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State Learned Absolutely Nothing From Georgetown Loss

December 2, 2010

Where does this team go from here? (Courtesy N&O)

Following State’s collapse in the second half of the Georgetown game, I felt like losing the game in that fashion—while painful to watch—would give this team something to build on.

They could go back to the film, see where they went away from the gameplan and reverted to “street ball,” and use that tape to correct some of the selfish tendencies that led them to play as five individuals versus one team.

Believing that scenario would transpire is what led me to think State had a puncher’s chance against Wisconsin.

After watching the game last night—every last, agonizing second of it—it’s clear this team, its players and its coaches didn’t take one damn thing away from the Georgetown game. Not one.

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Huge Game Tonight Against Wisconsin

December 1, 2010

Just some quick thoughts from me. Be sure to visit Steven’s site for a thorough breakdown on Wisconsin’s roster and what to expect from their starting lineup and to LiveBlog during the game.

  • During the entire Bo Ryan era at Wisconsin, the Badgers have only lost 11 games at home. That’s just stupid wicked sick. It’s also good for a greater-than-.900 winning percentage. Basically, the Badgers don’t lose at home.
  • If you thought Herb Sendek’s offense was slow, get ready for the ultimate slowdown offense. Out of 345 Division I teams, Wisconsin is 342nd in pace, averaging just under 62 possessions a game. State, by contrast, is closer to the middle of the pack at 174th and exactly 68 possessions per game. One of the keys tonight will be imposing a faster tempo on Wisconsin through tough defense, steals, and defensive rebounds. Which brings us to our next point…
  • They are really, really good on the boards. Coincidentally, State is really, really bad on the boards. I’m hoping rebounding was a point of emphasis heading into this game, but something tells me it will be the same ol’ story it’s been. State will likely get killed on the glass tonight, meaning it will need to cash in the points they can and hit shots to limit the disparity in possessions between the Pack and the Badgers.
  • If there’s an exploitable weakness, it’s probably beyond the arc. They’re below average from three and conversely don’t defend it well, so if the Pack can get Wisconsin into a three-point-shooting competition, it stands a chance.
  • Of course our freshmen trio will need to play lights out, but more importantly, play smart. They can’t let a run by the Badgers result in an extended drought like the one that occurred against Georgetown. Javier Gonzalez’s senior leadership will need to manifest itself.
  • KenPom gives us a 20% chance. I’ll take those odds, given fewer than 10% of teams win at the Kohl’s Center.

Here’s the partial Wisconsin scouting report from

Scouting Report (?)

Stats include games through Tuesday, November 30
against D-I teams only

Category Offense Defense D-I Avg
Adj. Efficiency: 112.7 23 90.0 23 100.1
Adj. Tempo: 61.6 342 68.0
Four Factors
Effective FG%: 49.9 135 44.3 64 48.5
Turnover %: 15.3 8 20.3 199 21.2
Off. Reb. %: 39.4 35 27.9 50 32.7
FTA/FGA: 26.6 319 29.0 48 38.7
Miscellaneous Components
3P%: 32.0 219 35.1 207 33.9
2P%: 50.9 87 40.4 22 47.4
FT%: 81.3 3 70.9 243 68.0
Block%: 5.5 26 11.3 102 9.4
Steal%: 7.5 47 7.8 274 9.8
Style Components
3PA/FGA: 35.7 115 31.6 140 33.1
A/FGM: 58.9 79 43.5 31 53.9
Defensive Fingerprint: Mostly Man
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3-Pointers: 28.2 141 30.6 97 27.3
2-Pointers: 54.0 115 50.6 183 51.4
Free Throws: 17.8 281 18.8 246 21.3

Response From The Butkus Award’s Ron Arp On Nate Irving’s Snub

November 26, 2010

Earlier this week, the committee that selects The Butkus Award announced their five finalists. Nate Irving did not make the cut, but UNC’s Bruce Carter did, which sparked some spirited response on the boards here, from PackPride’s Austin Johnson here and over at Frumpzilla here.

I, too, was puzzled as to why Irving was left off the list over Carter, who had a markedly more average season than Irving. So I decided to drop a line to Ron Arp of the Butkus Foundation to see if I could get some clarification on the committee’s thinking. His response (which is nearly verbatim to the one Johnson received) is murky in its logic but does offer a sliver of hope that Irving might receive at least some recognition:

James —

I spoke with the committee chair.  He said the 51 ballots showed that this year’s candidates are extremely close.   Many selectors reported having a difficult time picking their top candidates, especially when several top linebackers had such different styles of play.  They spent a great deal of extra time reviewing game films to make their decision.  Several on the committee specifically noted Carter’s less-traditional finesse-oriented style that is similar to 2004 winner Derrick Johnson, and felt his overall athletic performance and coverage ability merited recognition.  They also noted the talent and achievements of Nate Irving, his tremendous comeback and his recent record-setting performance.  Both are apt to find themselves in the NFL in different defensive schemes.  The selectors are afforded a write-in opportunity, so if they feel someone was missed in selecting the top five, they can write in a nominee in the final balloting.

Hope this helps.

Ron, I wish it helped more than it does. But explaining to me (and to all of us) that Carter’s “less-traditional finesse-oriented style” warranted recognition over Irving’s traditional blow-you-the-eff-up style that has worked so much more effectively this season than Carter’s doesn’t cut it.

The proof is in the pudding, Ron. Irving is the better linebacker by any measure, and by snubbing Irving over Carter, you and your compatriots discredit yourselves and the award you represent.

Not A Bad Weekend, As Weekends Go

November 22, 2010

Courtesy the N&O

R&R Q&A:

November 19, 2010

You didn’t think I’d pass up a chance to do a Q&A on the week of the Carolina game, did you? Hell no!

My questions were offered up to, in my opinion the best, most fair Tar Heel blog around. His blog has been the most reasonable blog from “Tar Heelia” regarding the NCAA investigations, which alone sets him apart from a lot of his compatriots.

Here’s what he had to say to my queries:

1. A lot of the lead-up to the game on the local airwaves has centered around how both head coaches view this game. Butch Davis insists on taking a big-picture view that the State/Carolina game, while more important than some on the schedule, is just one game en route to winning the league and getting to a BCS bowl. Tom O’Brien emphasizes this game greatly to his players and regularly refers to it as the biggest game on the schedule every year. Putting the results of the last three years aside, do you think one philosophy is a better way to approach the game?

Daytight compartments! Butch Davis is going for the Herb Sendek view of the game which is not necessarily wrong in face value. Players should approach all games with a certain level of intensity and focus. However, that ignores the reality of this game as it pertains to the noted hatred between the two schools. That could very well have something to do with UNC fans not necessarily regarding this game as a “make or break” deal vs NC State fans who consider beating UNC a primary goal of any season. All that being said, I do not believe Davis is giving this game the requisite shake it deserves, at least publicly. Maybe privately he spends his nights painting his face with wolf blood and wearing wolf entrails around his neck while riding Ramses around Kenan Stadium until dawn. Wait…what? Anyway, I sincerely hope he is selling it to his players on a different level than he is in public. We shall see.

ACC Roundtable: Basketball Tipoff Edition

November 19, 2010


The ACC Roundtable (shown actual size)

The month of November is a crazy time in the college sports world. Football is coming down the wire but basketball season is getting started making for some really busy days for those of us in the blogging community and the sports media world as a whole.

Certainly football still dominates the headlines in other parts of the country during November, but here in the ACC we run to embrace basketball with open arms as soon as they start rolling the ball carts out onto the hardwoods for those first practices. And ACC football is only part of the reason we come running.

As such, this isthe first ACC Roundtable of the 2010-2011 basketball season, and I feel honored to host it. Fittingly, an N.C. State blog kicks off the year given State’s Everett Case essentially birthed the league as we know it in Reynolds Coliseum way back when. Without Case bringing big time basketball to Raleigh—the showmanship, the spotlight introductions, the tradition of cutting down nets after tournament wins, The Dixie Classic and the ACC Tournament itself—there would’ve been no arms race to force UNC, Duke and Wake to catch up to State and produce the best basketball hotbed in the country in the process.

What I’m saying is, the next time you’re cursing your TV set for all the endless hype ESPN showers on Duke and Carolina, you can blame Everett Case and N.C. State.

Alright, enough history and living in the past (we miss you badly, 1980s). Here are the questions I tossed out to our roundtable participants about teams in this millennium and some select responses. I HIGHLY (like, you better damn do it) recommend you visit all the linked blogs for their complete compliment of answers.

And for those of you wondering where my answers are, I’m going to try something novel: I’ll try to feature two answers for each question—one I agree with the most and one I tend to disagree with. I’m letting my compatriots do the talking for me. (I’m also lazy.) (And I had to cook some barbecue for my work’s pot luck food thingy and was up ’til…NEVERMIND ON WITH THE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:)

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Just What This Rivalry Week Needed: Some Stupid Carolina Sh*t

November 17, 2010

It seems every year I feel sad about how little buzz there is leading into the State/Carolina game. It never gets national exposure; it barely gets regional coverage. And sometimes—as was the case in the infamous TA fumble game—there’s NO television coverage and a local news station has to broadcast it with one camera with the Carolina radio broadcast running in the background.

This year’s no different. On a “buzz” scale, this one’s about a 1 out of 10, even with a berth in the ACC Title Game on the line.

This week’s lead-up needed a shot in the arm. A player mouthing off or something.

Well, we got it. I give you…the wit and wisdom of Jonathan Jones of the Daily Tar Heel:

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