I'm soaking up everything I can today. Back to mildly serious business tomorrow.
-- Lots from the N&O on last night's epic win. K suggests his team was tired after its win over Wake Forest on Sunday. K also says his team's defensive effort was the worst he's seen all year. The Pack shreds the Devils, and Luke DeCock says Tracy Smith was the difference.
-- Last night's winner: Tracy Smith's beard. Tracy's beard wins every night, but last night, moreso. I liked one commenter's suggestion that NC State folks hand out fake beards prior to the Carolina game.
-- The Indy's Grayson Currin takes a break from his excellent local music reportage to write about the win.
-- DBR attaches too much significance to the Wolfpack victory but has a lot of very kind words for NC State. There are also some pointed but fair words about the identity lost in the transition from Reynolds to the RBC Center. Almost makes me feel bad for disliking Duke so much.
We’ve always liked State basketball. It’s not our school, but it’s a fun program with a great history. Since Jim Valvano left, things have been difficult. Les Robinson did an honorable job and put State back on the right track, but he was not able to compete in the ACC. Herb Sendek was able to, but he bored people to tears and frustrated State fans to no end.
For the last 15 years or so, nothing much has gone right for the Pack. Even Sidney Lowe, a hero of the Cardiac Pack, has taken a lot of heat as he has tried to build his program. State fans have all too often grown cynical and jaded as their program has struggled to keep up with the ACC powers.
Tonight though went a long way towards catching up. There is a reasonable core of players on this team, some speed and athleticism, and more on the way. If nothing goes terribly wrong, State is back, and we welcome them. The ACC is a lot better off when they’re good.
While losing is no fun, this game may well signal the rebirth of State basketball, and we don’t mean the risk-averse actuarial approach of Sendek but rather the real thing: the passion, the electric atmosphere, the dramatic rush of red up and down the court. At its best, State basketball is a combination between a carnival and a passion play and is extraordinarily compelling.
If Lowe & Co. can build on this, they can connect the program back to the glory days of Valvano, Norm Sloan and Everett Case. The fans will return, and the crowd, which has forgotten so much during their years in the desert, will build new traditions and State will once again be one of the most dreaded stops in the ACC.
Go read the whole thing.
-- Brett Friedlander had the same doom-and-gloom thoughts running through his head during the game that we did.
-- Dan Wiederer focuses his recap on Javi's miracle three.
"I was trying to shake and bake," Gonzalez said. "But he wasn't going for it. So I had no choice."
The roar inside the RBC Center hit its season high.
With just 3:52 left to play, N.C. State was beating No. 7 Duke by 11 points and the Wolfpack wasn't about to let opportunity knock, come in the building, then somehow sneak out the back door.
"That was a life-saver," Farnold Degand said. "You could feel the crowd ignite."
Added Gonzalez: "I haven't heard our crowd that loud in three years."
You could feel it through the TV. It really is amazing to watch 15,000 people lose their shit like that.
"If he was going to keep (coming at me)," Gonzalez said of approaching 6-foot-10 Plumlee, "I was going to put it in his face. And I did."
Great to have you back, Javi.
-- Sid, re: Javi's three: "It was time for us to hit one of those."