Three game win streak followed by three game losing streak, quite the swing we’ve seen in the last week. Maybe it’s good that NC State only has one game this week, they could probably use the time off to regroup. Unfortunately, the Wolfpack are only 2-3 on the road in ACC play this season, so going on the road during a slump is not a likely recipe for success. If ever there was a team to play right now, thought, it’s Miami. Tied for last place (with UNC, ahem ahem), the Hurricanes could really use some help to get out of the cellar.
Enter NC State, a team that is struggling mightily with putting the basketball through the round basket. The issues with the offense have been covered by Steven and Alec, but it bears repeating: Needs = points. The Pack have not scored over 65 points in six out of their last seven games, and haven’t crossed 60 in three of the last four. The one they did score well, however was against Miami. Well, now I’m confused.
As we continue to say every week, which team will show up? Will it be the one that scored 80 and handily beat Miami the last time out? Or will it be the team that slept walk through much of the second half against Louisville? The deficit in that game was cut to four, then the Cardinals stretched it up again and the Wolfpack didn’t put up much of a fight the rest of the way. Cutting a lead to four with 11 minutes left but then losing by 20 is borderline inexcusable. That shows something greater than an issue with X’s and O’s. The MO of Keatts teams have been to continue fighting, but that is not what happened.
The presence of Markell Johnson is still an enigma. Kevin Keatts needs him out there as he is one of the only players that can really create their own shot. But if he’s mostly looking for his own shot then the team suffers. Keatts said early in the season he wanted Markell to look to score more instead of defer, but there has to be a balance. I’m not sure we’re seeing a high awareness level of the flow of the game, when to press for a shot or get others involved. That leads to these numbers Steven posted here which are truly truly not good:
NC State's national ranks in the shooting categories since Jan. 1: 330th in eFG%, 231st in 2FG%, 343rd in 3FG%. There's your answer, Fishbulb.— Steven (@akulawolf) February 4, 2020
How do you just FIX not being able to shoot well with nine games left in the season? The short answer is you likely don’t, unfortunately. But we can hope for adjustments to be made to get easier shots and better looks. Many times the shooters aren’t getting the ball in rhythm, but feel obligated to shoot because they’re slightly open. I have seen enough off balance threes from Braxton Beverly and Pat Andree, thank you. Andree specifically looks like he is always forcing the shot rather than taking a second to get set, so it’s no wonder his past performance has not translated at State.
All of this is to say, I don’t know what to expect except the team likely is what it is at this point. Saying “it’s still early” isn’t true in February. One of the selection committee metrics is looking at how teams perform in the final 10 games of the season. We are in that range now, it’s time to put your dancing shoes on or put your feet up on the couch, pick one.
Date: Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Prediction: 68-75 (L)
Comment: “Something’s broken on offense and going on the road isn’t the place to find the fix.”
Prediction: 69-68 (W)
Comment: “I won’t be watching, so the Pack will win. You’re all welcome.”
Prediction: 67-64 (W)
Comment: “The one thing we used to rely on is offense, we have to get out of the slump, fortunately The U is struggling as well”
Prediction: 66-60 (W)
Comment: “Not confident NC State comes all the way back to life offensively, but I think they’ll be good enough to win.”
KenPom Projection: 76-75 (W)
BTP Staff Cumulative Prediction: 69-68 (W)
Staff Season Predicted Record (started week of Jan 6th):
TheRealEssad: 4 - 4
JEOHankins2: 6 - 2
Steven: 4 - 2
PirateWolf: 3 - 1
no23sports: 5 - 1
KenPom: 5 - 3
Actual: 4 - 4
So what do y’all think? Give us your predictions below!