Yep, Big Monday. ESPN says so. Anyone else think there’s a chance ESPN was expecting two teams with a little more lustre by the time this one rolled around?
Last time out, the Pack (13-7, 2-5 ACC) fell at home to Wake, completing a 1 for 3 homestand against 3 of the weaker teams in the league to drop to 2-5 in league play…just before hitting the road to Duke and Louisville.
That’s not so good. But giving up 93 to Wake……at home?
Two listing ships passed in the afternoon on Saturday, each desperately seeking a safe harbor. Wake Forest finally has an ACC road win to its credit – its first under Manning in 21 tries, its first since 2014, its second in 44 games. The Deacons are 3-4 in the ACC, done with North Carolina and Virginia and have a decent shot at 9-9, especially if they can double or even triple their road win total at Syracuse and Boston College in the next 10 days.
But N.C. State, its season hanging in the balance even before this loss, now faces what is likely to be an impassible road to the NCAA tournament at 2-5 in the ACC, lacking the nonconference wins to bolster its at-large position while requiring an unlikely five wins in Brooklyn. State being State, a home loss to Wake Forest for the first time in 12 years will surely be followed by the Wolfpack’s first win at Duke in 22 years on Monday, according to the Law of the Wolfpack or N.C. State, uh, Scatology or whatever.
Believers in the latter will with some justification point to a spate of questionable calls that went against N.C. State in the late going, culminating in Terry Henderson being called out of bounds after stealing Wake Forest’s inbounds pass with 9.1 seconds to go. Replays appeared to show Henderson avoiding the end line; while the ACC later said the play was not reviewable, N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said official Jamie Luckie told him “he didn’t need to review it. He had it for sure.”
Duke (15-4, 3-3 ACC) on the other hand, seems to have possibly suddenly clicked. Of course they did. We always seem to have the best timing of when to travel to Durham.
Anywhoo……after falling behind Miami by as many as 11, and looking really bad doing it, the 2nd half was all Blue Devils and in rather impressive fashion.
Next Up – NC State (DukeBasketballReport.com)
Whatever issues the Pack has, offense isn’t one of them.
Smith has been sensational. His biggest problem is that he at times doesn’t involve his teammates sufficiently, but with talent that extravagant, it’s understandable. And there is no doubt about his talent. When you look down the history of the ACC some guards jump to mind ahead of the rest: Phil Ford. John Lucas. Juan Dixon. Jason Williams. Steve Blake. Mark Price. Bobby Hurley.
He’s not as polished as any of those guys, all of whom stayed until at least their junior years, but he’s as talented as any of his predecessors.
Yertseven has struggled to adapt to U.S. style of basketball, but he can shoot, run dribble – he’s a real basketball player. He’ll be a major pain in the ass with a couple of years of weight lifting.
And as we said, the other guys can all score. Since Mark Gottfried came to Raleigh with his UCLA offense, State has not struggled with offense.
They have struggled with defense though and never more so than this year, something Gottfried has consistently lamented, at one point more or less throwing up his hands and saying they’d have to decide if they were serious about the season or not. And he has a point.
In conference play, here’s what State has given up to other teams:
- Miami – 81 (L)
- Virginia Tech – 78 (W)
- UNC – 107 (L)
- BC – 74 (L)
- Georgia Tech – 86 (L)
- Pitt – 74 (W)
- Wake Forest – 93 (L)
State is giving up 84 ppg in ACC play. As Gottfried rightly noted, his team is capable of outscoring other teams, but when you get to a certain point, you’re really in a crapshoot. Life is just easier when you get some stops.
– NC State fell to Wake Forest, 93-88, Saturday afternoon to drop its third contest in four games.
– The Pack placed five players in double figures, led by Abdul-Malik Abu with 20 points. Abu scored 17 of his 20 points in the first half. Also reaching double figures for the Pack was Dennis Smith, Jr. (15), Torin Dorn (13), Maverick Rowan (13) and Terry Henderson (11). Smith added a game-high 13 assists to record his third double-double of the season. It was the sixth time this season the Pack had at least five players reach double figures. NC State is now 5-1 in those games.
– Saturday marked a statistical oddity as the Pack won numerous statistical categories. NC State shot 51.6% from the field compared to 42.6% for the Demon Deacons. NC State also out-rebounded Wake Forest. Coming into Saturday’s game, NC State was 9-1 on the season when it out-rebounded its opponent and was 10-0 when it held its opponent to less than 45% shooting from the field. Wake Forest made up the field goal percentage deficit by hitting 29-of-33 (87.9%) free throw attempts.
– In NC State’s last three ACC losses (Boston College, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest) the opponents have combined to hit 61-of-69 (88.4%) free throw attempts, while NC State has made 39-of-60 (65%). The Pack has been outscored by 22 points at the free throw line in the three games and has lost the three games by a combined 23 points.
Big Monday – NC State at Duke
Tipoff: Monday, January 23, 7pm
Random Pregame Musical Interlude
Boo This Man
NC State not so Luckie on out of bounds call (WRALSportsfan.com)
So How Will We Fare In Durham?
Hehehehe….is this a trick question???
Godspeed, Gentleman. See ya’s on the other side.