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NCAA Basketball ACC BasketballNC State Wolfpack

North Carolina State Wolfpack Try to Rebound From Embarrassing Loss

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t pretty but after it was revealed Lorenzo Brown wasn’t going to play many North Carolina State Wolfpack fans could have predicted the outcome.

The Wolfpack were embarrassed on the road against the Duke Blue Devils in a 98-85 loss without the conference’s leading playmaker Brown.

The loss stings and removes all the good North Carolina State accomplished when they beat Duke on Jan. 12. However, fans will still be able to look back on the performance and say things would have been different if Brown was in the lineup. Just like most fans are saying the same thing after the Wolfpack lost 79-78 at home to the Miami(FL) Hurricanes without Brown.

Brown isn’t a player that is easily replaceable despite how well Tyler Lewis played against the Hurricanes. His loss has hurt the Wolfpack in so many different areas whether it’s his playmaking, defense, scoring or experience. North Carolina State was forced to start two freshmen in the backcourt with Lewis and Rodney Purvis and the Blue Devils took advantage right away.

By halftime Duke held a 58-37 lead with Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee and Quinn Cook all being in double-figures by the break. It’s not surprising Duke came out fired up and ready to go given the Wolfpack handed them their first loss of the season. However, it is surprising how unprepared and unmotivated N.C. State looked in the defeat.

The Wolfpack are now 5-5 in conference action and need to turn things around in a hurry given they’ve lost four of their last six games. They’ve also only won once on the road in five attempts, with the only victory coming against the Boston College Eagles, the same Eagles that are at the bottom of the conference standings.

North Carolina State will visit the Clemson Tigers on Feb. 10, after defeating them on Jan. 22 at home in a 66-62 victory.

The Wolfpack better come out with a better effort early on then they did against Duke otherwise it could turn out to be a long night in Clemson. Especially considering Clemson is coming off two embarrassing losses on the road and will be hungry and looking for revenge against a team they nearly defeated two weeks ago.

Michael covers ACC and Big East basketball along with the Toronto Raptors for Rant Sports, you can follow him on Twitter @MichaelxRoberts