Well I’m not really sure what there is to say after a 51-point loss on the road against one of your rivals, because for all the bad scenarios I’m able to envision leading up to a game like this, um, this has never been one of them.
NC State was buried very, very quickly by North Carolina—down 14-4 by the first television timeout—and not only didn’t respond, but didn’t seem to care to, either. It snowballed badly from there (it is winter, after all!), as the Pack shrank away from the challenge rather than stepping up to it.
I’ve seen a lot of blowout losses at UNC or Duke over the last 15 years and there’s a certain numbness that comes with them by now, but there is a pretty big difference in degree between losing by 20 and losing by 50. If you lost by 50, then you completely, totally quit. The difference in talent between these teams is not even close to being that vast.
There was some tough talk from the players leading up to this game, and they all flaked. A lot of this performance is on the players, but plenty is on Mark Gottfried as well. Gottfried can’t seem to motivate this team to play hard consistently or have any pride in playing defense, and as long as that is the case, State’s 2017 season will be a story of unrealized potential.
Maybe the circumstances of this year have been too much, maybe the necessity of relying on a lot of young players compounded by several guys missing a lot of time is simply too large a barrier. But none of that fully explains or excuses what we’ve seen from State this season, and it certainly excuses nothing about Sunday.
NC State should be much, much better than this and the Gott Man needs to find answers on the damn bus ride home if this year is going to end up salvageable.