The thing with NC State basketball is not just that they offer portions of hope within an otherwise gross season, but that they can be incredibly good in spans and then just completely fail at basketball for other spans. Both the good and the very bad were on display on Wednesday as Syracuse came back from a double-digit deficit in the final 10 minutes to win 100-93 in overtime.
Dennis Smith recorded another triple-double, by the way, and picking up two of those in the same season is highly irregular, but no one cares about that and fewer still will remember it. NC State completely blew this game, and it was a must-win contest, and it was against a very average Syracuse team.
Syracuse got a hero effort from John Gillon, but State got some pretty heroic efforts from Smith and Maverick Rowan, and State absolutely flopped in overtime, because they are emotionally fragile. State could have won this game in the final seconds of regulation, and Rowan got a decent look, but once that shot rimmed out, the game was over. Confidence matters, and so does good coaching, and Syracuse capitalized on both to quickly bury State in overtime.
That’s this year. Sometimes you lose because your effort sucks. Sometimes you just get unlucky and some no-name guy goes off on you. With Gottfried’s team it’s often a mix of both circumstances, but tonight it was mostly the latter. Fault the defensive effort if you want, but that is not what defined this particular game on this particular day. All of this still sucks and is depressing.
Randomness involves all, and sometimes it stacks one bad outcome on top of another. That’s life.