That was entertaining for a while, and for a while NC State played well. Cat Barber was finding plenty of opportunities against Notre Dame's suspect defense, and he was hitting his jumpers. But we know the routine by now, don't we. The Pack did eventually go cold, and at the same time, the Irish started making everything. Notre Dame cruised down the stretch to an 89-75 victory.
Barber scored 29 for State but needed 25 shot attempts to get there. Malik Abu and Caleb Martin were bright spots for the Pack, scoring 20 and 16, respectively. But against an offense like Notre Dame's, NC State needed a lot more help. BeeJay Anya was in foul trouble all day. Maverick Rowan was only 2-10 from the field. Cody Martin missed all three of his field goal attempts.
Watching a game like this, you can put a finer point on what being "thin" means in basketball. Notre Dame doesn't play a lot of guys, though the Irish made a point to try to expand their bench in this game. The Irish might only have six or seven good players, but they can all contribute efficiently at the offensive end. State has a handful of good players--and one great player--but there is an overlap of skills that is constricting.
So it goes. Lennard Freeman it seems can barely jog these days. Rowan's got a foot injury. Terry Henderson is not going to play this season. We've got two days to rest before playing a Wake Forest team that'll have a week of rest. I'll be rooting hard for this team on Tuesday and in whatever games might follow, but it's never been more clear that the end is near. And that's not such a bad thing.