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Finishing Strong

February 23, 2010
After a disappointing season, it goes without saying that this stretch run of Miami, BC and Virginia Tech is critical.

There are several reasons why, of course.

One, you need to set a positive tone for next season. Every team wants to close strong, but for Sidney Lowe heading into year five after three disappointing seasons, setting the table for next year will be critical.

Two, the NIT is still in play at this point. Finishing with a 2-1 or 3-0 mark would ensure a winning record regardless of what happens in the ACC Tournament, meaning the Pack would be eligible for an NIT bid. Given where State was during the seven-game losing streak, postseason play is a nice goal for this team to shoot for.

And finally, I believe the team needs it. They’ve heard for so long now, “Just wait until next year when Harrow and Brown get here.” If I’m a guy suiting up, I’m encouraged that there’s help on the way, but I want to conclude the season in a way that doesn’t feel like the year was wasted, spent biding time until the reinforcements come.

There aren’t many preseason goals left that can be accomplished, but if I’m Dennis Horner or Farnold Degand, I want to feel like we still set the table for a dramatic improvement the following year. Winning two or three of these final conference games will likely ensure the Pack finishes out of dead last where the media projected the Pack to finish. That secures a place in the ACC/Big 10 challenge next season, which is a modest goal but one worth striving for.

Earlier this month, I posted a picture of an envelope, stating I felt like the team was just mailing it in. But I was wrong; they’re still fighting, and the win against Wake is proof of that.

If the Pack can take down Miami and BC in winnable games, and maybe steal one on the road against Virginia Tech, the tone of the season will take a decided turn toward the positive.

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