The Weather Moose:
It's been a week since the Wake Forest game and I'm still stumped at what I watched. Wake Forest, a rather putrid offensive team, dropped 51 in a half. Now I know State's defense is mediocre on a good day, but oh my god. And take away Barber's 15 first half points and I just have no idea where State would've been.
But the end result was the same. Even though the Pack came out scorching down the stretch, it's kinda hard to climb out of a 20-foot grave with a 12-foot ladder. Also, where have you gone, Ralston Turner? 31% shooting in the last 6 games, including 9-34 in the last 3. Send help.
Any leftover thoughts on the Wake game before we move on to Virginia?
My thought is that State's defense does this at least once a year, making a bad offensive team look like the Showtime Lakers. And it never fails to infuriate me. I turned it off at halftime, and I never EVER have done that before (technically I couldn't for most of the last 12 years, because it was my job to write about it, but still). Whatever that failed comeback may have looked like, I didn't see it.
The good half, awful half stuff has to stop at some point right? RIGHT?!?!?! Please God just tell me it will stop.
So this week is Virginia & Louisville, and it certainly feels like the Pack needs a split to keep its at-large hopes alive. Side note, but the fact that NCSU is still right on the bubble is insane. How mediocre is college basketball that this team, having been spanked by Clemson and Wake in the last two weeks, is still on the bubble? It's unbelievable to me that this is still a conversation we're having. But kudos to Gottfried for the scheduling that's allowed this insanity to happen.
Anyway, if there's good news for the Pack it unfortunately comes at the expense of Virginia. The Cavs lost their best player, Justin Anderson, in Saturday night's win over Louisville and it looks like he'll be out right up until the NCAA tournament. The Cavs aren't super deep, so I have no idea how minutes will look in his absence but they are certainly a much worse team on both ends without him. Granted, this doesn't make NC State better it just makes them less worse than Virginia. They'll also be coming off a week off while Virginia is coming off a Duke/UNC/Louisville gauntlet. If there's a scenario where you can steal a game this is it - at home against a team that's emotionally exhausted and trying to figure out how to play without one of its key pieces.
The other game is at Louisville and hahahahahaha yeah remember how the Pack looked against West Virginia's press? I don't really feel like we should bother with analyzing this game between it being on the road and my certainty the Pack is heading for 20 turnovers. The good news is they can't shoot, so you could always try the Duke strategy of playing zone and praying you don't see a lot of press because you don't give up any buckets.
I think State still being on the bubble is up for some debate. There are quite a few folks that say State's bubble burst when they lost to Clemson. Others, like me, thought it finally popped versus Wake Forest. You can't lose to this Wake Forest team and expect to make theNCAA tournament barring winning the ACC Tournament. I just don't see it.
But I suppose you're right in that there are opportunities left on the table with 3 of the next 4 games against top tier competition. Like you said, State's best shot this week comes against Virginia now that they've lost Justin Anderson for a bit. Anderson is by far UVA's best player and their best outside threat. Lacey had a horrible game against them last time and you wonder how he responds this week.
And then there's Louisville. The combination of Harrell and Rozier are probably just going to be too much for State to handle defensively. Not to mention the pressing defense State's going to have to deal with. If State can finish that game with 15 turnovers or less, I'd be amazed. It's just a horrible matchup for State in so many ways.
Picking State to beat Wake Forest backfired on me and since I'm completely out of fucks to give, I'll pick State to beat Virginia, generating just the right amount of hope to make the Louisville debacle as painful as possible.
So, in gif form:
I take issue with Anderson being 'by far' their best player since I feel like one of Virginia's great strengths is how balanced they are across the board. He was their best player, sure, but not by some considerable amount.
I can't believe you picked State to beat Virginia. Who are you? What did you do to the real Weather Moose?
Loss. Loss. Acceptance.