February 7, 2012
NC STATE BASKETBALL
The Sports Xchange (FoxSportsSouth.com)
Gottfried, Wolfpack facing depth issues
The Wolfpack is relying on a few players to carry a big load, and it’s worth monitoring.
Coach Mark Gottfried said he would have liked to have developed more depth, but the Wolfpack is limited in that category. Only seven players have been used in each of the last three games, including in the rematch with Wake Forest when N.C. State’s largest lead was 14 points in an eventual 87-76 victory.
So this might be a good part of the schedule for the Wolfpack, which plays only two games during a 12-day stretch.
It’s unclear how the extended minutes for the starters might eventually take a toll. Forward Richard Howell has had some of his minutes reduced by foul troubles, but that wasn’t a problem against Wake Forest and he checked in with a season-high 36 minutes. He had gone nine consecutive games without reaching the 30-minute mark, then played 35 minutes at Boston College in the game before Wake Forest.
N.C. State might be steering clear of trouble considering it has won five of its last seven games, with one of the losses by one point to nationally ranked Virginia.
Guard Lorenzo Brown is the most-used player as he’s logging slightly more than 33 minutes per game. Apparently, his workload isn’t about to be reduced; in the team’s 24th game, a victory against Wake Forest on Saturday, he posted a season-high 38 minutes.
The players don’t seem to mind. They’ve pointed out that they’ve become accustom to the heavy-duty minutes.
The Wolfpack is trying to use G Scott Wood as much as possible as a primary offensive weapon. Wood has pointed out the need to work harder to find openings, but the commitment to go to him is there if he does his part. With a season-high six 3-point baskets (on 10 attempts) Saturday against Wake Forest, Wood isn’t shy about launching those shots. This could be a sign that he’s coming out of a big shooting funk — he entered the game a combined 8 for 24 in the three previous games.
Gottfried: Pack Must Keep Winning Games
Coach, the first time you played Georgia Tech, what are the things that stand out that perhaps you’d like to change for the coming game? Was there anything they did in particular that you’ll be more concentrated on this time?
I think there were two things. I think one they made a lot of shots. We did not defend them well. They made some open shots and they also made a lot of tough shots.
Then on our end of the floor, I thought we executed as poorly as we have in a long time. We mishandled the ball. Dribbled it out of bounds, we bobbled passes so the combination of those two things spelled for a bad day for us.
As a guy that was a commentator last year, if you were standing on the outside looking at N.C. State right now, what would you say is their strongest thing and what would you say you have to do to make the image better?
Well, we played a great schedule in the non-league, which was good.
Obviously you have to keep winning games. It’s fun for the commentators to talk about who is going to get in the tournament in the second week of February. But the way to get in the tournament is to win games. Everybody that’s in the tournament every year, they’ve played their way in. They’ve earned the right. So that’s what we have to do.
James Henderson (PackPride.com)
Brown Bounces Back
What is up with Lorenzo Brown? That is the question a lot of NC State fans were asking after a four-game stretch where Brown didn’t seem like his normal self.
What is up with Lorenzo Brown?
That was the question a lot of NC State fans were asking after a four-game stretch where Brown didn’t seem like his normal self.
The struggles for the sophomore point guard started after the Wolfpack’s January 19th win over Boston College where he totaled nine points, 11 assists, and three steals in the victory.
Over his next four games, Brown averaged just 7.2 points and 5.8 assists, below his season averages, but even more troubling was the high number of turnovers. He had five, five, four, and five turnovers respectively in those games… the first time all year he had at least five turnovers in a game.
“I’m very proud of Lorenzo,” said Gottfried after the [Wake Forest] win. “Lorenzo hasn’t played as good the last couple of games. It was nice to see him play better and play with confidence. I thought that was important today.
“In the Virginia game and the BC game, both games were slow, slugfest-type games and he didn’t really get out and run. He walks away thinking he’s just not playing well, and he’s down. I was happy for him today. He pushed tempo, got out in the break. He made a couple of great plays. I think he had seven or eight assists at he half. I thought that was key.”
“I’m proud of [Lorenzo] because he kind of got down on himself a little bit and he picked himself back up this game,” added senior guard C.J. Williams. “I just kept talking to him, telling him to fight through it because that’s how basketball goes.”
Neil Morris (indyweek.com)
The Ballad of Bzdelik: Scott Woodâ€™s sharpshooting propels N.C. State over Wake Forest 87-76
Frankly, the big story would have been if Wake Forestâ€”losers of seven of their last nine games, including a 36-point drubbing by N.C. State three weeks ago in Winston-Salemâ€”had beaten the Wolfpack in Raleigh Saturday afternoon. In fairness, the Demon Deacons made N.C. State work for todayâ€™s 87-76 win, a common refrain for a Wolfpack squad that hasnâ€™t notched an easy victory since, well, three weeks ago against Wake Forest.
Instead, my takeaway from will be something far more mundane and perplexing. In a world where â€œcoach-speakâ€ and â€œplayer-speakâ€ are the order of the day, the postgame press conference performance by Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik was an exercise in existentialism. There was no ranting or raving, no wild-eyed lunacy, and no pronounced expressions of madness. Just a slowly simmering attempt to find meaning in athletic existence in the wake of losing one of the few conference games this year that the Wake gaffer thought was there for the taking. Iâ€™ve titled it â€œThe Ballad of Bzdelik.â€
[After a reporter pointed out that State went on runs of 12-0, 20-4, 13-2 and 11-2 over the course of the game] â€œThat 12-0 run, the 7-point play was part of it, okay? And our radio people told us if you take away those runs that we outscored them by 19. So, yeah, they had too many runs on us, and as I watch this film on the bus ride home Iâ€™ll see thatâ€¦we just canâ€™t have three guys getting back in transition. Itâ€™s got to be all five guys sprinting back in transitionâ€¦and not only do we have to sprint back but we have to be smart in how we get back.â€â€”Bzdelik
In other words, to paraphrase Mr. Bzdelik, if you take away all the times N.C. State was outscoring Wake, Wake would have won the game. Uh, sureâ€¦ Of course, that analysis does not take into account the fact that Wake opened the game with a 14-7 run, or that it opened the second half with a 17-8 run that knotted the score at 50-50 with 13 minutes left to play.
However, N.C. State, facing another wake-up call, went on the aforementioned 13-2 run to forge another 11-point gap. But wouldnâ€™t you know, Wake would find anotherâ€¦run to cut the lead to five with six minutes left. However, State would find one more gear, pushing the lead to 14 with 3:47 left thanks to four points from C.J. Leslie and three straight midrange jumpers from Williams, each of whom finished with 18 points for the game.
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
After Words In A Complete Moron: This Week In Keeping It Heel
Following that paragraph, our dude somehow takes exception to that awkward-but-hilarious retort from Wood about how frustrating it is to keep losing to Carolina.
My favorite part of it all, Wood is a 20 year old that has never been married in his life. So he has absolutely no clue what it would be like to have his wife cheat on him. He went on to say that the loss was 90% NC State not playing well. Which is a direct implication that he feels Carolina was only responsible for 10% of the win. In other words, this guy in a complete and utter moron.(Emphasis mine.)
Right, Scott Wood has never been married, which is why he said it’s probably like having your wife cheat on you. Probably, as in, I have no idea what that feels like, but I imagine it could be similar, and also this is entirely beside the point, rendered null and void on account of the fact that who the fuck cares.
Joe Lunardi (ESPN.com)
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
BEYOND THE ARC: Overtimes, ugly wins and the end of a rivalry
4. C.J.â€™s big weekend: Friday night, N.C. State senior C.J. Williams had his number retired by his high school in Fayetteville. Saturday afternoon, still admittedly reflecting on the honor, he scored 18 points â€“ including six straight in a decisive late run â€“ to lead the Wolfpack to an 87-76 win against Wake Forest.
3. Close, but no cigar: Six of Virginiaâ€™s first eight ACC games have been decided in the final 30 seconds, including Saturdayâ€™s 58-55 loss at Florida State. The Cavaliers are now 3-3 in those games. Overall, their four losses this season have come by a combined total of just 10 points.
4. Hensonâ€™s dunk slammed: John Henson said afterward that he was simply acting on instinct when he punctuated UNCâ€™s 83-74 win Saturday by dunking on Marylandâ€™s Alex Len in the final seconds. No matter. Terps coach Mark Turgeon was visibly upset by the play, saying afterward heâ€™d remember it for future reference. â€œIt comes around,â€ he said.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
â€œThereâ€™s an old saying in the NBA: You give respect by showing no respect. You all can figure out what that phrase really means. Last time we played N.C. State we did not respect them because we didnâ€™t play hard and we didnâ€™t compete. Thatâ€™s a heck of a statement for a coach to make, but thatâ€™s the truth. I remember Michael Jordan saying one time that heâ€™s had some rookies play him where they didnâ€™t want to touch him, they feared him and didnâ€™t guard him. And Michael said: â€˜Youâ€™re not even respecting me because you wonâ€™t compete against me.â€™ But if you get somebody out there whoâ€™s just battling and giving everything youâ€™ve got and still you come up short, you know what? Doesnâ€™t your opponent respect you? So you give respect by showing no respect. You go out there and you battle.â€ Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik after Saturdayâ€™s loss at N.C. State.
Andrew Jones (FoxSportsSouth.com)
ACC basketball report card
NC State – Grade: B.
In the past, N.C. State would have fallen at hapless BC during the week, but Mark Gottfriedâ€™s team made plays down the stretch and picked up the crucial win, as it would have been an incredibly damaging loss. State then did enough to beat Wake Forest. Wins are wins, and the Pack is accumulating them. (Associated Press)
Robbi Pickeral (ESPN.com)
Conference Power Rankings: ACC
4. Virginia: The Cavs recorded a season-high 20 turnovers in their loss to Florida State, which they blamed more on their execution than the Seminolesâ€™ defense. Senior Mike Scott continues to impress, as Virginiaâ€™s four losses this season have come by a combined 10 points.
5. Miami: It took three overtime periods — two versus Maryland, one at Duke — to extend the Hurricanesâ€™ winning streak to four, and in so doing, theyâ€™re pushing their way back into the NCAA conversation. Sundayâ€™s win marked Miamiâ€™s first at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and only its second win over the Blue Devils since joining the ACC.
6. NC State: Scott Wood made six 3-pointers in the Packâ€™s victory against Wake Forest. Most notably, he did it in his home arena, the RBC Center — although he told The News & Observer he prefers playing on the road. “Anytime you have fans talking trash, it raises your game.”
7. Maryland: The Terps gave the Tar Heels all they could handle on Saturday, even leading by as many as nine points in the second half before UNC rallied. Guard Terrell Stoglin continues to lead the ACC in scoring, but Maryland has now lost five of its past six games.
8. Clemson: The Tigers lost both their games last week and also lost forward Milton Jennings, who was suspended for the second time this season, this time for academic reasons. Heâ€™s out indefinitely, meaning the Tigers lose an average of 8.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
ACC power rankings moving forward from the halfway point
4. Virginia (18-4, 5-3)
Cavaliers showed toughness by erasing second-half deficit of 13 points in Tallahassee, Fla., before losing 58-55 to Florida State
5. N.C. State (17-7, 6-3)
Wolfpack, fourth in the ACC standings, entering difficult stretch with trip to Atlanta, followed by games against Duke, Florida State and North Carolina
6. Miami (14-7, 5-3)
Hurricanes started ACC play 0-2, with only loss in last six games coming against N.C. State, and five of their final eight games are at home
7. Maryland (13-9, 3-5)
After quiet six-game stretch, 7-foot-1 freshman Alex Len averaged 11.5 points, 8.0 rebounds in tight losses at Miami (two OTs) vs. North Carolina
8. Virginia Tech (13-10, 2-6)
Freshman forward Dorian Finney-Smith ended 0-for-25 shooting slump with 12-point, eight-rebound outing in win against Clemson
Watch The Mark Gottfried TV Show
In this week’s episode, Head basketball coach Mark Gottfried discusses the Wake Forest and Boston College games with host Tony Haynes. Mark Thomas visits with junior forward Scott Wood.
Riddick & Reynolds
The R&R Podcast: Episode 37
We had a jam-packed episode this week.
In segment one, Chucky Brown joined us on-site and Dereck Whittenburg via Skype to discuss the Wake Forest game and the forthcoming ESPN 30-For-30 special on the 1983 title team.
Chucky sticks around for the first part of the second segment to discuss the following photo with its photographer, Roger Winstead:
Heather Dinich (ESPN.com)
ACC pre-spring Power Rankings
The early NFL draft hopefuls have gone, the early enrollees have arrived, and recruiting classes have been added that could have an impact on the 2012 ACC race. Considering all of the offseason shuffling that has gone on, itâ€™s time for an updated yet still way-too-early look at how the ACC could stack up this season:
1. Florida State: The Noles brought in the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation, including the No. 1 defensive end, the No. 1 defensive tackle, and the No. 1 quarterback. Not to mention the abundance of talent they return from last seasonâ€™s nine-win team. Not only will FSU be better in 2012, but it will also be deeper and more talented.
2. Clemson: The Tigers have the No. 9 ranked class in the country, and they used it to fill some major needs up front. Clemsonâ€™s biggest obstacle this fall will be replacing three starters on both the offensive and defensive lines. Quarterback Tajh Boyd has enough skill players around him, though, that the Tigers can repeat as ACC champs.
3. Virginia Tech: The Hokies also have some big shoes to fill on the offensive line and with the early departure of running back David Wilson to the NFL, but the staff lured in a top 25 recruiting class complete with some impressive running backs to rebuild the depth at the position. Virginia Techâ€™s best asset heading into 2012 will be one of the nationâ€™s best defenses.
4. NC State: The Wolfpack can be a dark horse for the ACC title, especially if it stays healthy. Quarterback Mike Glennon should be one of the best in the league, four starters return on the offensive line, and this recruiting class gave the defensive line some old-school speed off the edge.
9. North Carolina: First-year coach Larry Fedora has the energy, but does he have enough time? Fedora said he wants to change everything at UNC, from the personnel to the philosophy and the culture. Heâ€™ll switch schemes on both offense and defense, but is the offseason enough time to do that and make Carolina a contender in the Coastal race?