulkys, Luke Loucks, Ian Miller and Snaer need to show better shot selection and knock down open looks from beyond the arc when available.

Key for the Wolfpack

Moving on mentally from the Duke loss. The Wolfpack has less than 48 hours to recover from giving up a 20-point lead and what should have been a pivotal win.

Numbers Game

Florida State has won three straight at the RBC Center and is looking for its first four-game win streak at any ACC road venue … N.C. State leads the series 25-22 … FSU got more points from its bench (25) than its starters (23) in its win over Virginia Tech … N.C. State’s C.. Williams has raised his scoring average from 4.7 last season to 12.2 ppg, which is the second-highest increase in the ACC … In his last three games, FSU guard Ian Miller has scored in double figures off the bench.


N.C. State 67, Florida State 65 – The Seminoles haven’t been playing well for the last couple weeks and were fortunate not to lose their last game to Virginia Tech. The Wolfpack will put together two solid halves and come away with an important win.

Denny Kuiper (
Kuiper’s 3-Pointer: Duke-N.C. State

On the other hand, I think it would be totally unfair to State to say it blew a big lead and to criticize the Wolfpack for not hanging on for the win. I think Duke did more to win the last 10 minutes of the game than the Pack did to lose it. The Pack had 3 of their best players in foul trouble early in the second half, which I think was a huge factor in the Pack’s struggles the last 10 minutes. I’ll have more on the Pack’s foul trouble in the 3 pointers.

N.C. State’s Talent Level

Let’s get something straight right now. The Pack has very good players. This game was not a case of State catching Duke off guard and/or flat. Duke played hard from the opening tip. The Wolfpack just dominated Duke until late in the game. I think N.C. State has a little bit better players in the frontcourt than Duke, while the Blue Devils are stronger in the backcourt than the Wolfpack.

C.J. Leslie, Richard Howell and DeShawn Painter are three very good big men. They can score and are especially good rebounders. Leslie dominated inside for much of the game, ending up with six blocked shots.

Lorenzo Brown had an outstanding game at the point position, but the Duke combo of Seth Curry and Austin Rivers took over the game the last 10 minutes.

I think the most noticeable difference between the two teams is not the talent level, but rather knowing how to win. State players have not had a history of winning consistently, while the Duke players have. I think that is what we saw tonight. Duke stayed poised, while the Wolfpack did not. But I think Mark Gottfried has done a great of getting his team to play hard and is developing a winning attitude. They are just not quite there yet.

Wolfpack tries to regroup after Duke

Unbowed after giving up a 20-point lead in the second half of Thursday’s 78-73 loss at Duke, N.C. State sophomore Lorenzo Brown promised the Wolfpack would be ready for today’s home game against Florida State.

“We can’t hold our heads down after this,” Brown said. “We’ll get back to practice (Friday) and get ready for Florida State.”

Brown, who led the Wolfpack (18-8, 7-4 ACC) with 19 points and five assists against the Blue Devils, understands the stakes and NCAA tournament implications against the first-place Seminoles.


First-year coach Mark Gottfried said his team took a step in the right direction on Thursday but it still needs to learn how to finish games.

Gottfried likened the turnaround to the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, when teams play Thursday and Saturday. He was confident the players would bounce back for today’s game.

“(Expletive), I’m proud of my team,” Gottfried said. “God, we came in here and I think we’ve proven that we’re a good team. We’re not going to hang our head. We’re going to get ourselves ready for the next game.”

The Pack will have to respond against one of the toughest defensive teams in the country in the Seminoles. Duke derailed guard Scott Wood (1 of 7 from the floor, 10 points) with a steady stream of double-teams coming off of screens.


“We just got a little riled up because they were making a run,” Brown said. “We should never do that, against any team, that’s how we lost the game.”

Composure will be key against the Noles, who have won two games at the buzzer this season, including Thursday’s late comeback at home to beat Virginia Tech.

Next game: N.C. State vs. No. 20 Florida State

Forward Richard Howell fouled out for the fourth time in ACC play Thursday night at Duke. He had company. Forward C.J. Leslie and guard C.J. Williams also fouled out for the Wolfpack, and all three spent a significant portion of the second half on State’s bench while Duke was making its comeback.

“I thought the story of the game, though, and I’m not knocking the officiating, I’m not blaming them, (was) our foul trouble,” coach Mark Gottfried said. “When we got into foul trouble and so much of it … it affected every part of the game for us.”
NC State Hosts No. 20 Florida State on Saturday

The Wolfpack have a quick turn around after Thursday’s Duke game, as it faces its second top-25 opponent in a three-day span when NC State hosts No. 20 Florida State on Saturday at the RBC Center at 1 p.m. Doors open 90 minutes prior to tip.

The Wolfpack are 27-20 in the series with the Seminoles, including a 14-7 mark at home and 6-4 at the RBC Center.

NC State has a tall order ahead of it versus FSU. The Seminoles have played the role of upset artists this season, knocking then-No. 3 North Carolina, 90-57, in Tallahassee and then within week, they upending then fourth-ranked Duke, 76-73, in Durham.

Saturday’s game can be seen on the ACC Network with Tom Werme and Mike Gminski on the call. Check you local listings for the channel in your area. Pack fans can also hear the game on the NC State Radio Network with Gary Hahn and Tony Hahn providing the descriptions and commentary on the action.

The Sports Xchange (
Previewing Florida State

TRENDING: Since taking over the team in 2002, coach Leonard Hamilton has taken Florida State from basketball purgatory the previous four years into national relevance.

In their history, the Seminoles have never reached the NCAA Tournament in four consecutive seasons, but they will this year, barring a major collapse. They had only two winning conference records — the first two years in the league — until Thursday’s win assured the fourth in a row, the fifth in seven years.

–at N.C. State, Feb. 18
This will be a difficult road game for the Seminoles. They will be facing the surprise team of the ACC. N.C. State has already attained its best conference record (7-4) in six seasons at this point. In FSU’s favor, however, is the fact the Wolfpack will be coming off an emotional showdown with neighboring rival Duke on Thursday in Cameron Indoor Stadium and won’t have much time to recover for a Saturday game.

The Wolfpack boast five of the ACC’s top scorers, led by guard Scott Wood. Inside, forward Richard Howell is third in the ACC in offensive and defensive rebounding. None of the Seminoles’ three remaining ACC road games (N.C. State, Miami, Virginia) are easy, but they are going to need at least one win, then hold serve at home to have any chance at finishing atop the ACC standings.
Gottfried: “We lost our aggressiveness”

Joe Ovies (
Foul ending for NC State

There are plenty of reasons why Duke was able to shake off another miserable start. The Wolfpack lost composure with each empty possession, while Duke grew stronger with defense and big shots. By the time Austin Rivers pulled off another Sub Zero finishing move with just over a minute left, NC State was cooked.

Fouls also factored into the equation. Well, at least that’s how most see it. Coach k had a different take on the situation.

“We were all in foul trouble,” said Krzyzewski after the game. “I don’t think it had anything to do with foul trouble.”

Clearly Krzyzewski’s tolerance for Duke’s “foul trouble” is different, but to say it didn’t have anything to do with the outcome of the game is disingenuous at best. Yes, the foul distribution between the Wolfpack and Devils was relatively even at 24 to 21. However, NC State’s starters accounted for 18 of those 24 fouls. Contrast that to Duke’s starters, who made up 10 of their 21 fouls.

Of Duke’s starters, only Tyler Thorton was in real foul trouble. Ryan Kelly came off the bench and also had 4 fouls, but he’ll be remembered mostly for getting dunked on by Lorenzo Brown. The Blue Devils have the depth to overcome his limited minutes. The impact of Calvin Leslie and Richard Howell picking up their 4th fouls is vastly different. C.J. Williams had 2 fouls in the box score 90 seconds into the contest and was limited to 12 minutes due to his early trouble. NC State was tentative due to the situation and Duke took advantage.

Eamonn Brennan (
College Basketball Bubble Watch

Point is, the NCAA does at least have these things in mind. David even sent along the committee’s sample composite rankings sheet, which includes the RPI ranks alongside KenPom, LRMC, Sagarin, and so forth. Encouraging email attachment, that. And at the end of the day, David’s right: The NCAA does a good job selecting and seeding the field each season, and when you’re dealing with large sets of numerical data spread across 70 or 80 teams, the immediate impact of each RPI number is certainly lessened. This isn’t life-or-death stuff. I get that.

Unfortunately, as long as the RPI underpins all the nitty-gritty sheets the committee uses to compare teams at a glance — as long as the main factors the NCAA considers (losses vs. sub-151 RPI, noncon SOS, top-50 wins, top-100 wins, and, you guessed it, RPI) are either the metric itself or based solely on it — it’s not exactly fair to say the RPI is just one more tool the committee considers. When the metric underpins everything the committee does, it isn’t just one tool. It’s the toolbox. As a fan of not merely information but good, accurate information, I think we can do better. Most fans seem to agree.

Atlantic Coast Conference
Teams that should be in: Florida State, Virginia
Work left to do: Miami (FL), North Carolina State

Oh, NC State. You were so close! On Thursday night at Duke, the Wolfpack very nearly notched the marquee win they needed to push them over the top in this bubble discussion. With 11:30 left in the game, NC State’s lead was 20. Yes, 20. Duke’s bad defense was back, NC State was taking advantage and woo! NCAA tournament here we come! And then, naturally, the wheels came off. Hopefully a few members of the selection committee a) watched the first 30 minutes before deciding to tuck in for the night and b) forget to check the scores Friday morning. That’s about the only positive possible here. Otherwise, this conference looks much like it did Tuesday, Thursday’s horrendous Florida State win notwithstanding.

Florida State [18-7 (9-2), RPI: 24, SOS: 19] After a brilliant run through the ACC over the past couple months, the Seminoles are beginning to show some cracks. There was the awful loss at BC, followed by the ugly-but-effective home win over Miami, followed by Thursday’s strange performance at home when the Noles needed a late push and a Michael Snaer 3 on the final possession to top a downright unfortunate Virginia Tech team 48-47 after trailing the entire game. But hey, in bubble terms, a win is only ever a win. The Seminoles have their flaws — both on the court and in their resume — but as far as tourney access goes, they’ll be just fine.

Virginia [19-6 (6-5), RPI: 40, SOS: 114] Two weeks ago, Virginia’s at-large profile looked essentially unassailable. No more. The Cavaliers lost 60-48 at Clemson on Wednesday night, easily their worst loss of the season. The RPI figure is still OK, the loss to TCU looks much better after the Horned Frogs’ win over UNLV this week and, you know, at the end of the day, UVa is still in pretty decent shape. Nor does the Cavs’ remaining schedule have many opportunities for perception-changing losses. (They also get UNC at home.) They’re still “should be in”-level here, and for good reason. But this profile isn’t so overwhelming good that Virginia can merely coast to the finish.

Miami (FL) [15-9 (6-5), RPI: 43, SOS: 25] The Hurricanes’ biggest profile problem is quality wins, and they missed two fantastic opportunities to get just that this week. First was Saturday’s close loss at FSU, a team that suddenly forgot (again) how to play offense, followed by Wednesday’s home date with UNC, in which Miami put up a legitimate fight but lost 73-64 all the same. Other than a Feb. 5 win at Duke (a marquee win if ever there was one), Miami’s best victory is still the one over UMass. The RPI and SOS numbers are really solid, but one win against the RPI top 50 won’t tell the committee much about this team’s NCAA tourney potential. The big-time opportunities are mostly behind them, but a 4-1 record going away (with a home win over FSU mixed in for good measure) would increase the optimism.

North Carolina State [18-8 (7-4), RPI: 49, SOS: 43] Oh, NC State. You know the drill by now: Improving young team playing well (and winning) against teams it should play well (and win) against. But the Wolfpack, like the Hurricanes, need a big win to boost their resume. Texas and Miami aren’t going to cut it. So when Mark Gottfried’s team led Duke for so long on Thursday night, the Watch thought this was it. This was the win to put this team over the top. Oh, the plaudits Gottfried would receive! And then it all fell apart and the Pack dropped to 2-6 against the top 50. This looks like a tournament team most of the time, but there’s still work to be done here.

CBS Sports
College Basketball Bubble Watch bracketologist Jerry Palm assesses the résumés of teams that may be sweating it out until Selection Sunday.

About 1.21 Jigawatts

Class of '98, Mechanical Engineer, State fan since arriving on campus and it's been a painful ride ever since. I live by the Law of NC State Fandom, "For every Elation there is an equal and opposite Frustration."

11-12 Basketball ACC College Basketball

21 Responses to Gameday Headlines — Pack vs. Noles

  1. primacyone 02/18/2012 at 8:52 AM #

    I think we should wear the black uniforms again today.

  2. Dogbreath 02/18/2012 at 8:52 AM #

    Still bitter, and utterly disgusted with this farce league.

  3. Rick 02/18/2012 at 9:48 AM #

    My prediction, FSU comes out of their shooting slump and the refs let FSU beat the crap out of us.

    It is what we are.

  4. wolfpack15 02/18/2012 at 9:49 AM #

    Primacyone…..I agree, they played with a whole different attitude about them in the black. They had a chip on their shoulder and a confidence about them. The black look good. I know the players loved it.

  5. redcanine 02/18/2012 at 9:55 AM #

    Scott Wood needs to show up this afternoon if we are to win.

  6. BJD95 02/18/2012 at 10:43 AM #

    Same here – I have no spirit today, just disgust for the rigged ACC. I wouldn’t be surprised to see us get a slew of calls today in a lame assed attempt to make things up to us. And hey, that opens up first place for the blues. I’m sure Swoffy would exclaim “everybody wins.”

    Makes me so mad I can hardly see straight. I won’t even be able to watch it all, shuttling kids to birthday parties. A little bit glad for that.

    On a positive note, the European Soccer Pack (Everton FC) are kicking arse in FA Cup action. 2-nil already.

  7. BJD95 02/18/2012 at 10:52 AM #

    I also couldn’t read anything in the paper today, and won’t be able to start an open game thread. I hope the team is in a better mental state than I am. Good thing MG has his finger on this group’s pulse.

    But if we have a bad effort today or down the stretch entirely…MG is still my COY and I won’t utter a word of criticism.

  8. gtspack 02/18/2012 at 11:00 AM #

    We need to get out and run like we did against duke and don’t give the criminoles time to set up there defense.

  9. bluelena69 02/18/2012 at 11:06 AM #

    Oh, we will probably win today. Florida State needs to be knocked down a notch so that the game between the blues can give ESPN that battle for the ACC title that you know they and the league are working towards. Thus, expect Florida State to somehow get hosed. That would work out really well for this farce of a league. ESPN gets the battle royale and we get that marquee win, and no one has really impacted the hierarchy.

  10. Baccapacker 02/18/2012 at 11:13 AM #

    I feel slightly better today than I did yesterday but not by much. The players attitudes are the only things that have lifted my spirits a little. They seem like they are ready to put Thursday behind them and I suppose its time for us to do the same. I cannot say enough how proud I am of this team, VERY PROUD. I am going to a pheasant shoot today and won’t be able to watch the game so pull us through SFN!

  11. BJD95 02/18/2012 at 11:16 AM #

    Name the first pheasant you shoot “Swofford” and the second “Clougherty.”

  12. gtspack 02/18/2012 at 11:18 AM #

    bluelena69, very good point. If we get the calls today it’s no longer a conspiracy theory it’s a fact. We should be playing with tons of confidence today knowing that we crushed duke on special K court when the game was called straight up.

  13. Texpack 02/18/2012 at 11:50 AM #

    All right guys, I’m tired of the whining attitude. I camped out for tickets in ’83 when we were 9-7. We have got to put Thursday night behind us and get fired up for today. This team is on the brink, so let’s stick with ’em and enjoy getting over the hump.

  14. JeremyH 02/18/2012 at 11:51 AM #

    I think that our performance the other night proves we are an NCAA tournament team.

    If we can keep that level of performance in the rest of the games, we will be set. My only concern is that they played the way they did only because we matched up well and it was an emotionally charged game. But I think our team showed Gottfried some things that he can work with and continue to develop.

    Oh and I hope we can see Duke again in the ACC tournament. Oh I would love to see that, maybe the refs can help set up such an exciting, profitable matchup.

  15. BJD95 02/18/2012 at 12:31 PM #

    Same pool of refs for the ACCT, I’m not optimistic. Just want to at least get to Friday. Saturday would be awesome.

    I still love this team, this stupid league has just ripped the heart and fun out of the season.

    Looking forward to a more equitable post-season, whether NIT or NCAAT.

  16. wirogers 02/18/2012 at 12:51 PM #

    BJD95, I agree with your thoughts, if (and that is still an if) we get to the NCAA and get a decent draw (the fourth seed draw). I can see us getting to the sweet 16. The biggest difference will be not having ACC refs and Howell being able to be the horse that he is.

    If we go to the NIT, I see us in Madison Garden.

    The thing here is, we get out of the ACC in these tournaments and we will do very well since we will get refs that allow you to play more.

    On another note, it would be interesting to see how many ACC refs were on games that were upsets in the tourney to see if their tight whistles maybe cost teams from other conferences that are used to a little more ‘let them play’ attitude.

  17. BJD95 02/18/2012 at 1:00 PM #

    And for the record – I usually hate blaming the refs, and chastise Pack fans for making too much of it. I hadn’t blamed the refs for a State loss since the Damon Thornton charge debacle in 2000.

    Thursday night was my breaking point. And no surprise that the guy who screwed us in 2000 is now in charge of ACC officiating.

  18. Rick 02/18/2012 at 1:09 PM #

    “I still love this team, this stupid league has just ripped the heart and fun out of the season.”

    I will watch but I am convinced the league is either crooked or completely inept.

  19. Primewolf 02/18/2012 at 1:15 PM #

    BDJ, I get a kick out of your posts. I am older than you and more tempered in my emotions, but I have felt like doing some target practice a la avatar.

    It did look like ref colllusion, but do you really think they actually do that. How would it not get out at some point. Book, interview, a ref that actually likes state.

    I have to hope it is just some bad officiating with some individual bias throw in, but not collusion.

    Anyway, we are not a strong finishing team. No one wants to take over. very weak FT shooting to end games. Has cost us a few. I only remember one close game we shot well at the line to win it. Otherwise it is choke city for more of our boys at the line late in the game with a L staring you in the face.

    I like our coach. He is great. Best speaker since V, hands down.

    I want to see some real fight and determination today. If we foul out,so be it. No hand dog, bad attitude, refs are out to get me (which plagues at least 2 of our best players). That attitude is just another way of giving up.

  20. old13 02/18/2012 at 1:20 PM #

    “Name the first pheasant you shoot “Swofford” and the second “Clougherty.” ”

    Pheasants are too pretty and regal for those names. Shoot a couple of buzzards instead!

    Keys to the game – 40 minutes of patience, toughness, good shot selection, and unrelenting D.

  21. BJD95 02/18/2012 at 1:45 PM #

    Just got home, glad our radio crew calls Calvin “Calvin.”

Leave a Reply