Omega Melts Down

Joe Robbins

(I did indeed bump this, and consider it your official swear-at-the-moon thread, if you're so inclined. Ain't no judgment here. -- Steven)

(Posting this as a fan post because I'm pretty sure I'll regret it in the morning. If Steven finds it worthy of the front page, he can push it there.)

Steven was pretty brief and relatively diplomatic here. Like 99% of the population, he's a better man than I am. (I'm not sure if that statistic is misogynistic or if my penis is just that small, but I digress.) For the angry, pitchfork-wielding, call-in-talk-show-calling, alcohol-rage-infused among us, here is an angrier, alternate response to N.C. State becoming NCCU's first ACC victim:


We could stop there, but instead I will indulge myself from the relative anonymity of the interwebs to start calling out some folk.

First and foremost, Teen Wolf was a lovable if oft little used backup last year. A fun little guy to root for. Gritty. Gamer. Almost Wojo-esque in his future potential to shame seemingly more gifted athletes. By god he almost led us to some wins against some good teams when LoZo was out. Almost. We're (I'm too drunk to remember) four or five games into the season and I think it's clear that he is an AAU/Summer League Superstar but not a point guard for a team with NCAA tournament aspirations. He cannot shoot and he cannot defend, and in a dragging half-court game like we witnessed against NCCU, he is a liability.

Second and secondmost, since Teen Wolf has thoroughly demonstrated his inability to keep his man in front of him, why does Gottfried insist on playing man-to-man? Other than Cat Barber, I'm not sure that there is anyone on the team that can play "lockdown" perimeter defense without fouling, especially under the new OMG you came within an inch of grazing his baggy shorts that'll be two shots edict from the NCAA. Because, you know, the game was so broken before you turned it into Hoosiers. But anyway...Teen Wolf can't guard anyone, and that gets other people in foul trouble or leads to easy baskets on penetration. If he's in the game, you just about have to zone or it's a nonstop charity stripe foul out your best players who get nabbed when they try to help fuck shit beer kind of goddammit... zone please zone please. Is Gottfried's refusal to change defenses a macho thing? Because nothing is more macho than Jim Fucking Boeheim, and how's the zone working for him?

Did anyone else notice that we forced turnovers on two of the first three NCCU possessions when, finally, 30+ minutes into the game with half the scholarship players having four fouls, we went zone? Oh how I am missing Jimmy V right about now. The man actually tried stuff when the original stuff wasn't working. I think it's called coaching.

Also, 15-foot, unguarded shots are (for teams other than N.C. State) pretty easy to make. The Eagles made over 89% of those shots. They made but 19% of their threes. Hmm. Should we pack it in and make them win with jumpshots, or take our chances with dribble-drive layups and foul shots. I'll have to get back to you on that head scratcher.

So third and thirdmost is coaching, but really it should be first and foremost. There just wasn't any. Gottfried has brought in Warren and Barber and Lee, three players that I think could play for anyone, though as a sophomore suddenly shouldering the burden of carrying a team, a freshperson point guard, and a JUCO dude, all of the above have much room for growth. Annyong cannot move and, even with an 11-foot wingspan, got rejected by the rim on a layup. Washington seems to lack coordination. Nard Dog should probably try granny-styling free throws, but he does hold the promise of being a solid role player. Teen Wolf is simply not an ACC point guard. Basically, what I'm saying is Gott won with other people's recruits. And kudos for over-achieving with underachievers that one year. That was swell. But was tonight really a UNC upset by Belmont oh these things happen kind of thing, or yet another piece of evidence that Gottfried ain't the answer (unless the question is who wears too much hair gel and doesn't take his wedding vows all that seriously)? I did not see a lot of ACC-level talent on the floor tonight despite whatever the hell the recruiting ratings say.

After suffering through this football season, I just don't know how much more talk of "we're young" and "it's a rebuilding year" and "blah blah blah" and "insert excuse here" I can stand to listen to. I want a coach who BELIEVES that he can beat you with his players or your players. We don't have that.

Because I am insane (just look at my continued, weekly rationalizations on how the football team can win this time), and because writing and a certain beer threshold proves cathartic, I am already starting to tell myself that the above rambling negativity is too harsh. It will get better. And maybe so. Maybe I'll be able to don my good N.C. State fan cap and live in denial for all of perpetuity.

But I am convinced right now of two things: Gott needs to hand the keys to Cat on offense. He will make some mistakes that would make even C.J. Leslie's poetry professor blush, but the sooner the realization strikes that he is the answer at point guard, the sooner he can mature into the role. Teen Wolf is a 10-minute-a-game backup, at best. Lee and Turner need to split time at the two guard with both of them occasionally sharing the floor in a three-guard look, but Warren needs to move to the three. He simply doesn't rebound well enough at the four, and his offense is outside in. He offers no post presence. That means that you have to play some combination of Freeman, Washington, Anya, and Vandy at the same time. Throw them to the proverbial wolves. They are not going to develop splitting 40 minutes between them, and unless they develop some semblance of ability down low, this team is just going to be too outside-oriented to win many games (especially since none of the perimeter guys are exactly Scott Wood out there in terms of shooting ability). I'll never understand why, rather than try to use its size to advantage, State (Gottfried) insisted on playing into NCCU's hands by going small. Put big people in. Sag. Crash the boards. Instead it was a layup line and free throw practice as Gottfried refused to adjust despite the ever-mounting evidence that the Pack could not contain a smaller, quicker lineup in the hombre-a-hombre defense. If you can't defend a ball screen or rotate properly, you should not be in the man defense (and damn if this isn't the millionth time under this staff that these problems have persisted).

Speaking of zones, do we understand, as an offense, how to attack them? You penetrate it, get the ball to the middle of it, make it move, etc... Other than Cat occasionally breaking it down with pure athleticism, State's zone offense consisted of tossing it around the perimeter before settling for something deep. NCCU has shown every future opponent how to beat us. Dribble drive on offense and zone on defense. Even if the solution to that formula is readily apparent, I don't have much faith that we'll figure it out.

Well not now anyway. Tomorrow is a new day and will surely be filled with irrational optimism rooted in something short of logic. As Pack fans, this is our state (of mind).

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