NC State hasn’t played a basketball game since Dec. 3; a positive COVID-19 case at the Mohegan Sun bubble eventually led to State shutting down all basketball operations last week. The team returned to practice on Saturday—with six players:
“We just got back on Saturday, a couple of days ago,” Keatts said. “That particular day, I had six guys. It was more of a workout to get a lot of shots up. Then I got fortunate. After the six guys, yesterday we had eight. I thought I had made it, we had eight players.”
Those remarks are from Kevin Keatts’ radio show on Monday, and he added that his team was prepared to make the trip to Louisville despite having only eight or nine players available (wonder what that would have looked like?), but Louisville is having problems of its own right now.
Keatts would like to pick up a replacement game, preferably on Wednesday, the same night State was scheduled to play Louisville. If that doesn’t work out, then State will be off until a game against Campbell on Saturday. Which would then be the team’s sole acclimation back to live action prior to playing UNC.
You can understand why Keatts would like to expand the buffer a tad.
“We’ll be rusty,” Keatts said. “We haven’t played since Dec. 3, and for me to think that we’re going to just go back and be clicking the same way we were. I don’t think that’s going to happen. We’re a team that relies on our conditioning. That will come into question because we haven’t had a chance to get up and down as much. We’re a team that likes to press the entire game. We may have to scale some of that back until we get our conditioning better, and get more players back.”
On the bright side, if you gotta pick one year to have a super-deep team, this would be the one.