Talking points: NC State can't figure itself out
Posted January 23, 2013
1. Does anyone understand this NC State team? Heck, does the team fully understand what it's capable of accomplishing this season?
As we get further away from the win over Duke, it looks more like a classic case of NC State playing up to the moment. Maintaining a proper level of focus and effort for a much-hyped rivalry game is easy, but the Wolfpack continue to repeat the mistakes of teams that came before them when it comes to dispatching opponents of lesser stature.
"Same ol' NC State," folks will say. Can't really blame them for feeling that way.
The Wolfpack should've wiped Wake Forest off the floor Wednesday night for reasons that should be obvious. But NC State provided yet another frustrating experience for themselves, their coaching staff and their fans instead.
2. Let's be blunt, shall we? College basketball officiating lacks an acceptable level of consistency, so tempo ends up being a guessing game on a nightly basis. While the focus in the Triangle is and always will be on issues related to the ACC, questionable officiating isn't isolated to this conference. There are bad calls everywhere, and fans are well within their rights to gripe endlessly about borderline calls that didn't go their way.
That being said, the amount of energy wasted on referees by NC State fans is rather comical at this point. Wolfpack fans should be more upset with their own team for what happened against Wake Forest than with a bunch of guys in stripes. It was NC State that committed dumb fouls, coughed up untimely turnovers, allowed Wake Forest to go on runs of 14-4 and 12-0 in the second half and missed crucial free throws.
3. Don't believe me? Just watch. NC State built up a 47-35 lead at the break despite having two fouls each on Calvin Leslie, Lorenzo Brown and Scott Wood. They still had opportunities to win the game despite the same trio having 4 fouls each as the game dragged on.
Leslie overcame the absent-minded third and fourth fouls (less than 30 seconds apart early in the second half) to become an integral part of the comeback, but missed chances to tie the game when he missed 3-of-4 from the line in the final 61 seconds of the game. Leslie probably deserved at least three more free throw attempts in that closing sequence, but who knows if he would have knocked those down either.
Wood also missed opportunities to get the Wolfpack over by missing a couple three-pointers in the final two minutes of the game.
4. Devin Thomas unlocked several achievements against NC State. The 6-foot-9 freshman, who hasn't garnered much discussion outside Winston-Salem, finished the night with 25 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 steals and threw in 4 assists for good measure. Thomas provided a microcosm of what went right for Wake Forest by generally outworking the Wolfpack.
5. NC State was the victim of another court rush. So look at it this way -- y'all have arrived.