Wow. I can honestly say that despite the statistics to back it up, I just didn’t see that coming. I just thought with this talent and with Gottfried on the sidelines that I wasn’t going to see State come out and lay an egg. But, hey, this is NC State basketball and such things should always be in the back of your mind.
With that said, here are a few notes we took when re-watching the game last night.
- Nervous energy. Out of the gate, this team played with more tension than I’ve seen them play with all season. They were rushing, forcing shots and really just not in their element. It started off with Leslie trying to go one on one with Len right off the bat. It was like he wanted to make a point early, which I like, however he wasn’t doing it within the offense. That was the cut that started the bleeding.
- NC State rarely ran an offensive set and were up and down and up and down, taking poor shot after poor shot. This team doesn’t have many guys who can do that. One guy who DOES thrive in that situation is Rodney Purvis, whose ‘get it and go’ style of play seemed to be working a bit in the first half.
- Maryland came ready to play. Sure, they are awful offensively, but they had energy and really wanted this win. They are a young team, but they are relentless on defense.
- State scored 16 points in the first half. The best offensive team in the nation only could score 16 points… you heard that right. Scott Wood was 3-13, Purvis was 1-7 and TJ Warren was 0-6. How is this possible? We’ll get into that…
- I thought the pace of the game was MUCH too fast for NC State. I think this was because they were down most of the game and were trying desperately to get it going. I also think that when they did slow it down, Maryland was able to stop their bread and butter post game. Now, listen, the refs weren’t bias one way or the other in this one, but I have really never seen a more loosely called basketball game. The ACC needs to get it together. Their guys are either calling way too many fouls, or no fouls at all. It’s unbelievable There was some massive contact on both sides of the floor that just went uncalled and then some touch fouls that they called going to the basket. Re watching it, I thought I’d see it differently. Maybe I was just caught in the moment or watching it too much as a State fan. Nope. Basically, if you were posting up, you weren’t getting a call. The only real calls came on drives to the bucket (and even some of them went uncalled).
- I haven’t really questioned Gottfried on anything since he’s been at State. I think he’s always on top of things and really leaves nothing for fans to complain about, but against Maryland it was pretty strange why he didn’t go zone earlier. He kept telling his guys to slow down, be patient and a zone will certainly do that for a team, but State didn’t go zone until late in the 2nd half. It’s not like the Terps have many shooters, in fact they are a really poor shooting team for the most part. I do understand that it is hard to rebound out of the zone, but it just seemed like it was the right call for this game on this day.
- The only two real bright spots in this game for State was their hustle, their defense, Richard Howell on the boards and Lorenzo Brown. NC State needs help rebounding. Howell can’t do it all, so either Leslie and Warren need to take it up a notch or big teams are going to beat the Pack. I thought Zo was really great in this one. I know it was a real up and down game and no one was hitting shots, but Brown stepped up and did knock down a few big ones down the stretch. Really, he was the only thing NC State had going. Now, I won’t say he played perfectly, because he can be blamed for the pace being a little out of control, but he can’t be blamed for his teammates poor shooting. I think Brown has been playing great basketball ever since the ACC season started.
- Down the stretch the Pack played well, but they really were searching out Wood a lot despite his poor shooting day. Sure he hit 2 big shots, so I do understand, but Brown seemed to have the killer instinct on this night and I wondered why he didn’t get the shot that could have put the game out of reach for the Terps.
- The final play summed up the Wolfpack’s day. They guarded their hearts out, had two guys in the face of the shooter and CJ Leslie went for a big block, but missed. The ball fell into Maryland’s hands and Len dumped it in for the win. Not a bad play by Leslie. If Howard makes that shot and Leslie doesn’t jump, everyone would be wondering why Leslie didn’t go for the block. He did, he tried to stop the winning shot and it backfired. Again, a microcosm of this game. State puts in the hustle, but the ball just rolls Maryland’s way.
- NC State is no longer has the best FG% in the nation. Shooting 31% will do that to you.
- Next up is Clemson, in a much needed home game that the Pack really must win. We’ll have a preview on that game tomorrow.