The North Carolina State Wolfpack are the real deal, plain and simple. They knocked off the undefeated Duke Blue Devils on national television today, and proved that they will be contenders for an ACC title.
Today, N.C State showed that they have the pieces in place to bring home a conference championship. C.J. Leslie was on fire, scoring 25 points, including six straight with the game on the line in the second half. Senior forward Richard Howell played relentlessly down low, coming away with 18 rebounds to complement his 16 points.
The Wolfpack were the more physical team at PNC arena today and their veteran roster will pay huge dividends moving forward.
“I think we had a lot of toughness, we rebounded the ball better in the second half and defended them well,” said Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried on ESPN after the game. “We went in last year, played well and didn’t win. Our guys remembered that and accepted the challenge.”
The Wolfpack will play Maryland, Clemson, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Virginia to close out the month of January. N.C. State should be the favorites in all of these match-ups and will build momentum heading into February and March.
Today, in my opinion, was a preview of the ACC Championship.
“They’ve got better chemistry right now,” said ESPN analyst Bruce Pearl about N.C. State. “There are too many weapons on this team.”
Call me crazy, but after today, I like N.C. State to win the ACC.