We had no energy. Zero. It’s frustrating. I tried everything I could in the last couple of days to get us off the mat a little bit and we came out seemingly lifeless. We had no zip.
That’s Mark Gottfried talking about his team’s lack of energy in their loss to Louisville on Sunday.
Now, it’s one thing to lose because you missed shots, or lose because you turned the ball over too much, but it’s simply never acceptable to lose because you ‘didn’t have zip’ or were ‘lifeless.’ Call it whatever you want but ‘lack of zip’ and lifelessness are symptoms of either a tired team, a team paralyzed with fear, or a team that just doesn’t care. No matter which one you choose, there really is no viable excuse to point at.
NC State was coming off a road win over #17 Duke and it wasn’t like they had a quick turnaround with this Louisville game. They had 6 days to prepare. They had 6 days to get rid of the ‘big win hangover,’ to rest up and to mentally focus on their next matchup.
Just because you guys keep telling us that you are sick of us calling this team ‘young’, doesn’t make it any less true. What that means is that every experience is going to be one to soak in and learn from. So maybe Dennis Smith wasn’t aware of NC State’s dismal record after a Duke or UNC win. Maybe he and the rest of the freshman thought that in the ACC, when you beat Duke or UNC, that all the other teams just lay down for you. Maybe that is what happened. Maybe they are young and just didn’t know what to expect.
Avoiding that type of pitfall is the coaches job. There is no doubt Gottfried is aware of the possibility (likelihood) for this hangover. He almost certainly told his team that this is human nature and conquering those instinctive feelings would take mental focus and discipline. He knows because he’s been there, he’s seen it. But what is concerning is the fact that he obviously didn’t get the message through to them. Maybe he delivered the wrong message? Maybe he delivered the right message, but the wrong way? Whatever the case may be, his job was to prepare his men for battle and NC State looked anything but prepared to play against Louisville.
Sure, the players need to own up to their end of the bargain and come out and compete, and they failed themselves in that sense. However, having an entire team (top to bottom) playing lethargic, playing with no passion and playing that soft has to fall on the coaching staff to an extent.
We have fended off the Gottfried criticism at every turn. Telling you to give this team time to work out their kinks. Let them get on a little roll and then judge Gottfried. At this point, after that performance, we can no longer make those excuses. All the fans ask is for the team to be sold out to win. To work as hard as they can for just 40 minutes, once or twice a week. If you lose that way, fine everyone will accept that. But when you lose because you had a ‘lack of zip’ or because you were lifeless, then you can not ask the fanbase to stay quiet and wait it out.
To be quite honest, there seems to be something wrong behind the scenes with this basketball team. Something is not clicking. From an outsiders perspective, it looks to be a lack of structure and discipline. Maybe that’s not the case, however , when you are almost 3/4 of the way through the season and the team is struggling with the same problems they faced two months ago AND they aren’t even giving consistent effort night in and night out, what are people supposed to think?
At the end of the season, if this team doesn’t turn it around quickly and drastically, there are going to be a lot of questions and excuses. One excuse that won’t fly is “they didn’t have the talent.” So what will it be? What is it now?
Mark Gottfried is going to be the guy that many point the finger at. Not because his team lost to UNC and to Louisville, but how they lost. Not because his guys made mental mistakes, but because there were nights when his guys simply looked like they didn’t really care to be out there. It’s a harsh reality of being a college coach and your livelihood depending on the production of 18 and 19 year olds, but it’s why they dole out the big bucks for that position. If Gottfried wants to prove that he can get through to his team, then Wolfpack fans will be waiting to see it vs. Syracuse tomorrow night. If they come out lifeless yet again you can bet the Wolfpack fans will be anything but on Thursday morning.
It’s Not Over Till It’s Over
Look…I know the odds of NC State’s Men’s Basketball team going to the NCAA Tournament is next to zero percent.
In fact, according to Bart Torvik, the Wolfpack have a 1.1% chance of making the Dance as an at-large bid.
Don’t accuse me of wearing rose colored glasses, because I’m not. The fact remains, it’s not over until it is over.
What would have to happen for NC State to make the NCAA Tournament?
More than likely, NC State would have to win out the rest of the way, in games against Boston College, @ FSU, @ UNC, Duke and @ Pitt.
Maybe there’s a scenario where the Wolfpack beats BC, FSU, Pitt and beats either Duke or UNC. In order for that to play out, I imagine the Wolfpack would have to make a splash in the ACC Tournament as well.
Or maybe NC State could earn a bid winning 4 of 5 if they all of a sudden put together astronomical offensive and defensive efficiency numbers, which thus far has killed their position in the NET Rankings.
Either way, you would need some legit Cardiac Pack vibes for this team to make the Dance.
Call me unrealistic, but I think NC State should be in the NCAA Tournament every single season. Historically speaking, heading into this season, NC State ranked 27th for the most wins in college basketball history. If I lowered the standard a bit to 75%, accounting for an off year every now and then, the program is still way off the mark.
Read into this what you will, but if the Wolfpack doesn’t go to the Big Dance this year, that means they will have only gone twice in the past 7 years, and in my opinion, that’s unacceptable.
With that being said…GO PACK!
#6 NC State 70 UNC 80: BOX SCORE (with notes)
#6 NC State was defeated by their rival UNC this evening, falling 70-80 to the Tar Heels. Below is the Box Score with notes underneath.
- This game came down to shooting.
- UNC shot 50.8% from the field and NC State shot 35.2%.
- The Tar Heels shot an insane 52.4% from three, hitting 11 from beyond the arc.
- The Wolfpack shot 9 of 27 from deep.
- Junior Guard Aziaha James led the Pack with 24 points (10-24), and also grabbed 9 rebounds.
- Senior Forward Mimi Collins had a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
- The Pack needed to feed Collins. She was 3 of 6 from the field.
- Junior Guard Saniya Rivers had 13 points (4-13), and knocked down 4 three pointers (3-6).
- Senior Guard Madison Hayes had 11 points (4-12) and 9 boards.
- Senior Center River Baldwin struggled, hitting 2 of her 9 shots.
- The Wolfpack did manage to score 17 second chance points, compared to UNC’s 7.
- They also made 11 free throws, compared to UNC’s 5.
- UNC played extremely good defense, but NC State missed an obscene amount of shots around the rim.
- The Tar Heels looked like the better team tonight, leading for 3/4th of the game.
The Wolfpack will play at Duke on Sunday at 5:30pm on ACC Network.
#6 NC State Looks to Sweep Rival UNC This Evening
The 6th ranked NC State Women’s Basketball team is looking to sweep their rival UNC this evening at 8pm on ACC Network. Back on February 1st, the Wolfpack beat the Tar Heels 63-59. At the time NC State was ranked 5th, and UNC was ranked 24th.
Since arriving in Raleigh, Wolfpack Head Coach Wes Moore has led NC State to a 13-9 overall record against the Tar Heels, but they are 4-6 in Chapel Hill under his watch.
NC State lost to UNC the last time the game was played in enemy territory, falling 46-57 loss in Carmichael Arena on January 15th of last year. In that contest, the Wolfpack were ranked 11th and the Tar Heels were ranked 22nd.
If NC State wins tonight, it will mark the 4th time that Moore has led the Wolfpack to sweep UNC in the regular season.
Historically, NC State holds a 63-54 advantage in the series against UNC, but they are 20-30 on the road.
NC State’s Wes Moore is 1 of 15 on the Late Season Watchlist for the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award
NC State Women’s Basketball Head Coach Wes Moore is 1 of 15 on the Naismith Late Season Watchlist for the Coach of the Year Award.
The leader of our Pack 🐺🐺
— NC State WBB 🐺🏀 (@PackWomensBball) February 21, 2024
Currently, Moore has led NC State from being unranked in the preseason polls, to #6 currently. The Wolfpack are 23-3, and numerous publications project them to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Moore was a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award in 2020-21 and a Semifinalist in 2015-16.