NC State lost by 51 points to UNC as they looked like a middle school team compared to Roy Williams group. The offense was a non-issue as the Pack did not run a single set from the beginning. Carolina punked NC State as they took NC State out of their offense by picking up early in the half-court. The offense wasn’t the only issue as defensively the Wolfpack didn’t do anything to take Carolina out of their comfort zone.
Carolina went on to score 107 points, shoot 49% from the field, and 44% from three. UNC crushed State on the glass by a margin of 14, and ripped down 17 offensive boards. To put it bluntly, NC State was outperformed on every level of yesterday’s contest as one would expect when a team loses by 51. Let alone 51 to a so-called rival.
NC State world beaters one game and bottom dwellers the next. Inconsistencies in running a gameplan and having energy have tormented NC State as well as State fans. Frustration boils over as there needs to be more accountability throughout the program. The coaching staff, as well as the players, are at fault for yesterday’s performance.
All of the players in Red & White must take a long hard look at themselves and question their motives. It is a players responsibility to play with energy, focus, and heart. The coaches cannot get out there and play! Personally, I believe that players are more responsible for performances like we saw yesterday. NC State players were not tough enough to execute aginst UNC’s defense. They went off script shooting contested jumpers without ball movement. They turned it over 26 times and shot sub 37% from the field!
Coaches must create a culture that demands toughness and trust. The biggest issues I have is the effort level and the consistency with NC State basketball. Look at the premiere programs across the country and what you find is a consistent effort each night. Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and the Villanova’s of the college basketball landscape give the same effort regardless of their opponent in front of them. NC State cannot say the same thing. NC State; however, seemingly find ways to play up or down to their competition. Or the Pack will follow big wins with head-scratching performances the next game.
After a loss like yesterday, NC State must recognize that they are only three games deep into the ACC schedule. They have plenty of time left to try and heal a loss like yesterday. I argue a loss like that will never heal or at least I hope our players never forget those feelings. Those feelings should be motivation to never play so lackadaisical, soft, and without a competitive fire again.
Talent is not a problem for NC State instead they need to show some grit, focus, and competitiveness to put themselves in a position to use it. Mark Gottfried has got to be better at getting through to his players to answer the call on the road in hostile environments. People will point the finger at Gottfried, and he is at fault; however, it is on everyone inside the NC State basketball program to not waste this season.
Losing one game in the ACC is never a reason to panic, but yesterday wasn’t just one game. It was a rivalry game and a chance to make real noise in the hierarchy of college basketball. It wasn’t, it showed the gap between NC State and Carolina is still significant. Pain is the emotion that runs through me as I type that.
NC State cannot forget what led to their dismantling at the hands of UNC yesterday. They cannot do anything about that performance but they can make sure it never happens again. The rest of the season will be a testament to what kind of character resides inside NC State basketball. It will also shape the future of NC State’s program.