High hopes...high hopes... High apple pie in the sky hopes. Over the past months the level of optimism for NC State's 2016-2017 basketball season has grown exponentially. The return of Abu & Anya, signing Omer, and being in a good position to land 4 star Markell Johnson & 5 star transfer Malik Newman all leads our fanbase to making bold predictions for the coming year. And it wasn't just us. After Abu's return, CBS surmised we could be a top 15 team and, in their post-draft Top 25, placed us just outside at 26. BUT the Worldwide Leader has spoken...and they said SCREW THAT (citation needed).
Eamonn Brennan listed his Top 25 and State is nowhere to be found, not even as an "honorable mention." And mock Joe Lunardi all you'd like, but in his preseason NCAA Bracketology NC State is also MIA. Nine ACC teams are placed in the field with NC State failing to even be the "First Four Out" or "Next Four Out." This isn't to say they are wrong. State loses its top scorer, two key guys who logged major minutes, and redshirts arguably its best rebounder/post defender. Add that to its new point guard coming off serious injury, questionable eligibility of our most highly touted post player and uncertainty of what to expect from Torn Dorn & Terry Henderson...it becomes clear where the ESPN perspective comes from.
All that being said, this is all just for fun to drive debate and drive traffic from various fanbases on these websites. The most likely truth is that NC State probably will float somewhere between CBS & ESPN's predictions as we always seem to be. Without any monumental good or bad news, the expectations of the national media will likely find consensus in a "wait and see" approach towards our program in 2016-2017. As for us, hopefully we've learned our lessons over the years to keep that same philosophy no matter how positive (or negative) things get over a period of time.