Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pack Looking To "Wake" Up Against Deamon Deacs


Game Time: 7:00pm
Location: Raleigh, NC
Television: None (PackPass)

The first half of the ACC season is in the books and NC State isn't exactly where they envisioned themselves. The Pack, sitting at a disappointing 12-9, face a young but surprisingly dominant 18-3 Wake team ranked 8th in the nation. Led by sophomore stud Jeff Teague, Wake Forest is quick, fast, and dangerous in transition. They have beaten up on the likes of Duke, Clemson, and UNC, but have faltered against GT, VT, and Miami, who pillaged the Deacs to the tune of 79-52. If you watched the Miami/Wake game then you saw the blueprint for beating the Deacons...pack the paint and hope they're cold.

The Pack, coming off an absolute heartbreaking loss to VT, in which they led by 18, will need to impose their will on Wake and limit turnovers if they want to stay in this one. Teague and company are long and aggressive and love to attack the basket in a reckless manner. Miami stifled the Demon Deacons with a tightly packed 2-3 that the Wolfpack would be wise to engage. The Pack guards are going to need to make it a priority to take care of the rock because Wake likes to make a living off of easy transition buckets. Another question the Wolfpack faces is, you guessed it, who is the point guard. While Javi did improve on his recent performances last game, he still was shaky with the stone and seemed timid, if not scared, of attacking the basket. Degand's status is uncertain due to academic issues and Julius Mays has been inconsistent to say the least. But don't make the mistake of counting the Wolfpack out. State has been in every game this season and we do not expect it to change tomorrow.

Last year the Pack won a barn burner which ended when Ben McCauley tip slammed State to a victory. This year he may or may not get the chance to break Wakes heart again, as we are hearing that Ben did not dress out for practice tonight due to a stomach bug he's been battling. But the word we heard is that the coaches are expecting him to play tomorrow.

A win at home against Wake would be the perfect medicine to cure the stomach sickness many players and fans are still feeling after the collapse in Blacksburg last weekend. It would also really do a bit of damage to the conference rankings sending the 8th ranked team nationally to 5th place in the ACC, which really should be a testament to how strong this conference really is.

How can State pull this off? You may see Sidney go with a lot more zone than we're used to seeing. Jeff Teague has filthy handles and outstanding quickness, pair that with his strength and finishing ability and he makes for an extremely tough to handle package, one which State's guards should want no part of. If Degand is back he could take on the task, or Sidney might look to Fells. But Courtney seems to struggle more when facing a quick slasher such as Teague. He is much better against jump shooters because he can utilize his length and doesn't have to concentrate as much on moving his feet and staying in front. And it's not just Teague you have to worry about, Wake boasts a front court that is big, long, and active and are known to get physical. The true key to this game will be limiting Wake's space to work in the paint. If the Pack can clog the middle and force Wake to bomb away from outside they will have a real opportunity to win because Wake shoots a pretty weak 33% from downtown. But allow the Deac's guards to get inside and it will be a very long night for Sid and company. Tonight's goal for our boys should be 40 minutes; we here at Wolfpack Hoops still truly believe that if this team can focus and and stay composed for 40 minutes that the Pack can play with any team in the nation. Remember, tonight's game is in Raleigh and Sid holds a 3-1 record against the Deacs, making this game all the more interesting.


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