The North Carolina State Wolfpack proved once again they are loaded with talent but remain the nation’s most vulnerable team.
It took overtime for the Wolfpack to defeat the Virginia Tech Hokies 90-86 after a subpar performance on N.C. State’s home court. Erick Green was able to do whatever he pleased, recording 29 points and eight assists in the loss.
Green’s performance showed that all it’s going to take to bounce N.C. State from the NCAA tournament is a solid effort from one player. Given that March Madness is a guard-ran event, and the incredible inconsistency from the Wolfpack, the likelihood of N.C. State going home early is about the same as C.J. Leslie doing something stupid in the next two games. Meaning, it’s virtually a guarantee.
The frustrating part of N.C. State is they have the talent that should make them a top five school in the country yet have the intelligence of one of the bottom five in the nation. Leslie, on his best day, can look like a young Kevin Garnett, being absolutely unstoppable on the court. However, on his worst day his boneheaded mistakes can be directly linked to the Wolfpack’s struggles this season.
Leslie is far from the only one on the team with brain cramps on the floor, but when you’re the team’s best player they become a lot more noticeable. Scouts are in love with the talent that oozes from his body but his draft stock only continues to fall as he routinely shows he doesn’t have the mindset to maximize his potential.
Maturity is a major issue for these Wolfpack, as a pair of freshmen would be easily identifiable as playing in their first year of college basketball. Rodney Purvis and T.J. Warren could be the leading scorers on several mid-major schools but what prevents them from excelling is their inability to learn from their mistakes. Poor shot selection and rushing on offense is something the duo hasn’t improved on since the beginning of the year.
Speaking of rushing on offense, Lorenzo Brown is one of the nation’s best point guards yet still finds himself playing at a pace he often can’t control. The junior can impact the game in so many different areas whether it’s his defense with rebounding and steals or his offense with scoring and playmaking. Unfortunately, he tries to do too much at times and as a result it costs N.C. State in crucial moments of the contest.
The Wolfpack have all the pieces and talent a team could possibly ask for, unfortunately they don’t have the mindset to put it altogether. For that reason, it’ll be unlikely they make it past the first weekend of action come the middle of March.