It’s been a long, long time since NC State fans could really have a true sense of confidence heading into a matchup with UNC. When Saturday rolls around, NC State fans will be filling into the PNC Arena expecting a win, but don’t get too ahead of yourselves, this is going to be a hard fought game that will likely come down to the wire. Here are a few things to note as we approach gameday.
- ESPN College Gameday will be stopping in Raleigh on Saturday to hype up the game. This is the first time Gameday has come to NC State for a basketball game and likely scheduled it because both UNC and State were top 15 teams coming into the season. This can only help the Wolfpack who has been a little down on themselves lately. Gameday is like a glorified pep-rally for the hometeam and there’s no doubt Wolfpack fans are going to show up in droves. Here’s a small note about the way Gameday is going to be handled at the PNC.
The show will take place between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. at PNC Arena. For the first hour, SportsCenter will air on ESPN and will do occasional look-ins at the College GameDay set. The second hour will air live on ESPNU while the third hour will air on ESPN.
The first 250 students in line for College GameDay will receive a wristband directly behind the show stage with additional seating in the arena available for other fans. Upon arrival, students must check in at the marketing table outside of the east entrance. Wristbands will be distributed starting at 7 a.m. with the doors opening at 8:30 a.m.
- The game isn’t going to be a walk in the park. UNC is riding high. They’re coming into Raleigh on a 3 game winning streak and playing their best, most confident basketball of the season. Meanwhile, NC State is in a funk. They’ve lost two of their last 3 and haven’t played exceptionally well in any of their ACC games, outside of their win over #1 Duke.
-NC State will have had 3 full days to prepare for the Heels. They better be focusing on defense and rebounding because, once again, that’s what this game is going to come down to. Carolina is the best rebounding team in the nation and NC State struggles in this category, aside from Richard Howell, who is a human vacuum on the boards.
UNC has struggled when teams get physical with them. They’re soft (aside from PJ Hairston and at times, Reggie Bullock), so bodying them up will be essential. Marcus Paige isn’t really the playmaker that the Heels envisioned (yet), but he’s playing well and within the offense. Brown will have the ability to really frustrate him if he would finally decide to stop gambling on steals and start getting serious about staying between is man and the basket.
- Leslie McDonald will not be playing when Carolina heads to Raleigh on Saturday. He is suspended 3 games for academic issues. Hey, I can’t say I feel sorry for the kid. This is just what happens when paper are checked and actual grades are recorded. Welcome to the real world UNC.
- The good news is that Dexter Strickland will be playing. Dex has some business to take care of down in Raleigh. Remember in preseason when he said this:
“They talk (NC State) up every single year and we beat them every single year,” Strickland said. “They are the least of our worries. Beat us one year and then they can talk smack. Until then, you can’t put them in the mix.”
Well, Mr. Strickland, hopefully on Saturday NC State is not the least of your worries, because if they are, then you can go ahead and put them in ‘the mix’, because it’s going to take a very good game from UNC to beat the Pack.
- This is not the time to get divided, Pack fans. Everyone talking about Thomas De Thaey’s tweet about Mark Gottfried need to first understand the situation. We’re not going to post the tweet here, because honestly, we don’t want to stir any more controversy or get people commenting directly to De Thaey, but we do have something to say about it.
DeThaey basically put Gottfried on blast over Twitter when he said “That’s what happens when you’re a great recruiter, but a terrible coach!” after the Wake Forest loss.
If we want to be completely honest, De Thaey was shown respect by the university and by the media when he left. Nobody called him out for quitting, for giving up on a team he committed to. Wolfpack Nation treated him well. Thanked him for his time and said they understood why he had to go. The truth of the matter is, De Thaey was unhappy. Very unhappy. It wasn’t like he wanted to stay at State and work his way into playing time. He wanted out and he got out.
Instead of working to get stronger and turning into the big man NC State needed, TDT was jacking up 3s and dreaming of becoming the next Dirk Nowitzki. It wasn’t working. Not because Coach hated him, or wouldn’t give him a chance. It didn’t work out because when given a chance, he was subpar on defense, soft on the glass and would take poor, contested 3s from way beyond the arc. So you can blame Gottfried for whatever you want to, but if TDT wants to be real, I guess he should be real across the board. Sure, he should be mad at Coach. He recruited right over top of De Thaey, but it’s not like he had a choice. If you’re looking to become a top 10 team, there’s no place for a player not willing to accept his role.
With that said, it’s good to see Wolfpack Nation coming to the defense of their program and of their coach. This has been a divided fan base for a long, long time, but it finally seems as if everyone is finally onboard. This team is at a vital crossroads this season and needs everyone on the same page…fans, players, coaches…everyone.