Just One Game
There was essentially nothing good to take away from NC State's loss on Thursday. It was their worst performance of the season, inconveniently coming against its arch rival in front of a national television audience. The good news is that it is only one game, one in a 16-game schedule where the Pack needs at least 10 but probably 11 wins to go to the NCAA Tournament.
From a sheer resume standpoint, the Georgia Tech loss was far worse than last night's performance. If the Pack can pull out a win against Virginia, they'll be sitting at 5-2 in league play with three straight winnable games ahead of them. There's still plenty of time, and opportunity, for the Pack. The Pack needs to put the first UNC game behind them and focus on the Cavaliers.
Following the game Gottfried said it was the first time all season that the Pack lost its poise and was unable to stick to the game plan on offense. The Tar Heels took away the Pack's main option and the team did a poor job of staying within the offense – instead forcing up bad shot after bad shot that bricked harmlessly off the rim.
The lack of execution resulted in an unusual shooting night for the Pack. The team shot an extraordinary number of 3s, 20 of them, and hit a very respectable 45 percent of those shots. But inside the arc they shot just 33 percent as Carolina's length wreaked havoc on the Pack's front court. The Pack also had a bad night at the line, hitting just 4-of-9 from the charity stripe.
NC State made its first shot of the second half, a well-designed 3-pointer for Scott Wood. Then they essentially packed up and left the building. The Heels went on a 26-6 run after that shot, during which the Pack seemed to simply accept defeat. Lazy passes, one-on-one plays and little defensive effort turned an 11-point game into an embarrassment.
The Pack recovered enough to chip away at the 30-point lead over the final few minutes, but it was certainly State's worst stretch of play all season.
The Pack turned in their worst rebounding performance of the season on Thursday night. They grabbed just 15 percent of their own misses, six offensive rebounds in total. On a night where shots weren't falling, the inability to create any second opportunities was devastating to State's chances.
On the other end of the court, the Heels were grabbing 43 percent of their own misses and finished with 15 offensive rebounds despite missing fewer shots. The Heels only led in second-chance points by an 11-to-8 margin but the Pack's inability to get rebounds led to longer defensive possessions and fewer transition opportunities for a team that needed all the easy baskets it could get.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Tough to reward anyone for what happened on Thursday, but if you have to pick someone then we'll go with Lorenzo Brown for creating the only highlight of the evening for Pack fans with his 80-foot buzzer beater to beat the halftime clock.
C.J. Leslie probably ended up with the best overall line of the night, finishing with nine points, eight rebounds and three steals but shot just 3-of-12 from the field and lost his head-to-head battle against John Henson.
"I haven't beat Carolina so I'm going to think about it forever probably."