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Aaron Schoonmaker

NC State struggling to stay in the middle of the pack

Posted March 1

BeeJay Anya (21), T.J. Warren (24), and Jordan Vandenberg (14) in the closing seconds of the game. Miami defeated NC State 85-70 on March 1, 2014 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photo by: Jerome Carpenter

— Ninth or better. That’s all North Carolina State has to do in the 15-team ACC to avoid playing on Wednesday in the conference tournament. After Saturday’s far-from stellar performance, the Wolfpack find themselves ninth with Miami knocking on the door for that first round tournament bye.

At 17-12 on the year, it is all but assumed that the Wolfpack will have to win the ACC tournament to get the automatic bid into the Big Dance or else they will be looking at some other three-letter bracketed event. That being the case, NC State would much rather play four games in Greensboro than be tasked with winning five.

“That’s always been the goal is to win it all,” guard Desmond Lee said after losing to Miami Saturday at PNC Arena, 85-70. That goal is now a do-or-die when it comes to the NCAA Tournament.

Miami may have played their single best game of the year Saturday, but they were helped along by some very suspect Pack defense. The Hurricanes shot a blistering 58 percent from the floor and put five players in double figures while their 85 points were a season high. But NC State gave up 36 points in the paint and 16 second chance points on 11 offensive rebounds.

“We were a second slow and couldn’t guard them,” NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said. “It was really a disappointing defensive effort on our part.”

A win on Saturday and NC State would be competing with Clemson for the No. 6 spot in the league at 8-8 in conference play. With the loss, they are now 7-9 and just one game up on Miami.

What NC State has going for them, is tie-breakers over Florida State and Maryland – each of whom are 7-8 in the conference and play games on Sunday. Losses by one or each of the Seminoles or Terps will immediately elevate the Pack in the standings, but the fact remains that a team never wants to rely on somebody else to determine their own fate. They also want to avoid the possibility of a four-way tie with one team becoming the odd-team out.

Maryland is at Clemson Sunday while Florida State hosts Georgia Tech.

Looking ahead, NC State closes the regular season at Pittsburgh on Monday followed by a home game against Boston College. The first of the two is obviously a tough task, but the Pack should not sleep on BC either. Remember, the Eagles were winners at then- No. 1 Syracuse a little over a week ago.

Miami has two winnable games at Clemson Monday before hosting Wake Forest in the finale. 

When a team has the league’s leading scorer, it is hard to believe having to battle so hard down the stretch just for conference positioning (apologies to Virginia Tech fans last year), but that is where NC State is right now – trying to stay in the middle of the pack.

 

9 Comments

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  • vt94hokies Mar 1, 10:37 p.m.

    NIT. That's all.

  • jmcdow2792 Mar 2, 5:38 a.m.

    NIT. That's all.

    — Posted by vt94hokies

    I hope we get there.

  • StunGunn Mar 2, 7:09 a.m.

    State expended a lot of energy and emotion in the Carolina game, and that may have taken its toll in the Miami game. There's enough talent for State to beat both Pitt and BC; it remains to be seen if they have the determination.

  • Tunaboy Mar 2, 7:49 a.m.

    looks like the refs and UNC cheated the aggies again ... where's the outrage???

  • HEELSrocknU Mar 2, 9:57 a.m.

    looks like the refs and UNC cheated the aggies again ... where's the outrage???

    — Posted by Tunaboy

    NIT...where's the outrage!

  • TJPC Mar 2, 10:06 a.m.

    But the refs cheated, but the Miami players cheated, but, but but....come on NC State - your team lack heart and the coaching is atrocious. It is time for a major shake up at Puppy Ville University. it might be painful for 3-4 years but it couldn't be any worse than it is right now. I would be embarrassed to call myself a state fan right now...

  • Raleigh Rocks 1 Mar 2, 10:09 a.m.

    So when will fire happy Yow part ways with her pick? I mean Lowe could lose to the Heels and go 6-7 in the ACC too.

  • TeaBagOnLove Mar 3, 8:36 a.m.

    State expended a lot of energy and emotion in the Carolina game, and that may have taken its... View More

    — Posted by StunGunn

    You do realize that Pitt is 10-6 in league play and beat NCSU by 12 in Raleigh? (The line was Pitt -2.5) In that game NCSU was 14/15 (93%) on free throws and still lost by 12 points.

    They lose to Pitt. ND is a coin toss.... (I would take NCSU heads up.)

  • StunGunn Mar 3, 11:04 p.m.

    State expended a lot of energy and emotion in the Carolina game, and that may have taken its... View More

    — Posted by StunGunn

    You do realize that Pitt is 10-6 in league play and beat NCSU by 12 in Raleigh? (The line was... View More

    — Posted by TeaBagOnLove

    Well, State just beat Pitt. Warren put on an absolute clinic. ND came back from a 14-point deficit to give Carolina a real battle, so who knows. Depends on which State team shows up, I guess.

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