‘A sweet 16 without Rick Barnes is like basically every sweet 16’

Photo credit: Greg Mintel, NewsObserver.com

Ahhh….some fun stuff for an open entry for tonight’s late session of NCAA Tournament games.

If you are looking for A LOT of Wolfpack talk, then please spend some time on our message forums available by clicking here. The activity and conversation is very dynamic right now.

FWIW, Georgetown has opened as a four point favorite over the Wolfpack for Sunday’s Round of 32 game in Columbus, OH.

I enjoyed this (read more below):

If you follow our Twitter feed then I hope you saw the following observations:

NOT playing basketball that matters anymore in 2012 – Sean Miller, Brad Stevens, Rick Barnes, Gregg Marshall & Herb Sendek. #Gottfather

RT @tucker_andrew maybe Sean Miller & Rick Barnes can meet up this weekend & talk about how crappy the NC State job would’ve been

…now, if only Shaka Kahn would lose tomorrow…

NC State win not an ‘upset’ from Sports Illustrated. (Link)

When the Wolfpack was the last team named on Selection Sunday, they celebrated with a kind of joy rarely seen on Tobacco Road. Their neighbors, Duke and North Carolina, greet such news with a yawn and an expectation to reach the Final Four.

N.C. State has two national championship banners hanging in its own rafters but haven’t been a sure bet in the tournament for years. Wolfpack fans are demanding, their neighborhood exclusive. Gottfried is trying to turn those elements into a positive.

“It raises the bar for everything,” he said. “Our neighbors have been very good and for us it’s a challenge to raise [the bar] higher. We’ve got a hungry fan base. …I think all those things work in our favor.”

N.C. State is the underdog that doesn’t look like one. Or play like one. And may be around for a while.

Luke DeCock (News & Observer):

Only the NCAA thought the 11th-seeded Wolfpack’s 79-65 win over the sixth-seeded Aztecs was an upset. “Confidence” was the word most often mentioned afterward: How the team played with confidence and how the players credited the coaching staff for giving them confidence. It was a reminder of just how much had changed in less than a year.

“I believe in these guys, I really do,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “I have believed that if in fact they could do things the right way, defend the right way, execute offense at key times, that they had a chance. So it’s nice to see all that come together right now.”

If there’s one thing N.C. State’s program didn’t have when Gottfried walked in the door 11 months ago, it was confidence. The players had been beaten down by too many bad losses and unmet expectations.

Yet here they are, exceeding all expectations. Gottfried set the bar low over the summer, describing the talent on the team as “not great” and “not terrible,” but by the time ACC season rolled around, he was talking about the NCAA tournament. Now, the words “Final Four” keep popping out of his mouth with somewhat surprising regularity.


Just about everyone who filled out a bracket, from the President of the United States to the talking heads on television, had N.C. State advancing.

That didn’t put any more pressure on the Wolfpack, especially since Gottfried made sure his players understood the science behind such lofty predictions.

“You’ve got to remember I was two years in that business,” said Gottfried, who worked as an analyst for ESPN after resigning from Alabama in 2009. “I was on TV and what you learn is none of us knew much about anything anyway. We were just saying that.”

“I told them have fun with all that stuff, but the game is about what happens on the floor.”

What happened on the floor was a whole lot of 6-foot-9 Howell and 6-8 C.J. Leslie, combining for 37 points for N.C. State. When the Aztecs were able to effectively double sophomore Leslie, Howell stepped up. When Howell got into foul trouble in the second half, Leslie came through. It was too much for the Aztecs, who relinquished the lead with 5:47 to play in the first half and never led again.

Though San Diego State came into the contest as the more experienced team, they didn’t resemble the squad that made it to the Sweet 16 a year ago. Four of those starters were gone, either to graduation or the NBA.

N.C. State, in contrast, had little tournament experience — the Wolfpack’s last appearance was in 2006. But rather than being overwhelmed or nervous they seemed very much at home. Gottfried said that on Friday morning they were a little bit anxious but mostly giddy.

“They were excited,” he said. “I wasn’t going to curb that. I want them to be excited.”


It’s been a remarkable turnaround for the Wolfpack under Gottfried. They’ve improved by eight wins over last season, which ended with the firing of coach Sidney Lowe, and they made it to the NCAA tournament despite losing four in a row in February.

Howell, averaging 10.7 points a game, hit 7 of 9 shots—including some where he stepped outside to pour in jumpers.

“He does it all the time in practice,” said Brown, who also chipped in with eight assists. “I’m just glad he was hitting good shots. He was just feeling it, I guess.”

About StateFans

'StateFansNation' is the shared profile used by any/all of the dozen or so authors that contribute to the blog. You may not always agree with us, but you will have little doubt about where we stand on most issues. Please follow us on Twitter and FaceBook

11-12 Basketball

131 Responses to ‘A sweet 16 without Rick Barnes is like basically every sweet 16’

  1. LRM 03/16/2012 at 7:36 PM #

    Apparently Gott didn’t get the memo that you can’t win like this so soon.

  2. StateFans 03/16/2012 at 7:41 PM #

    I admit that I put a filter on Gottfried’s email when he took the job that blocked all communications from Lee Fowler, Jim Oblinger, and Bob Kennel.

  3. CaptainCraptacular 03/16/2012 at 7:47 PM #

    cnnsi.com has had a number of really positive articles toward us lately. Good stuff.

  4. Clarksa 03/16/2012 at 7:47 PM #

    I’m confused, I really thought you couldn’t win until you got all of “your players” into the program…like year 4 or 5?

  5. Hawkeye Whitney 03/16/2012 at 7:49 PM #

    This team is a lot of fun right now because of the balance we have on the offensive end. Howell went off today. Sunday it could be Leslie or Wood or Brown, or hopefully some combination. In a tournament like this with very little time to prepare for the next opponent, this can really work to our advantage. If Georgetown is doing a lot of prep for the Howell threat, from what they just witnessed, they may allocate too much defensive attention to him, and then get burned by one of our other guys. “Balance” is my new favorite buzzword. Beats the heck out of “Bubble”.

  6. StateFans 03/16/2012 at 7:53 PM #

    Clarksa…more like year 6 or 7

  7. Wufpacker 03/16/2012 at 7:57 PM #

    Hope Purdue can hang on. Meant to change that pick before the deadline and forgot.

  8. tuckerdorm1983 03/16/2012 at 7:58 PM #

    if you had told me at the end of last season after we lost to Maryland in the ACCT 67-75 going 15-16 overall 5-11 in the conference that we would take that team minus tracy smith and be playing to go into the sweet 16 of the NCAAT I would have told you you were “f#$K*&g sh$tfaced howling at the moon crazy”

  9. MrPlywood 03/16/2012 at 8:02 PM #

    Holy crap Norfolk St.! Just got in and boom! my brackets are hammered… I had Mizz going a long way in all my brackets.

  10. Hawkeye Whitney 03/16/2012 at 8:07 PM #

    I believe I can replace a basketball net faster than the guy at the Greensboro coliseum.

  11. Wufpacker 03/16/2012 at 8:13 PM #

    Best part about playing early and winning is seeing the score go by repeatedly for the rest of the day.

  12. Sweet jumper 03/16/2012 at 8:13 PM #

    Praise and accolades to DY. Thanks for trying on Barnes and Miller to appease us. Huge thanks for then bringing in Gottfried. Little did we know, but he really was THE best fit for this job.

  13. Sweet jumper 03/16/2012 at 8:14 PM #

    Dook is in a dogfight.

  14. motorhead 03/16/2012 at 8:17 PM #

    The Clemson loss was only 20 days ago. Hard to believe.

  15. projectwentynine 03/16/2012 at 8:17 PM #

    Wouldn’t trade Gottfried for any of those guys, especially Shaka Smart. Never understood the love affair with him. Strikes me as more of a race-obsessed, attention-starved flash in the pan than an ideal representative of the university and coach capable of positioning the program for sustained success.

    On another note, Duke being a 2 seed is a laugh, but I never dreamed they would be exposed this early. Would love to see them lose tonight, and be revealed as the fraud they are. #NonpreferentialOfficiating

  16. Hawkeye Whitney 03/16/2012 at 8:25 PM #

    Alert – K is considering abandoning his all-flop strategy and begin playing basketball.

  17. packfanatic 03/16/2012 at 8:27 PM #

    What a great effort by this team today! While watching today and catching a glimpse of the LC on our jerseys, I couldn’t help but think Lorenzo Charles’s spirit was right there with the team…… and we all remember what he did!

    It’s great to be a Pack fan!

  18. Wufpacker 03/16/2012 at 8:32 PM #

    Right now, K’s team is doing little more than the Sendek weave and heave.

  19. Wulfpack 03/16/2012 at 8:35 PM #

    Rick Barnes stinks in the NCAA tourney. Gott does not. There, I said it!

  20. Hawkeye Whitney 03/16/2012 at 8:36 PM #

    K scratching his head and saying, “this is Greensboro, isn’t it; where are my ACC refs?”

  21. Rick 03/16/2012 at 8:38 PM #

    McCollum can play

    If you see a player go down hard it will be followed by “foul on Thornton”

  22. Rick 03/16/2012 at 8:39 PM #

    these have to be ACC refs. They are giving Duke everything

  23. redcanine 03/16/2012 at 8:41 PM #

    Lehigh’s cheerleaders look nothing like the Colorado cutie at the top of the page.

  24. Sweet jumper 03/16/2012 at 8:42 PM #

    K is looking for Gaudet to take this loss on his record rather than K’s:)

  25. Rick 03/16/2012 at 8:46 PM #

    Lehigh of all teams is exposing Duke’s lack of athletic ability

Leave a Reply