Pack hype shifting to reality with season opener
Posted November 6, 2012
Updated November 7, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — The North Carolina State basketball team played in Spain this summer and has been in two exhibition games, but Friday is when the conversion from hype to reality begins as the Wolfpack plays host to Miami of Ohio in their season opener.
Coming off a strong NCAA tournament run a year ago and with a top recruiting class coming in this season, the expectations for NC State are as high this fall as they have been in a long time.
On Tuesday, NC State was tabbed No. 5 in the preseason Sports Illustrated Top 25. The AP and USA Today have each placed the Wolfpack No. 6 in their preseason polls. In all three prognostications, NC State resides ahead of their in-state rivals, Duke and North Carolina.
But the Wolfpack said Tuesday that they are careful not to get caught up in the hype.
“We’re not satisfied. We made it to the Sweet 16, we had a nice run, we’ve added some nice pieces and we want to get better,” said senior Richard Howell. “We want to get further than the Sweet 16. We want an ACC Championship; we want to go to the Final Four.”
NC State players said that the early start to the promising year in Spain could pay big dividends in the coming months.
“The chemistry, everybody came together as a group and we formed a strong bond that teams need to make it and survive in the tournament,” Howell said. “I feel like that was something that got us further in the tournament last year and something that definitely is going to help us this year.”
The wait is nearly over now. NC State’s journey took them to another continent, now the real work begins Friday at home in their season-opener against Miami of Ohio.
“You really only have a couple chances to do it in college,” junior Lorenzo Brown said. “You have four years and this is going on my third year. I feel like I should be one to push my team and help us win a national championship.”