At this point I think we can say that Duke is probably better than we originally thought they were and NC State is far worse.
- NC State lost to ECU and the score really is not important since this is the same ECU team that has not seen the court during an NCAA Tournament game since 1993 and that was against UNC. This is also an ECU team that was 0-57 against the ACC prior to this game. Way to represent the conference there Pack. A quick survey of the message boards and blogs in Wolfpack nation reveal meltdowns of varying degrees plus the first questions raised about Sidney Lowe. Needless to say, that did not take long. So what is wrong with NC State? A lot actually and most of it has to do players like Ben McCauley and Brandon Costner being shells of their former selves. The absence of a legitimate point guard hurts tremendously but at the same time it also seems like J.J. Hickson is the only Pack player producing anything. Gavin Grant has his moments and he did versus ECU with 25 points but the most daunting problem facing NC State right now is a gross inability to rebound. ECU outrebounded the Pack both in total rebounds and on the offensive boards. Considering the Wolfpack frontline should absolutely outclass anything ECU can run out there the failure to control the boards is a fairly damning indictment against the Pack players as to their effort. On top of this you add to the fact this team, which found a way to beat Villanova, was tabbed as 3rd in the ACC. At this point they might need to finish 3rd to see the NCAA Tournament. Losses like this one kill an NCAA resume and there is the very real possibility that the last 6-7 games from last season were overvalued. NC State have talented players but until they start coming together as a unit and playing with some intensity this season will end in the NIT not the Big Dance.
- Duke came out versus Michigan with more rust than the hull of the Titanic circa 1913. The Blue Devils shook it off and proceeded to blow the Wolverines out. Duke continues to impress, especially on defense but also for the uptempo style which includes shooting and hitting three pointers at a good clip. The one question I have is whether Duke can continue to shoot threes like they have done so far as the season wears on. Players’ legs tend to get a little weary and those shooting percentages correct downward because of it. And looking forward to UNC-Duke I will be interested to see how much UNC can disrupt a lot of what Duke does including controlling the boards.
- If NC State is heading to the ACC bottom tier then someone must reasonably trade up. Wake Forest lost to Georgia on Saturday which shows their weaknesses. Florida State beat Maine which does not mean much. Miami on the other hand won again to get to 8-0. Miami has the win over Providence on the schedule as well as a win over VCU. The win over FIU was fairly pedestrian so Miami may end up being the team we thought they were.
- ACC play begins in earnest with Boston College visiting Maryland on Sunday. That one should be fairly ugly.