First off, I will admit I have been a tad bit effusive in talking about NC State’s win over Duke. it even with the ensuing loss to FSU. That loss was equal parts regression to the mean and officiating. Kevin Keatts will need to learn that when the calls aren’t going your way, you have to either play around them or force them to make a call in your favor. FSU is trained to put the refs in this position and tend to be successful at it. I feel like I’m going into parent-mode when watching these games, often yelling at the TV, “keep your hands to yourself!”
Having multiple players foul out of a winnable game is frustrating to see, and surely it’s something Roy Williams and team are looking at closely. The Wolfpack committed 21 fouls to unc’s 13 in their first matchup. Against FSU, the disparity was 20 for the Pack and 15 for the Noles. Several of these for State were intentionally committed at the end of the game, so the real numbers are probably more even. However, perhaps it’s bias but it seemed clear there were many no-calls for the Wolfpack that weren’t consistent with the way the calls were being made on the other side. Keatts will need to recognize this during the game and adjust course accordingly.
NC State finds itself in a no-win situation at unc tonight. If they win, then heels fans can just say, “whatever, you were supposed to win, we’ll be back on top next year.” If the Pack loses, then the narrative is just an open pass to clown the Wolfpack for not being able to beat unc in a year where literally everyone else in the conference is beating them. In that scenario, unc would have four conference wins, two of which being over NC State. That would be quite the sad state of affairs. Let’s try and have that not happen, hm?
On the flip side, in line with pretty much every February for the last 20 years, NC State is fighting for their bubble lives. Another loss to unc would be devastating to the Pack’s hopes, and might just close the door. Getting swept by unc would not just look bad, but might also put the Wolfpack on a path to 6th place in the conference, thanks to a rejuvenated Notre Dame team. All bad things come from losing, which NC State can’t afford to do. And as you can see below, the team is mixed on whether they can pull it off on the road against a guaranteed to be hyped up unc team and crowd. Who am I kidding, their crowd sucks.
The same situation applies to the Pittsburgh game. The needing to win, not the crowd thing. The Pack really should go 3-1 in the last four to stay in the hunt.
Honorable mention: The man we always had confidence in 100% of the way with ZERO doubt, Devon Daniels was named ACC Player of the Week last week! Big ups to Dev for that hustle.
Date: Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Prediction: 68-79 (L)
Comment: “Another stumble against the team everyone but the Wolfpack are beating up on this season.”
Prediction: 76-69 (W)
Comment: “The best way to approach a situation like this is with irrational confidence, to hell with logic or anything else.”
Prediction: 75-71 (W)
Comment: “I don’t know if I believe a win to be true BUT I think we’ll be motivated plus we’ve had success in Chapel Hill..& like Jones, MJ will zero in on competiton with Anthony.”
Prediction: 77-79 (L)
Comment: “I just have a hard time predicting wins over UNC-CH.”
KenPom Prediction: 73-72 (W)
BTP Staff Cumulative Prediction: 74-74 (TIE!)
Date: Saturday, February 29, 2020
Prediction: 77-72 (W)
Comment: “Pack builds a second half lead then does just enough to take the W down the stretch.”
Prediction: 70-62 (W)
Comment: “Pitt is the worst shooting team in the league, which this year is really saying something. Something very bad.”
Prediction: 77-65 (W)
Comment: “Unless its a blow out win against CH, I’ll predict a sizable win here...we historically play well against Pitt (& Capel). But if we beat CH soundly, this could be a let down spot.”
Prediction: 82-72 (W)
Comment: “Just feels like a win no matter how the UNC-CH game goes.”
KenPom Prediction: 71-64 (W)
BTP Staff Cumulative Prediction: 75-67 (W)
Staff Season Predicted Record (started week of Jan 6th):
TheRealEssad: 5 - 8 (maybe I’ve been too pessimistic, I dk)
JEOHankins2: 9 - 4
Steven: 8 - 3
PirateWolf: 4 - 1
no23sports: 5 - 1
KenPom: 7 - 6 (we’re all losing to a computer, sheesh)
Actual: 7 - 6
So what do y’all think? Give us your predictions below!