Monday Musings

ncsu bball logo

Joe Giglio (N&O)
NC State’s Tyler Lewis: ‘I know I can play at this level’

Lewis’ best talent is making other players better, which is difficult to do in limited minutes. He made State’s offense go on Saturday with a variety of drives and creative passes. It was the type of performance Lewis produced regularly in high school for Forsyth Country Day and Oak Hill.

“It felt good to get out there and get into the flow game,” Lewis said. “I know I can play at this level, just proving a lot of people wrong was a great opportunity.”


The question now is how will Gottfried use Lewis going forward? Brown hasn’t practiced since Tuesday but warmed up on Saturday and tried to play. He’ll get another four days of rest before N.C. State goes to Duke.

The preseason hope and plan was to plug Lewis into Alex Johnson’s backup role from last season. Johnson played both guard spots and could be effective in spurts. Lewis plays better with more leeway; something Gottfried hasn’t been reluctant to give him. Gottfried sounded as if he would re-evaluate the rotation once Brown returns to the lineup.

“I think maybe the positive from this is we learned something, too, that he’s ready to go,” Gottfried said.

Brett Friedlander (
Lewis’ inspired play provides silver lining to frustrating Wolfpack loss

It took a few possessions for the Wolfpack’s offense to establish a flow, but once it did the entire complexion of the game changed. The pace picked up, the ball began finding its way into the right people’s hands in the right places and the crowd and on the strength of a 17-5 run, State turned a nine-point deficit into a three-point.

And Lewis was the catalyst.

“He did really good controlling the game and controlling the tempo and filling the shoes of Lorenzo,” Purvis said.

“He played extremely well for us,” teammate Scott Wood added. “We all knew he was capable of that.”

Lewis was so effective in running the offense that he never came out of the game again. His 36 minutes Saturday were just two fewer than he had logged in his team’s first eight ACC games combined.

Gottfried had so much confidence in Lewis that by his team’s final possession, with State nursing a one-point lead, he actually called a play that resulted in the freshman taking a 15-foot jumper. Even though Lewis missed, Gottfried said it was a shot with which he was “comfortable.”


“It was fun because I knew what I had to do out there,” Lewis said. “I had to prove to all the people that haven’t seen me play because I haven’t played a lot of minutes. After this I think I proved a lot of people wrong.”

In the process, Lewis may have earned some more playing time from here on out. – even if Brown his healthy and back in the lineup starting with Thursday’s game against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“Sometimes it’s not what a player isn’t doing is the reason why they’re not playing, it’s just that somebody else is playing pretty well – which Lorenzo has been playing, maybe at the top of his game,” Gottfried said. “Maybe we learned today, now we’ve learned Tyler can play more, maybe rest Zo more. Maybe there’s a positive in there for us.”
THE AFTERMATH: Takeaways from NC State’s loss to Miami

When will things start to fall NC State’s way? Ever? The Pack fought hard and freshman Tyler Lewis had a great coming out part in the absence of Lorenzo Brown, but once again the Wolfpack goes home heartbroken after they make a defensive stop on the final play of the game, only to have someone tip it in with less than a second to play. It’s like, we all knew what was going to happen. Something strange that would lead to some weird garbage bucket by Miami as time expired. Low and behold, it happened and the Pack now find themselves at 5-4, sitting in the middle of the Pack in the ACC.

‘Our Take’ on the loss:
– One problem I’m seeing, and it’s starting to be glaring in the second half, is that when State is really taking their leads in the first half, they are very versatile and everyone is touching the basketball. In the second half you’re seeing State really rely too much on Leslie. They’ve done this in every second half collapse and it’s not because of Leslie. He’s getting doubled and tripled, and he’s usually making the right play, but teams expect this. They’re ready for it and it causes State to go stagnant. Why is the Pack not relying more on Howell in the second half? He’s had monster first halfs all season, but the deeper you go into a ball game, the less you see Howell touch the basketball. I think this is just one thing that’s being missed by a lot of people. Howell, not only score, but he can pass. He gets to the line and he can also bury the 15 footer. Why NC State chooses to become so one dimensional late in the game is beyond me. They are so easy to guard because they get so predictable. They look for Wood or they go to Leslie, that’s it. Tyler Lewis added a go-to guy late in this game, but still no plays for Howell to be isolated. I’m not saying you go to Howell every time, but I am saying that you work him into the game plan a little more in the second half.

-Now it’s time to get real. This loss hurts. This loss sends NC State right into the middle of the pack in the ACC with a road game at Duke on the way. This COULD mean that NC State is 5-5 heading into a road game at Clemson. This team is better than that and although they are very close to being 8-2 with the ball bouncing different a few times, they’re not. This means they need to start getting real. It’s not play time anymore, it’s time to really get it together and make a run. They have to suck it up and put teams away or they’ll find themselves on the bubble once again in March.

Mark Gottfried Quotes

On The Game Overall:
“It’s hard. It’s tough. I feel bad for our players right now because I feel like they competed really hard. Different guys had to step up at different times and they did. I thought our effort was phenomenal and sometimes it just comes down to the bounce of the ball, they made a great tip-in. You have to give Reggie Johnson credit for that. Rodney (Purvis) played really good defense that last possession. (Shane) Larkin got a tough shot up. It just sometimes comes down to the bounce of the ball in the game of basketball. The ball comes right off the front of the rim and it’s right there for Johnson and he makes a nice play. Our guys’ effort was unbelievable. I’m proud of our effort and one thing I told our team was if they compete like that every night this thing will turn. We’ve lost four conference games now by 1, 1, 2 and 3. Sometimes it’s just a play and now we’ve got to bounce back and get ready to play next week. I loved our effort tonight.”

On Playing Zone Defense:
“I really liked it. I thought it helped us. The only problem with it was that late in the game Larkin was able to come off of some of those high ball screens and it’s tough to help off of those, but our zone was good there was no question about it. We changed our defense a lot and I thought that helped us. They got comfortable going against our man defense and they went right inside to Johnson, (Julian) Gamble and (Kenny) Kadji. We had a little trouble with that, but our guys did a good job. We kept adjusting and our players were able to stay right with a lot of things that we wanted to do. We came back and put ourselves in position to win, we just have to be better with the lead.”


acc basketball logo

Adam Gold (
Even in a loss, there is a win

The Wolfpack were stunned near the buzzer by Miami, 79-78 at PNC Arena in the finale of the Triangle Triple-header. Let’s channel the words and thoughts of Sidney Lowe for a second and recognize that there are days when basketball truly is a game of runs. The Hurricanes led 17-8 after a little more than six minutes were gone. State then countered with a 24-9 surge over the next 9:33 to lead 32-26. Then, with 14 minutes left, freshman guard Tyler Lewis completed a 3-point play giving the Wolfpack a 54-44 lead and PNC Arena was vibrating. But, the Canes hit six of their next seven shots and responded with a 24-8 run over a seven-minute span that had Miami ahead, 68-62 with 7:09 left in the game.

Stay with me, people. The roller coaster ride isn’t over.
State, behind Rodney Purvis and Calvin Leslie, outscored the Hurricanes 14-3 over the next five minutes and led by five with just over two minutes to play. Unfortunately, the last burst belonged to The U, and when Reggie Johnson tipped home Shane Larkin’s miss with 0.8 seconds on the clock, NC State was left wanting with their second last-second loss in conference play. In fact, the Wolfpack’s four losses in the ACC have come by a combined seven points. Still, at 5-4, NC State isn’t close to where this team needed to be heading to Cameron Indoor Stadium where Duke will be seeking revenge from their loss in Raleigh, but more-importantly trying to maintain contact with 8-0 Miami in the standings.

At the start, I mentioned that in a way, even though all three locals didn’t win, I could argue that all three were winners. Here’s why…Thanks to Lorenzo Brown’s ankle injury — and the Wolfpack’s slow start with Rodney Purvis trying handle point guard duties — Mark Gottfried was forced to use Tyler Lewis for 36 minutes. Quickly though, the term “forced” became inaccurate, because it was obvious that with Lewis on the floor NC State looked once again like a formidable offensive team. Lewis just knows how to play the point, and while he still got himself in trouble with over aggressive play at times, he made a lot more positive plays than negative ones. In the end, his line looked impressive with 16 points, five assists and just one turnover, but the most important gain was the amount of confidence in him that his head coach realized over the 36-minute performance that nearly produced a win in a great college basketball environment.

Lewis’ afternoon, even in a loss, and even with the knowledge that he’s got a lot of work to do on the defensive end of the court, should expand State’s bench rotation to seven serious contributors. Lewis’ emergence should also allow Gottfried to play him alongside Brown and allow Brown to play off the ball some to take advantage of his offensive creativity from the wing. Even in the loss, and the loss hurts, Lewis’ play should give Wolfpack fans a little silver lining to take forward.

It won’t completely mask the fact that they’re potentially staring at a .500 conference record with eight games left to play — a situation that they have only themselves and their focus-free play on too many nights to blame — but, when you project ahead, it just might be the difference between ending the season in March or April. Every once in a while the one step back allows you to take two steps forward.

Barry Jacobs (
ACC Down, Or On The Rebound?

Here’s where a long view brings a bit of solace, even if you stipulate the ACC is not enjoying a vintage season and hasn’t really been the same since expanding a decade ago.

The region’s sports media began clamoring for an upgrade in coaches about the time the ACC started losing its annual challenge series with the Big 10.

No doubt it was a coincidence, but that’s when athletic directors began purging ACC coaching ranks. Since 2009-10, nine of 12 conference programs brought in new coaches.

Most have been impressive.

From Steve Dohanue at Boston College to Brad Brownell at Clemson, Jim Larranaga at Miami to Mark Gottfried at N.C. State, newcomers immediately won with inherited talent.

To sustain success, a coach needs to install his own system and to populate his roster with players who fit his preferred style. That usually takes a full cycle of recruits; only Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, UNC’s Roy Williams, and FSU’s Leonard Hamilton have been at their present posts even four full seasons.

Given time, then, the recent influx of coaches promises better results across the board for the ACC. Meanwhile an immediate boost is on the near horizon, thanks to the league’s football-centric expansionism.

Next season nationally prominent Pittsburgh and Syracuse join the ACC. Louisville and Notre Dame are waiting in the wings, even as Maryland is poised to fly the coop.

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."

12-13 Basketball College Basketball

40 Responses to Monday Musings

  1. tractor57 02/04/2013 at 5:35 AM #

    Disappointed with the loss of course but seeing Lewis play well on the big stage was a bright spot.

  2. wolfonthehill 02/04/2013 at 6:24 AM #

    I’m not sure we “rely” on Leslie too much in the 2nd half, as much as Calvin decides that he’s going to just go to the hoop or jack a 15-footer every time he touches it. When it works, it’s fine… but oh, the turnovers…

  3. Tuffy2 02/04/2013 at 6:33 AM #

    I understand what you are saying about being one dimensional on offense in the second half with Leslie being the go-to guy. In the same breath I have to say the freshmen are contributing and of course Wood whenever he can get open. Howell is hitting the boards hard but a lot of this is due to Leslie not giving up the ball.
    It is great when it works or scores and sucks when he dribbles too much and loses it. I see him at times bringing the ball up the court and I’m saying to myself we have a PG you know.

  4. bill.onthebeach 02/04/2013 at 6:34 AM #

    “Lewis’ best talent is making other players better,” (Giglio).

    ^This is What wolfpack basketball has been missing / waiting for… for years
    Stats don’t matter nearly as much as ^this…

    Can anybody name the last Wolfpack bball player that anybody said ^this about ???

    Now I’m going to at least partially define ‘better”..
    every time down the floor on Offense, Tyler ….

    1. pushed both the defense and, just as importantly IMO, his teammates, to play at his pace.

    2. distributed the ball evenly among his teammates.

    3. scored enough points himself to keep the Defense honest.

    4. made a minimum of ‘mistakes’.

    5. held his own on the defensive end of the floor.

    ^this is what point guards are supposed to do…. every night.

    Now I don’t expect Tyler to maintain a 6 to 1 Turnover to Assist ratio in the process… and there will be some opponent’s point guard who light ups for twenty….Tyler’s going to have off nights just like anybody else… but even on the off nights ^this will still be true.

    And ^this is why we will see Tyler and Brown on the floor together soon… they will both be starting by Tournament time.


    Footnote: Why is nobody talking about why ‘a good shooting Canes squad went 3 for 18 from three point land…. Either our perimeter defense ain’t as bad as some people think… or the difference was Tyler plus a little 2/3 zone …. go figure….

  5. graywolf 02/04/2013 at 6:56 AM #

    We lose at Duke and Clemson and we are 5-6. We keep this up and we are looking at a selection sunday of sweating bullets again.

  6. Wulfpack 02/04/2013 at 7:06 AM #

    It is time to take care of business. I hope we can compete hard at Duke and come out with a W, but we know how hard that is. But then it is time to get down and dirty. Need to go on a nice run to put a little space between us and bubble land. I don’t think it should be a problem, but now is the time.

  7. 1.21 Jigawatts 02/04/2013 at 7:46 AM #

    1. Bubble Talk:

    Please refer to VAWolf’s great article about clearing the bubble.

    As of Sunday NC State was sitting at a RPI of 21 per CBS Sports. The Pack will play at #1 RPI Duke next. Even a loss shouldn’t drop them down but 1 at most. The RPI schedule gets a lot easier after that with only 3 out of 8 games against teams in the Top 100 (@UNC – 33, H/A FSU – 62).

    So frankly the worry about sweating out selection sunday is overblown since it would take a complete meltdown of biblical proportion (…dogs and cats living together…) by this team to not get an at large bid. At that point would anyone really be worried about the NCAAT over what had gone wrong with the team/staff??

    2. Second Half failures:

    Let’s take a look at the Pack’s Defensive efficiencies (# of Possessions) by half during the 9 ACC games:

    @BC (W) .1st: 91.3 (30.7) …. 2nd: 125.3 (35.9)
    GT (W)…. 1st: 107.6 (35.3) .. 2nd: 84.5 (37.9)
    DU (W)…. 1st: 110.3 (35.4) … 2nd: 101.5 (36.5)
    @MD (L). 1st: 66.8 (32.9) ….. 2nd: 91.1 (31.8)
    CU (W)…. 1st: 86.1 (30.2) ….. 2nd: 116.5 (30.9)
    @WF (L). 1st: 96.1 (36.4) ….. 2nd: 131.3 (38.8)
    UNC (W).. 1st: 74.2 (35.1) ….. 2nd: 125.9 (45.3)
    @UVA (L) 1st: 75.9 (31.6) ….. 2nd: 109.5 (31.0)
    UM (L)….. 1st: 95.7 (35.5) ….. 2nd: 145.6 (30.9)

    Anyone noticing a trend here?

    For those who’d like to know how State did offensively during those halves here you go:

    @BC (W) .1st: 94.5 (30.7) …. 2nd: 136.4 (35.9)
    GT (W)…. 1st: 104.7 (35.3) .. 2nd: 121.5 (37.9)
    DU (W)…. 1st: 116.0 (35.4) … 2nd: 117.9 (36.5)
    @MD (L). 1st: 48.6 (32.9) ….. 2nd: 106.8 (31.8)
    CU (W)…. 1st: 112.5 (30.2) … 2nd: 103.5 (30.9)
    @WF (L). 1st: 129.0 (36.4) … 2nd: 95.3 (38.8)
    UNC (W).. 1st: 128.3 (35.1) … 2nd: 101.6 (45.3)
    @UVA (L) 1st: 98.1 (31.6) ….. 2nd: 77.3 (31.0)
    UM (L)….. 1st: 112.6 (35.5) … 2nd: 122.9 (30.9)

  8. sjmac11 02/04/2013 at 7:47 AM #

    I think we’re all over the “tease” the national media gave us filling us with hopes of being a dominate team. Time to stop expecting as fans and get behind the team like they’re the underdog everytime out.

  9. coach13 02/04/2013 at 8:40 AM #

    Agree sjmac11…and the players need to start playing like underdogs…time to develop a chip and play a little pissed.

  10. fullmoon1 02/04/2013 at 9:10 AM #

    I do not understand or agree with gotts call at the end of the game to put the ball in Lewis’s hands. I feel like one should go with what works. That is not a slight to Lewis , I just think Leslie, wood, and Howell are proven go to guys in clutch situations. CJ and Howell are great even when being guarded.

  11. wufpup76 02/04/2013 at 9:44 AM #

    We need some wins :{ … To put it very bluntly …

  12. packof81 02/04/2013 at 10:00 AM #

    I’m with graywolf on this one. We are on a trajectory to play on Thursday in the All Crooks Conference and sweat it out on Selection Sunday. In the span of 2 and 1/2 weeks, we’ve gone from being to team to beat to middle of the league. We’re staring down the barrel of 2 road games and 2 home games that could be surprising difficult. It ain’t looking very good.

  13. Khan 02/04/2013 at 10:21 AM #

    “I just think Leslie, wood, and Howell are proven go to guys in clutch situations”

    Fullmoon1, I don’t get this.

    I like Lewis taking that last shot. I don’t care if he is a freshman. He earned a stab at it.

  14. Wulfpack 02/04/2013 at 10:53 AM #

    Lose to Duke and at Clemson and we are 5-6. Bubble.

  15. Khan 02/04/2013 at 10:55 AM #

    ^ Maybe you meant when we have a few points lead going into the last few seconds, those guys hitting free throws to keep the lead. If that’s the case, then I can see that to some degree.

  16. rtpack24 02/04/2013 at 11:10 AM #

    Richard Howell is a beast and one of the the few players that gives it his all, all the time. He definitely needs more touches and opportunities in the second half of games. He has improved his free throw shooting as of late which is another plus. We have a very good team that hopefully when it counts the most will be able to deliver.

  17. budfox88 02/04/2013 at 11:11 AM #

    Not good at boxing out, still missing shots around the rim. Late in the game we allow way too many second chance points. Just like the game-winner vs Miami. We are on to something with Lewis and Brown on the court at the same time, give Wood some downtime…he hasnt been very effective last couple of losses, both in shooting 3s and defense. I liked what I saw with Lewis, FTs, and overall perimeter defense. First time I’ve seen us play full court press all year, and seemed to be more controlled ball-handling in general!! State can beat Dook and CU if they want to. Come on PACK!! Hell with the refs and the nonbelievers…JUST DO IT!!!!

  18. BJD95 02/04/2013 at 11:21 AM #

    As long as we go 10-8 in conference, we will get a bid comfortably. 11-7 gets us the 6 seed, which is the line below which I don’t want to drop.

    Anything else is gravy (since a 1 or 2 seed is out of the discussion, and those are the only seeds that get a “gimme” opening game). Basketball is a tournament sport.

  19. JeremyH 02/04/2013 at 11:49 AM #

    “and seemed to be more controlled ball-handling in general!!”


    Given how ridiculously athletic this team is, we have a tendency to think we can run, jump, and slam dunk our way to wins. This is OK when the opportunity is right, but leads to exhaustion and less experience running a half-court offense. Further, at times we push the break and end up turning it over, resulting in a 4 point swing. Leslie is fantastic in the break, and has great post moves, but at times his overconfidence can do more harm than good, especially when it doesn’t involve the team concept (e.g., 1-on-3 in the half-court).

    In my mind these careless decisions lead to wasted energy on a short benched team. The antidote to that is a cerebral, set-up man type point guard, that give the others the ball in the best position to score, and will calm us down when that’s what’s needed. That’s Lewis. His development will lead to: 1) deeper bench + much needed rest to Zo / Zo energy minutes at the off-guard for slashing 2) smarter team play. He also needs to have the license/authority to reel offensive-minded players like Leslie, Wood, and Warren in. Sometimes a forced inside move or contested three is not the right play, and the point guard needs to be that nerve center. If that happens then we are a 110% better team. *It is past due to have this element to the team.*

    Now that we’ve got that squared away, time to get Robinson some minutes at the 5.

    Another thing is I think Warren immediately looks to score anytime he touches the ball, whether its off a steal or a rebound; he doesn’t hesitate the least bit. I think this is a function of his points only coming off plays like that, but its not always the best decision. I think Gott needs to calm him down a little bit.

  20. WeAreCured 02/04/2013 at 12:25 PM #

    Why in God’s name are some of you concerned with losing at Clemson? We’ve had trouble on the road, but at this point in the season they are starting to fire on all cylinders, as evidenced by the last second loss to the first place team in the league without their star point guard.

    As of today, ESPN has state at #16 in their BPI and a projected 4 seed, even after the last two losses. Personally, I think they’re more of a 6 seed, but they can still work their way up to a 4. They can certainly work their way backwards as well, but I just can’t see them losing their way to anything worse than a 10 seed. They are too good.

    Relax everyone. We may go down to Duke, but there is absolutely no evidence to support bubble land.

    @ Cameron Indoor: We will win.

  21. 1.21 Jigawatts 02/04/2013 at 12:27 PM #

    NCAA RPI (2/4/13)

    Bubble: RPI 40-70 (with a .500 Conf. Record or better)

    Duke: 1 (6-2)
    Miami: 2 (8-0)
    NCSU: 20 (5-4)
    UNC: 34 (5-3)

    FSU: 61 (4-4)

    Maryland: 71 (4-5)
    UVA: 107 (5-3)
    GT: 121 (2-6)
    WF: 131 (3-6)
    CU: 139 (4-5)
    VT: 148 (2-6)
    BC: 150 (2-6)

    NCSU Remaining games:
    @Duke (1)
    @CU (139)
    VT (148)
    FSU (61)
    @UNC (34)
    BC (150)
    @GT (121)
    WF (131)
    @FSU (61)

  22. BJD95 02/04/2013 at 12:45 PM #

    So we can lose at Duke (very likely), at FSU (50/50), and at Holes (we should be slight favorites)…and still be 11-7 and online for a 5 or 6 seed. I’ve seen enough RPI tracking in the past to be comfortable with that estimated math.

    Only get worried if we lose one of the other games. Then we will need to steal one of the above 3 to stay at baseline level.

  23. Wulfpack 02/04/2013 at 12:50 PM #

    Well, we have lost to Wake, UVA and Maryland. So I’m not so sure we can go and guarantee any more wins. I agree though 10 or 11 wins and we are in good shape.

    Clemson at Clemson is no gimme.

  24. wolfbuff 02/04/2013 at 12:50 PM #

    “Why in God’s name are some of you concerned with losing at Clemson? We’ve had trouble on the road, but at this point in the season they are starting to fire on all cylinders”

    What evidence is there that we are firing on all cylinders? We certainly play well at home – especially in marqee games. But until we beat someone of significance away and start to play more consistently, it seems perfectly reasonable to assume the likelihood of a loss at CU. We barely beat them at home, and we’ve lost to some fairly average (UVa) to below average (WF, UMd) teams away. In fact, we haven’t won away since Jan 5th – and that was by a few points at numerically the worst team in the league.

    That said, I think we can start to turn the trend around on Thursday. But smart, focused, and consistent play will be required. I’m still waiting to see that on the road.

  25. BJD95 02/04/2013 at 1:04 PM #

    UVA and MD are problem matchups for us on the road.

    Wake is a game we should not have lost, and what keeps us off a 12-6 pace (with a chance at 13-5, my preseason thought was we would win 12 or 13, depending on my optimism level). Clemson is not a gimme, but definitely a “should win” in a way that UVA and MD were not.

    I was disappointed in how we played against Clemson the first time, but didn’t think it was the matchup (we just played poorly). Of course we can lose any game when we play bad. Just like we can beat anyone with our “A” game. I am looking at what likely happens if we play at a B/B+ level.

Leave a Reply