At some point you completely lose faith in the potential of a team. You might have beaten me to that point, at any time in the last few games. But I think I finally got there during the first half of NC State's game against Florida State when Caleb Martin badly airballed a wide-open three-point try.
That shot finally cut through the denial and smacked me in the face while screaming "this is happening and I'm sorry." The story of this team is not that simple; not at all. This year it's the play in the margins, when the biggest pivot point in any given game is guaranteed to go the other way. NC State is a poor shooting team. The Wolfpack does virtually everything else well, but it lacks that very important trump card.
Against an opponent with the size of Florida State, the Pack's troubles can be magnified. They couldn't crack FSU's interior defense, and as a result the Wolfpack ended up attempting 26 three-pointers. That plays right into FSU's hands, or really, the hands of any team NC State is playing. It just can't work; not this year.
I think they were pressing--I think the slow start to conference play, combined with the sobering reality of schedule ahead, made the guys put too much pressure on themselves Wednesday night. Malik Abu played well, Cat did a number of Cat things, but they didn't get much support. Maverick Rowan was almost non-existent before a hot streak in the waning minutes. Caleb's jump shot remained an adventure.
This is the theme we have to accept--Cat Barber might be very good, and Malik Abu might occasionally be damn good, but there is no depth on this team, either literally or in the ol' "he-can-score-points" category. Abu stepped up big-time tonight. Barber was good, if not quite up to his recent standards. This could have been a much different game if Caleb Martin were hitting shots. But he doesn't look even remotely close right now.
And that's what bothers me, because at this point I don't care about one game. I'm glad Caleb keeps shooting, because we absolutely need him--there are no other options. I just worry that he's becoming demoralized to a point where it's getting in his head.
Plenty of time to get this sorted out, though, right, y'all? *nervous laughter*