We were all worried about how this team was going to sort itself out after one immediate (William and Mary) and another long-term (Terry Henderson) setback. What we saw on Sunday was a more focused team that was less interested in what the other team was doing and much more interested in hitting the fine points. The Wolfpack crushed South Alabama, 88-70, in a decision that could have been much worse for the Jaguars.
NC State responded well to a bad loss and a quick turnaround and looked much more effective in the process. After playing like a bunch of dudes with their heads cut off, State clearly took to heart the message from the coaching staff, which was probably something like PLAY TOGETHER YOU ARE ALL GOOD AT BASKETBALL.
They also had to endure the Terry Henderson news, the results of which remain unclear.
With Henderson out until at least Christmas, this is all new territory for NC State, and suddenly there has never been a more important recruit in the Mark Gottfried era than Maverick Rowan. Rowan was 5-10 from the field on Sunday night and 2-6 from three. There are no other guards. It's just Rowan and the Cat, with whatever help NC State can get from the Martins.
Cat Barber grabbed 12 boards, dished out eight assists, and scored 17 on Sunday night, and his jump shot is still a no-show. That's this offense working--without Cat hitting any deep jump shots--and it could have been far better for South Alabama. I think this is fine.
I like this team.