Wolfpack Basketball (10-4, 0-1) is back in action tonight, as they try to bounce back from a road setback in Blacksburg. For those who are not aware, since the Pack’s seeming 2nd half collapse at VT, the Hokies next took down #4 UVa. So was it truly a collapse by the Pack, or an excellent first half vs a better than expected VT squad?
Time will tell. Either way it went into the books as an 0-1 start to league play, and Head Coach Mark Gottfried’s first loss to VT.
Tonight however, the Pack is at home and will welcome the #16 ranked Louisville Cardinals (12-2, 1-0) to town. The Cards have dropped but two games this year. Both of those games were on the road versus the big boys (Michigan State, Kentucky), yet they were in both ’til the end. On the other hand, they’ve been largely untested otherwise, with their biggest win being at home vs Wake Forest four days ago.
The eye test says they’re the Pack’s biggest test to date, but they still might be ripe for the picking (I have no particular reason to think this….just one of those feelings/hopings).
Tip time is 7pm, TV is ESPN2.
Oh….and as the title alludes, we’re wearing black tonight. So go wild on the woe is me/black unis discussion (but don’t forget we did win AT ‘Ville last year while wearing black).
But….that didn’t stop the Cards from knocking State out of the NCAA Tourney following the Pack’s big upset of #1 Seed Villanova.
NC State and Louisville meet again (NewsObserver.com)
After Thursday’s home opener with Louisville, the Wolfpack will go on the road three times in the next four games, only to return home for a matchup with No. 14 Duke.
In other words, the season could go sideways in a hurry if the Wolfpack, already on tenuous footing at No. 82 in the RPI, can’t recover from the Virginia Tech loss. Sophomore wing Caleb Martin was confident the Wolfpack could learn from the wasted opportunity at Virginia Tech.
“That just shows how important it is to finish the game,” Martin said. “We have to make sure we end up closing out the game.”
Gottfried predicted his team would react well to the loss. Virginia Tech’s subsequent win over No. 4 Virginia on Monday, also helped allay some of the panic of losing to last year’s last-place ACC team.
“It probably made them all feel a little bit better, to be honest with you,” Gottfried said of Virginia Tech’s 70-68 win over the Cavaliers.
With the ACC schedule about to crank up, and injured guard Terry Henderson still not close to getting back on the court, Gottfried said his focus has been on getting more consistency out of his healthy players.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — North Carolina State guard Cat Barber was recruited heavily enough by the University of Louisville to make an official visit to campus that was among those mentioned in the recent book detailing allegations against the program.
“I think Cat Barber is one of the premier guards in the nation and I say that not to hype him because we’re playing him,” Pitino said. “He is one of the players that really improved his shooting. He is shooting a high percentage, both from the foul line as well as the field. He’s a terrific mid-range shooter, great off the bounce and he’s also an excellent defensive player. When I look at a lot of basketball players, I look at both ends of the floor. He’s an outstanding charge guy, great hands, very long for 6-2. He’s someone that I think is one of the one-two … I won’t say someone’s the best because that’s subjective — but I think he’s one of the top two or three guards in the nation. It’s not only him, they shoot it so well at the 2-3 spot. You can’t come off too much. And they have a great post presence with two different types of post players.”
A year ago at the KFC Yum! Center, the Cardinals got into an up-tempo game with N.C. State and lost 74-65. In the NCAA Tournament, they’d addressed their defensive issues and beat the Wolfpack 75-65 in the Sweet 16 to advance for a shot at the Final Four. Montrezl Harrell had 24 points in that game and Terry Rozier added 17 points and 14 rebounds.
This team is entirely different, but many of the same defensive principles apply.
“We’ve got to be careful with a lot of things that we do in this basketball game,” Pitino said. “They’re great in transition. As I said they have a great outside game, a great inside game. Very well drilled, very well … their scheme is outstanding. Mark (Gottfried) does a terrific job with putting them in high percentage situations offensively. They’re also a very good defensive team. Not only does (Barber) shoot a high percentage, he gets to the line. One of the tops in the country at getting to the line. Then shooting a high percentage.”