These immortal words shouted into Dwayne Ballen's microphone by Julius Hodge following the Pack's upset win over Duke were quickly adopted as State's unofficial motto."> These immortal words shouted into Dwayne Ballen's microphone by Julius Hodge following the Pack's upset win over Duke were quickly adopted as State's unofficial motto.">

Curle: Learning to Eat When You're Full

"When we hungry, we eat!" <P> These immortal words shouted into Dwayne Ballen's microphone by Julius Hodge following the Pack's upset win over Duke were quickly adopted as State's unofficial motto.

"When we hungry, we eat!"

These immortal words shouted into Dwayne Ballen's microphone by Julius Hodge following the Pack's upset win over Duke were quickly adopted as State's unofficial motto. When the Pack is hungry for a victory, warned Hodge, you better look out, because we're coming after you with everything we've got.

That attitude helped propel State to a second-place finish in the ACC regular season standings, finishing two games ahead of Wake Forest.

A funny thing happened on the way to the tournament last weekend, however. Sometime over the weeks following the Duke game, Hodge and his teammates had apparently had enough to eat.

It's not to say that the Pack was satisfied to go one-and-done, per se. They wanted the championship just as much as any of the other seven teams not coached by Roy Williams.

It was apparent, however, that the hunger that drove State through the Duke game at home and the Wake games during the regular season had subsided a bit. For the first time in a long time, State entered the tournament as one of the favorites. And quite frankly, it's tough to be hungry when everyone expects you to win.

After eeking out a victory over seventh-seeded Florida State, gluttony reared its ugly head in the Maryland game when the Pack squandered a 19-point halftime lead to fall to the eventual champs. The Pack looked confused at times in the second half, especially when Maryland cranked up their full-court press. Players failed to come to the ball. The passes around the perimeter were lazy and often telegraphed.

It certainly didn't help matters when John Gilchrist was shooting in 25-footers off one foot falling away with his eyes closed. When a player pours in 30 points and doesn't miss a shot the entire second half, it's tough to keep him and his team down.

But when Gilchrist got hot, that should've been the wake up call, or dinner bell, if you will, that the Pack needed. That hunger should've returned full force and turned them into a team full of Tom Hankses in Cast Away. The defensive pressure should've intensified. The passes should've gotten crisper. The cuts to the basket should've been sharper.

Hopefully the Pack will learn now that even when they are favored, the hunger must remain. They say there's always room for Jello. Well, there's always room for rebounding, hustling, deflections and extra passes, as well. Maintaining that hunger will be crucial if State is to win the games that many outsiders will consider gimmies.

The Pack's first culinary test will be UL-Lafayette Friday afternoon, a team that knows the meaning of hunger. As a 14-seed, they'll be ready to feast on a three-seed susceptible to being upset in the first round if they're not careful.

The question is which Pack team will show up in Orlando—one hungry and ready to eat, or one too full to roll out of bed in the morning?


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