As much as I’m sure coach Mark Gottfried didn’t expect his North Carolina State team to drop two of their first six games, I’m sure even he can’t and won’t call his team one of the most disappointing teams of the early college basketball season.
Well regardless of what Gottfried thinks, ESPN super personality and ACC “expert” Dick Vitale considers the Wolfpack one of his two most disappointing squads, with the 4-2 UCLA Bruins being the other. While I get that UCLA losing to Cal Poly is pretty pathetic, is it really fair to judge NC State after dropping their second game, on the road in Ann Arbor, against number-three ranked Michigan?
With expectations higher than practically ever for NC State, Monday’s loss was more of an indicator of how good they can be as opposed to another disappointing loss, in my opinion.
Missed lay-ups, a lack of ball movement, and no answers for the dangerous backcourt of Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, and Nik Stauskas led to the Wolfpack finding themselves down 15 points with just under 6 minutes to go in the second half. Down but not out, C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown rallied the troops to go on a 14-5 run, before Leslie was hit with a questionable offensive foul with his team down five, with an opportunity to bring the game down to one possession at the 42-second mark.
Yeah, we saw a team get behind pretty badly in the second half of what was a competitive game, but we also saw them not give up and die. Despite losing, NC State still shot 57 percent from the field, and played lock down defense for stretches, with freshman Rodney Purvis containing Stauskas (albeit too little, too late), and Leslie abusing the highly-touted, physical freshman Mitch McGary.
Not every game is going to go NC State’s way, but for a team still getting used to playing in the limelight, it’s unfair of Mr. “I love whoever’s the best team in the ACC” Dick Vitale to come down so hard on them. The Wolfpack are clearly one of the more talented teams not just in the ACC, but in the nation, and Vitale and the rest of country will learn that more and more as the season progresses.
I’ll repeat NC State is down, but not out.
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