Yikes. NC State has fallen to 1-3 in ACC play after their loss to Boston College on Wednesday night.
If you listen to social media or message boards, then you’re left to believe that Gottfried is on his way out, this team has no chance and the season might as well be over. If you listen to Gottfried and his players, the narrative is quite different. The team improved. According to the coaches, NC State got a little bit better despite the loss because they fought through adversity and showed more will and want-to.
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. NC State did do some things better in this game. The defensive pressure for most of the game was good. The hustle was there, however, communication on defense still left a lot to be desired. Offensively, NC State did do a better job of running the sets and getting good looks early on, but reverted to one on one play later in the ball game.
Gottfried is still tinkering with his lineups as well. Markell Johnson may have earned himself some minutes last night as he showed that he can coexist with Smith on the floor. This left Torin Dorn getting only 2 minutes in the 2nd half. Dorn has seemingly fallen in love with the jumper and it has ended up hurting his efficiency and scoring ability.
State also struggled in the paint. Yurtseven is simply not ready for ACC basketball. As harsh as it may seem, he is just too weak right now. He is getting pushed around and has shown very little aggressiveness or confidence over the conference season. Anya played well, but when he is on the floor the team is slower and more stagnant, at times they have to pull the ball back and wait for him to get down the court. Abu has bee good but he still has not shown the dominance he has flashed in the past. Kapita is still raw, and while he certainly works hard and is aggressive, he sometimes gets lost on both offense and defense.
So what do you make of this? Well, it’s hard to tell. Some of the blame certainly falls on Gottfried and company. This team is young, but mentally they are unprepared. This team has a ton of talent, but they seem to be lost as to what they are supposed to do with it. But, some of it still sits on the players. At the end of the day, these are guys who have the skills, yet mental mistakes, poor shots and lack of focus lead to them not getting everything they could out of themselves.
This season is far from over. The Pack obviously is not ready to compete on the road in this league quite yet. The good news is that with every game they grow up a little and the next 3 games are at home. This three-game stretch will probably be this team’s make or break time. If they come out 2-1 or better, then they are still in position to make a move. Lose 2 of the 3 or all 3 and it will be a very tough climb back into contention.