Thursday, March 12, 2009

ACC TOURNY PREVIEW: Wolfpack Wants Revenge

Opening Round :: ACC TOURNAMENT

Game Time: 7pm
Location: Atlanta Georgia
Television: Raycom

I can't remember a season in recent memory where the Pack has been so close so many times, but as you know, close doesn't cut it when it comes to ACC basketball. The Pack enter the tournament with a record of 16-13 and coming off a heart wrenching defeat at the hands of Miami (who earlier in the day was decimated by Virginia Tech). Tonight State takes on the Terps, who, just a week ago with a blood thirsty Greivis Vasquez, diced up the Pack 71-60 and while it seemed to be just another close loss, there is an underlying theme that the Wolfpack hasn't seemed to be able to shake. Up eight, with less than a second on the clock Vasquez pulled, and sunk, a 3 pointer. And while the shot meant little to the outcome of that game, it's sure to have quite the impact in this one. "If this game was being played in Puerto Rico, I'd have punched him in the mouth," said sophomore point guard Javi Gonzalez. Vasquez responded by saying "When they say that stuff about me it gets me fired up, it makes me want to kill them." You can be sure that NC State isn't up for letting Vasquez get the last word. "It's still in the back of my mind, it was just disrespectful." So now, with the proverbial chip on their shoulder, the Pack are out for revenge and it may be just what they've needed. "I've got a good feeling about this one, the mood in the locker room, the way the guys are talking, we're just excited to be here."

See, there has never been a question about ability to win games, the Wolfpack have the talent, they've competed with every team they've stepped on the floor with. It's been the mental game, the mental toughness that has plagued the Pack all season, but this little show of disrespect might be what flicks the switch, the spark that lit the fire..."We've got a different attitude this time....we're GOING to win," said senior Courtney Fells (who WILL play tonight despite a sore groin)

Look for State to come out with Javi guarding Greivis Vasquez, a move that the Pack switched to later in the game which proved to be effective. Also pay attention to the guys that produce when playing with a chip on their shoulder, guys like Javi Gonzalez and Brandon Costner, as they may be in their element tonight. Overall though it will be the seniors, the guys with experience, the guys with their college careers on the line, to come up big. It may have been nothing more than a second thought when Vasquez shot that meaningless 3 in the RBC center last Sunday...but it very well could end up being the deciding factor tonight when the two square off.


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