This could actually be a tricky game. NC State beat Virginia Tech in Blacksburg earlier this season, something we couldn’t do. This is thanks in no small part to the return of point guard Engin Atsur from injury. Without him, NC State has basically no guard play. They have had to rely on their frontcourt, as their two starting forwards, Costner and McCauley, average more than 16 points per game. But their big weakness is lack of depth. Sidney Lowe plays with six or seven man rotations (known as the “six-pack”). A team without depth has only two ways to beat a team as deep as UNC (12 strong): either have insane athleticism and endurance with those six players, or slow down the game to a screeching halt. I don’t see NC State succeeding in either. I think we will see them execute a shut-down game plan that keeps it close in the first half, but the Tar Heels, who are basically two teams, hit the afterburners and pull away in the second half, as the Wolfpack run out of rivalry-induced adrenaline.
3:40 pm: Wow. Boston College absolutely pasted Virginia Tech in Chestnut Hill, 80-59. This I did not expect. This keeps the Eagles in 2nd in the ACC, only to the Tar Heels.
3:44 pm: Oh, Good Lord. Sidney Lowe is wearing a red blazer. The kiss of death. For whom I have no idea.
3:46 pm: Courtney Fells draws first blood with a basket off a pass by Atsur. He then steals the ball on the next play, leading to another basket. 4-0, NCSU.
3:47 pm: WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOOOO! (riff) 4-2, UNC.
3:48 pm: Psycho T gets his first basket to tie the game, 4-4. Green is in for Terry.
3:49 pm: Lawson busts some good moves and dishes it to Wright for a huge dunk. 6-4, UNC.
The fans are screaming WOLF! PACK! WOLF! PACK! They don’t do it nearly as good as we do TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS!
3:50 pm: McCauley hits a shot from the baseline to make it 8-6, NC State. Wait a minute…McCauley is white?
3:52 pm: Wright makes a huge block and follows it with a nice basket in the paint. 10-6, UNC.
3:56 pm: Ginyard, Quentin Thomas, Stepheson and Thompson are in the game. Atsur gets the better of Q, and McCauley gets another bucket to make it 10-8, UNC.
3:58 pm: Just like that, the entire starting lineup is back in the game. The Wolfpack, as they should, have slowed the game down considerably. It’s almost slow enough to be boring.
4:01 pm: Just as I say that, NC State gets a huge basket to tie the game, 10-10. After another fruitless trip on the offensive end, the Heels catch a break and the Wolfpack commit an offensive foul. I know I shouldn’t be concerned yet; this game could turn in our favor on a dime. But I’m starting to worry about the pace of this game. We need to adjust our game plan.
4:05 pm: Lawson makes a big mid-range shot to give UNC a 12-10 lead. He almost lost the ball, but he kept his composure and hit the shot surrounded by defenders.
4:06 pm: WHOOOOOO! Lawson hits a wide open three; no one even bothered to cover him. 15-12, UNC.
4:07 pm: Ugh. UNC plays good defense for 32 seconds, but as the shot clock expires Atsur gets the ball to McCauley, who dunks it in. Costner follows with another big dunk AND the foul after blocking a Hansbrough shot. 17-15, NC State.
4:09 pm: Hansbrough follows with a drive and a 3-point play of his own. He gets the pass of the steal and finds himself at the charity stripe. Thank God it’s him and not Brandan Wright. UNC takes a 20-17 lead.
4:10 pm: Green, Thompson, Miller and Frasor are in the game. Terry comes back in for Green. This game is starting to get very tense.
4:12 pm: 23-20, NC State. The Pack take back the lead from foul shots and a big turnover from Deon Thompson.
Sidney Lowe Seriously looks like a pimp right now, with his shaved head, carefully placed mustache, hefty red suit, and blinged out rings, cufflinks and watch. All he needs now is a red fedora and a “cheerleader”.
4:16 pm: Frasor steals the ball and then has the ball stolen from him, and then UNC steals it back, and then Thompson commits an offensive foul. Lawson is back in the game.
4:18 pm: 26-20, NC State. Fells hits a big three, and the crowd is going insane. Hansbrough goes to the bench. Stepheson is blocked. I never though I would see UNC physically dominated like this. Fells hits another three to make it 29-20, NC State. They have scored 11 straight points in this game. Roy is really, really nervous. What a difference Atsur makes.
4:20 pm: 29-23, NC State. Ginyard dunks off a turnover to stop the bleeding. Lowe, in all his pimpadelic wisdom, calls a timeout to stop the momentum.
4:22 pm: 29-25, NC State. UNC gets another steal, and Hansbrough runs down the court and gets a huge dunk. That’s his 1,000th point. What a way to get it!
4:23 pm: Fells hits another three to make it 32-25, NCSU. The Pack are a completely different team with Atsur in the lineup. Lawson follows with a tough shot in the lane to bring the deficit back down to 5.
4:26 pm: The last time we were on ABC, we lost to Va. Tech to a team that just got a huge road win.
4:27 pm: 36-29, NC State. Wright gets another good basket in the middle, but Costner hits another three for the Wolfpack. UNC has to play better defense, they’re allowing NC State to shot 50%.
4:29 pm: 36-31, NC State. Terry finally gets on the board with a tough mid-range jumper. He has 9 points right now.
4:30 pm: 36-33, NC State. Wow. Ty Lawson is tough. He just drove into the lane again and managed to get a teardrop shot over the forest of Wolves.
4:32 pm: 36-34, NC State. NC State commits a turnover with a five second violation. Lawson attacks the basket and draws Engin Atsur’s third foul with six seconds left.
4:33 pm: Lawson ties the game with free throws, but Fells goes coast to coast for a layup at the buzzer. NC State leads at halftime, 38-36. We need to play better on defense, but more importantly we need to disrupt their pace of the game and substitute our own. As soon as we’re able to do that for an extended period, we will win.
4:36 pm: Seeing Mr. Wuf and Mrs. Wuf got me thinking: What’s your stance on male and female mascots? I vote no.
4:50 pm: NC State starts the scoring in the second half, and Costner gets a tough basket and Fells dunks off a turnover. 42-36, NC State.
4:52 pm: WAYNE’S WORLD! WANYE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOOOOOOO! (riff) 42-39, NC State. Man, he has a good shot.
4:53 pm: McCauley gets a three point play to make it 45-39, NC State.
4:54 pm: NC State is playing really good defense right now. They are unfazed by Hansbrough’s tactics.
4:55 pm: Lawson hits another three to make it 45-42, NC State. The backcourt needs to shoot it a little more.
4:56 pm: WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOOOOOO! (riff) 45-45. Ellington and Lawson account for all nine second half points.
4:57 pm: Hansbrough hits his baby hook shot to give UNC a 47-46 lead. He was able to hit that shot because the Wolfpack defense have to respect the perimeter, as Ellington and Lawson are really hitting their shots right now.
5:00 pm: UPS’s new ad campaign is really bad. I mean, really really bad. They need to take a hint from V-Dub.
5:01 pm: Lawson goes coast to coast for another tough basket, but Atsur hits a three. The game is tied, 49-49.
5:02 pm: NC State hits yet another three to take a 52-49 lead. The Heels really need to shut down the perimeter.
5:03 pm: 53-52, UNC. The second team comes in and Thompson hits a mid range jumper to take the lead.
5:04 pm: 54-53, NC State. NC State retaliates with a mid range shot of their own.
5:05 pm: Both teams are in serious foul trouble right now. each have key players with 4 and 3 fouls, respectively.
Oh, crap. Stepheson shoots free throws worse than Wright.
5:06 pm: Atsur scores a three point play off a great backdoor cut to make it 57-53, NC State.
5:08 pm: 62-53, NC State. What the hell is wrong with our team right now? they aren’t defending the perimeter, they aren’t making good decisions on the offensive end. Atsur vs. Q: advantage, Turkish boy.
5:12 pm: NC State is shooting an insane 59.5% from the field. If something doesn’t change soon, UNC is going to go through living hell on Monday. 65-55, NC State.
UNC is playing timidly out there; I haven’t seen this since the VT game. Just as I say that, the Heels get two easy buckets to make it 65-59, NC State.
5:16 pm: NC State extends the lead to 8, but McCauley commits his fourth foul, and he’s taken out of the game. 67-59, UNC. At some point the Heels are going to be remind of the hell they were put through on Monday practice following the loss to Virginia Tech, and play out of their minds just to avoid to do that again. That’s right, I think they are going to rally based on their sheer fear of Roy’s post-loss practice.
5:21 pm: Wow. Hansbrough shot is outright blocked, and the ball is stolen by Costner, and Hansbrough comes close to punching him. He gets a technical foul for it.
5:25 pm: Wow. After NC State took a 71-60 lead, Within a minute, Hansbrough makes two huge plays in the paint, one of which was a 3-point play, to cut the lead to 71-65, NC State. With six and a half minutes left, the Pack will need to make a key decision on when McCauley should come back in the game.
5:28 pm: The Heels begin pressing on Atsur, and trap into taking NC State’s final timeout. This is huge. Now if UNC gets momentum, pimpadelic coach Lowe cannot stop the clock and change the gameplan.
5:30 pm: NC State turns the ball over, but UNC is unable to take advantage of it on the other end, and Hansbrough picks up a foul, as Atsur goes to the line again.
5:32 pm: 73-67, NC State. Atsur and Hansbrough exchange trips to the line. Horner fouls out, forcing McCauley back in with four minutes left. I just prayed a full rosary for UNC to win this game. Hopefully he’s reading. That’s right, I am on my website holding the Almighty accountable. I will surely be smited for this. Hopefully not today or Wednesday, though.
5:36 pm: Unbelievable. When it really counts, Wright hits his free throws.
5:37 pm: WHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Hansbrough steals it and dunks to make it 73-71, NC State. Just as I write this, Fells hits yet another shot to make it 76-71. Worse, Hansbrough is also in foul trouble.
5:39 pm: 77-73, NC State. Lawson hits a coast-to-coast shot again.
5:40 pm: Upset Watch: Kansas State 73, Texas 72.
Ellington hits two free throws to make it 77-75, UNC. If the Wolfpack win this game, I will hate Atsur and Fells forever.
5:42: Terry fouls out. This is not good. 79-75, NC State.
5:44 pm: UNC hits a quick shot to make it 79-77 with one minute left. Wes Miller fouls Atsur, which sends him to the line. Not good.
5:46 pm: 81-77, NC State. Wright misses his shot, and NC State rebounds, but NC state misses both free throws. Ellington throws up two shots, but to no avail. It’s pretty much over at this point.
5:50 pm: The game goes final: NC State 83, UNC 79. I am at a loss for words. But when you allow your opponent to shoot 76% in the second half of a close game, you can’t win unless you shoot at least 60% yourself, and UNC shot only 50%. There was almost no good passing in this game. The Tar heels, with the possible exception of Lawson and Hansbrough, were simply outplayed in every facet of the game, and for that a lot of credit needs to be given to the Wolfpack and their pimpalicious coach, Sidney Lowe. But looking ahead to Wednesday, three things come to mind:
- This was a day of upsets. Aside from this game, Georgia Tech beat Clemson, BC beat Virginia Tech, Iowa beat Indiana, USC beat Oregon, Kansas State beat Texas, and even Oklahoma State was humbled by Big 12 doormat Colorado. If you were a favorite, it just wasn’t your day today.
- I would really, really hate to be a UNC player in practice on Monday; they will go through hell. However, some blame must be on the coach, who did not adjust during the game.
- Duke is going to try and slow the game down just like the Wolfpack did today. But trust me, UNC is going to come off this game pissed off, learn from the mistakes they made, and take out all of their frustrations on the Dookies on Wednesday night.