The Emergence of NC State’s T.J. Warren

Posted by Chris Kehoe on December 20th, 2013

N.C. State sophomore forward T.J. Warren had an extremely successful freshman season on a Wolfpack squad that failed to live up to outsized expectations last year. After the departure of stars C.J. Leslie, Richard Howell and Lorenzo Brown, the reins were handed to Mr. Warren. Surrounded by a supporting cast of talented freshmen and an undersized yet feisty former Oak Hill point guard (Tyler Lewis), N.C. State was largely expected to coast to a lower/middle-of-the-pack finish in the ACC. However, behind freshman guard Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber’s unexpected scoring output, the emergences of forward/center Jordan Vandenberg and freshman big man Lennard Freeman, and Warren’s ascendence, the outlook is bright for this Wolfpack team.

T.J. Warren skies for an emphatic two points (photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

T.J. Warren skies for an emphatic two points
(photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Last season Warren was known for his other-worldly efficiency, pouring in 12.1 PPG on a remarkable 62.2% shooting and cementing his status as a player to keep an eye on. A popular misconception after the departures of the talented triumvirate was that N.C. State and Warren would struggle because of a lack of offensive options and overall experience and cohesion. That has not been the case, as N.C. State has cruised to a 8-2 record, beating Florida Gulf Coast, Northwestern, and most recently, Tennessee in solid wins. While their schedule has not been particularly strong, they look to be a force to be reckoned with in a weaker-than-expected ACC. They are now circled on teams’ calendars as a dangerous foe in ACC play, because when you have an elite scorer such as Warren to defend, there is no telling what kind of damage he can do.

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ACC M5: 03.27.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 27th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Sports Illustrated: The absolute must-read of the day comes courtesy of Luke Winn, who got pretty awesome access to follow Miami around before its games against Pacific and Illinois. My personal takeaways were that Jim Larranaga seems like a really fun guy to play for and that this team fits his coaching personality very well. It’s also not surprising at all that Julian Gamble led the team’s postgame celebratory freestyle.
  2. CBSSports.com: Gary Parrish absolutely kills it in this response to Ron Wellman‘s backing of Jeff Bzdelik yesterday. Kills it. Bzdelik is losing the Wake Forest fan base at an accelerating rate. Wellman is out pretty far out on this limb and while I understand not wanting to go back on his word (even if he won’t tell anyone exactly what that was), he has to balance that pride with Wake Forest’s present situation. I think Bzdelik is better than his record, maybe even a lot better. He’s also got a great group of players on his team. But that can’t excuse his sorry performances — both in the loss column or the public relations department. And his lack of (tangible) success at Colorado doesn’t help calm the critics. Unfortunately, Bzdelik is a coach who leaves a program better than he found it and is trending upwards but hasn’t shown the ability to achieve at the highest level. It’s a tough place to be.
  3. CBSSports.com: According to most of the national media, Chris Collins is the “heavy favorite” to land the Northwestern job after interviewing with the school on Monday. The announcement may come before or around the time this article gets posted. Duke alumni are doing well in the job market right now, as Bobby Hurley was just hired to coach Buffalo and Jeff Capel reportedly has received interest from at least two schools. Assuming at least one leaves, expect Nate James to resume his old position as a Duke assistant coach.
  4. Miami Herald: Unfortunately not all of today’s Miami news could be freestyles and celebratory dances. Reggie Johnson – apparently requiring knee surgery — won’t make the trip with the team to the Sweet Sixteen. While Johnson has played a much smaller role this year, the Hurricanes have struggled with foul trouble at times throughout the season. He was an extra body, good for a ton of rebounds and a couple of points every game. Now Julian Gamble, Kenny Kadji and Tonye Jekiri will have to find a way to replace Johnson’s productivity. Gamble sounded hopeful to get Johnson back in time for the Final Four.
  5. Raleigh News & Observer: While neither have officially announced, reports came out yesterday that CJ Leslie and Lorenzo Brown are planning to head for the NBA (though Brown’s mother denied the rumors and Leslie vaguely denied them on his Twitter account). Their departures wouldn’t be surprising, but another name is starting to show up on numerous draft radars: TJ Warren. Warren’s loss would be a huge blow to NC State next season, but his great freshman campaign makes him a likely first round pick. IF this report is true, I’d expect all three to turn pro in a heartbeat.
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The ACC in The NCAA: NC State vs.Temple

Posted by KCarpenter on March 22nd, 2013

Though North Carolina State slumped into the ACC tournament in a season that saw the Wolfpack fall short of admittedly lofty expectations, in the conference tourney the team was able to demonstrate some of the potential that led many to believe this team was an easy favorite for the regular season conference title. Strong performances over Virginia Tech and Virginia set a tone for what this team could be in the Big Dance, and a loss to Miami in the tournament semi-finals is hardly something to lose too much sleep over.

In some ways, facing Temple is a bit like NC State facing itself. Like the Wolfpack, Temple looked very strong earlier in the year but struggled in conference play before mostly righting the ship late. Both teams have a potent offense and a defense that often seems indifferent at times. Yet in the team’s differences, we may have the keys to the game. There are two main ways to win a game: shoot better than the other team or shoot more than the other team. Against NC State, it seems likely that Temple will shoot more.

CJ Leslie and NC State come into its second round contest against Temple as the favorites. (AP)

CJ Leslie and NC State come into its second round contest against Temple as the favorites. (AP)

A lot of the offensive efficiency of the Temple Owls is due to the great care that the team takes with the ball. The Owls turn the ball over on only 16.2% of possessions, which is the 9th best rate in the country. Couple that with the indifference of the Wolfpack to forcing turnovers (outside of Lorenzo Brown‘s individual brilliance) and it looks like Temple has an inside track to gaining a few extra possessions through ball control. Against many foes, NC State has been able to offset discrepancies in turnovers with excellence in offensive rebounding, but Temple may have an antidote to Richard Howell‘s relentless attack on the glass. Anthony Lee has consistently been one of the best defensive rebounders in college basketball all season, and though he likely won’t be able to keep Howell boxed out on every carom, he certainly seems equipped to have a better chance than most. It seems fairly likely that the Owls will end up with a few more shot attempts than the Wolfpack.

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Rushed Reactions: NC State 80, Virginia Tech 63

Posted by mpatton on March 14th, 2013

rushedreactions

Matt Patton (@rise_and_fire) is an RTC correspondent and an ACC microsite writer. He filed this report from the NC State vs. Virginia Tech game this afternoon at the ACC Tournament. 

Three Key Takeaways:

Erick Green's career ended with a dud, as Lorenzo Brown locked him down. (Icon SMI)

Erick Green’s career ended with a dud, as Lorenzo Brown locked him down. (Icon SMI)

  1. NC State can’t D up, but Lorenzo Brown can: Brown locked down ACC Player of the Year Erick Green. He fought through every screen and didn’t give Green an inch once he crossed half-court. The aggressive defense clearly got to Green, who finished with 15 points on 19 shots (and just watching the game, it was surprising he even got to that many). The individual effort was exactly what NC State needed more of this season, though it may prove to be a double-edged sword. Brown looked exhausted down the stretch, and it’s likely Mark Gottfried will call on him again tomorrow to guard Joe Harris. Two first-team All-ACC players in as many days is a tough assignment. I expect Gottfried to spell Brown at least a little with Rodney Purvis or Scott Wood, but Purvis gives up at least two inches and Wood can’t stay in front of anyone. 
  2. Erick Green gassed: Green only had one conference performance where he finished with a below average offensive efficiency. Now he’s got two. The only other time he shot so poorly, he made up for it with an 11-of-13 performance at the charity stripe. But possibly the most impressive part of Brown’s harassing defense was that he didn’t send Green to the line at all (Tyler Lewis fouled Green for his only two free throw attempts). Green looked a step slow, which is reasonable considering the 1,128 minutes he’s put in for the Hokies this season. But don’t fall for the trap that this means that Green didn’t deserve ACC Player of the Year. There’s a good argument to be made for other players, but one bad performance doesn’t discount Green’s truly outstanding season (see: Mason Plumlee’s four points against Maryland or Shane Larkin’s seven points against Clemson).
  3. NC State has a lot to prove: A win against the league’s cellar-dweller is going to do little to quite NC State’s critics, but the team looked better — especially the way it closed the game — than it has since beating Boston College last month. The real tests for the Wolfpack lie ahead with Virginia looming tomorrow. Also before going overboard on the Wolfpack’s team defense against Virginia Tech, they only held the Hokies to 0.04 points per possession (around 2.5 points) worse than their conference average (hat tip to John Gasaway). That’s not dominant team defense. Also a win against the ACC’s worst team isn’t going to help your seed very much.

Star of the Game: Richard Howell did what he pleased against Virginia Tech, going 11-of-13 from the field for 22 points and 12 rebounds. He doesn’t have the most talent on the floor, but he’s got the perfect combination of strength, toughness and an elite motor to be dominant. The other big stat is that Howell played 38 minutes. That could have never happened in past years just because of his tendency to get in foul trouble. His improvement (and ability to scale up his rebounding with minutes) over the past four years is remarkable.

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Lessons Learned: ACC Weekend Wrap-Up

Posted by KCarpenter on March 5th, 2013

It was a boring penultimate weekend of Atlantic Coast Conference play where everything went according to plan and nothing exciting happened. Just kidding: It was a in fact a sensational weekend of games with some big time performances and massive upsets. There were also a couple of dull games where teams with “North Carolina” in their name easily defeated overmatched foes, but let’s try our best to ignore that as we examine some late lessons of the season.

  1. Boston College Really Likes Playing Teams That Just Beat Duke. In fact, the Eagles have proven themselves as the masters of the hangover game. A win over Virginia is more impressive than a win over Maryland, but what remains far more interesting is BC’s penchant for killing other team’s vibes. All but one conference victory (an early season tilt against Virginia Tech) has come after an opponent has won its previous game. Does this mean anything? Probably not, but if I was going to face Boston College after I had just won a game, I would do my best not to overlook the Eagles.
  2. Duke’s Win Over Miami Was Surprising For The Wrong Reasons. Let’s be totally clear: Ryan Kelly’s 36 points on 14 shots was one of the most sensational individual performances in all of college basketball this year. It also probably feels good for Duke fans to get revenge after Miami’s victory early in the season. Still, if I’m a Duke fan, I’m a little concerned. The Blue Devils were supposed to win this game, with most betting lines putting the team as a 5.5 point favorite. Kelly puts in one of the single most impressive and surprising performances of the year… and Duke only wins by 3 points at home? It was a big victory, no doubt, but shouldn’t it have been a lot bigger?

    While Ryan Kelly's outstanding performance was great in the Duke win, the narrow victory might be a cause of some concern (Lance King)

    While Ryan Kelly’s outstanding performance was great in the Duke win, the narrow victory might be cause for some concern. (Lance King)

  3. Wake Forest Has Become Ridiculously Good At Drawing Fouls. Technically, Boston College and NC State have been better than the Demon Deacons in conference play, but you wouldn’t know that by watching the game against Maryland. In the first half, Wake was in the bonus with 9:47 to go in the period. In the second half, they were in the bonus with 16:13 left. That’s right. They reached the bonus before the first official timeout of the second half. James Padgett fouled out after 17 minutes, and in 10 minutes of play, Shaquille Cleare tallied four fouls. The Deacons ultimately lost this game, but this kind of foul-drawing performance suggests that this team might be particularly well-positioned to exploit the teams that foul the most in the conference — namely Virginia Tech, Virginia and Duke. Read the rest of this entry »
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Lessons Learned: ACC Weekend Wrap-Up

Posted by KCarpenter on February 11th, 2013

There were some near-upsets on the road as two of the better teams in the conference narrowly escaped with wins, while most of the other match-ups were good old-fashioned beatdowns. The bulk of the ACC remains as muddled as ever while Miami continues to assert its dominance and separate from the rest of the so-called conference contenders. Does that mean we learned something new this weekend? We just might have. Here are six thoughts from the weekend’s action…

Duke Found Itself in Quite the Scrum at BC Sunday Night

Duke Found Itself in Quite the Scrum at BC Sunday Night

  1. Duke Is A Bad Road Team. The Blue Devils’ best win in a true road game was a 19-point rout of Florida State (a team that’s 5-5 in the ACC). What was the second best road win for Duke? It might have been yesterday’s one-point victory over Boston College, the second worst team in the conference with a 2-8 record. That’s not a good sign. While Duke is now technically a winning team in hostile environments (3-2), the total point margin (usually a better predictor of future performance), is -10. Now, it’s been a tough year on the road for everyone in this league and five games isn’t a lot of data to draw from, but it bears mentioning that Duke has yet to show much of anything positive in this environment.
  2. Lorenzo Brown Is Everything For North Carolina State. Before last night, Brown had played 10 minutes total in the past three games for the Wolfpack due to an injury, and not coincidentally all three of those games were losses. Yesterday, Brown returned to help the Wolfpack stop the skid against Clemson. Brown isn’t the best player on his team, but he is certainly the most indispensable. The electric player has probably been the best true point guard in the conference this season even though his play has slipped from the high-water mark he set last year. If Brown can return to form and his team can learn to play a little better defense, NC State will be a factor in the conference race again. Now, though? NC State is in a three-way tie with Maryland and Florida State for fifth place, a somewhat shocking position for the preseason favorite in this league. Read the rest of this entry »
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With Lorenzo Brown Out, Tyler Lewis is Seizing Opportunity to Shine

Posted by Jimmy Kelley on February 8th, 2013

Jimmy Kelley is an ACC correspondent for Rush the Court. Follow him on Twitter @DevilsinDurham

There is no denying that Lorenzo Brown is N.C. State’s most important player. The key to their fast break, Brown was the catalyst for everything good that has happened for the Wolfpack in 2013. Since he picked up an ankle injury against Virginia, N.C. State is 0-3 and are in a bit of a tailspin as they look to discover an identity without their point guard. While the results haven’t been good, the play of freshman point guard Tyler Lewis has been encouraging and should give Wolfpack fans a reason to believe that if Brown should pick up another injury or end up in foul trouble, the team will still be in good hands.

Tyler Lewis (right) has proven a capable caretaker in the absence of Lorenzo Brown. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

Tyler Lewis (right) has proven a capable caretaker in the absence of Lorenzo Brown. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

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ACC M5: 02.08.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 8th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Yahoo! Sports: In honor of his 50th birthday, Darren Rovell uncovered a letter from Mike Krzyzewski to Michael Jordan from 1980. I’m not sure when Coach K said “you should make an immediate impact on whatever you choose,” he suspected Jordan would go on to be the best player to play the game. It also brings back memories of Jeff Eisenberg’s article a year ago on Jordan’s Letter of Intent and a personal letter from Dean Smith (which sounds very confident despite being a month before Krzyzewski’s letter was written). Always cool to see these things.

    Coach K concedes defeat in the recruitment of Michael Jordan. (h/t: Darren Rovell)

    Coach K concedes defeat in the recruitment of Michael Jordan. (h/t: Darren Rovell)

  2. Blogger So Dear: John Mundy has put up two of the most interesting articles of the season. The first talked about the difficulties of changing culture. This one is a thought-provoking discussion of Wake Forest‘s struggles with ACC expansion looming. The Demon Deacons don’t dominate any area of North Carolina, not even their home city of Winston-Salem. They have to make their own success, and apathy awaits them if that success doesn’t live up to the hype. Wake Forest could be buried by the incoming powers in the ACC. The school needs another coach like Skip Prosser. A showman in the highest regard, who can make it the biggest show in town again. Instead they have Jeff Bzdelik, the man with the worst public relation skills in the league. It doesn’t matter that the school is improving. They need a show.
  3. Wall Street Journal: Miami may be the newest ACC school in the top-ten, but the Hurricanes still aren’t hard to go see if you happen to be near Coral Gables. Ben Cohen looked at the price of tickets for the schools in the top-ten for college basketball over the last five games. The ACC bookended the list: the cheapest tickets to Miami totaled a ludicrous 78 dollars (that’s less than $16 a game); Duke totaled 1,014 dollars (over $200 a ticket).
  4. Wilmington Star News: The Bob Cousy Award for college’s top point guard released its 12 finalists and two ACC guards made the cut. Lorenzo Brown and Shane Larkin both represented the conference, though beating out Trey Burke is probably too much to ask. Miami would have to make a run to a one-seed with Larkin beefing up his assist numbers. I do think Larkin could make the final five for the award, but it’s Burke’s to lose. North Carolina dominated the award of late with Ty Lawson and Kendall Marshall both winning (Greivis Vasquez also won the award in between the two).
  5. Streaking the Lawn: Here’s a great look at the RPI over the last five years in terms of ACC teams being selected for the Big Dance. It points to the RPI as being more important than the NCAA lets on. For one, no team with a higher RPI has been selected over a team with a lower ranking. The ACC Tournament may hold the key for Virginia. It should reduce the importance of its games against Old Dominion by adding more solid opponents. The Cavaliers cannot afford to lose on Thursday to mediocre team. This is illustrated by the fact that their RPI after going 8-2 in their remaining ten games, Virginia is projected to have an RPI of 67. That’s not good.
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Who Is The Second Best Guard In The ACC?

Posted by KCarpenter on January 30th, 2013

There’s no doubt that Erick Green has been the best guard in the ACC this season. He scores and makes plays at a hyper-efficient rate while playing a ton of minutes at a very fast pace. No other guard in the conference has performed as consistently and as well. He’s miles ahead of the competition, but it’s not because of a lack of quality guards in the league. In fact, the ACC has a plethora of talented guards, playing well for a lot of different teams. Let’s get down to the big question though: If Erick Green is the best guard in the ACC, who is the second best?

Who Is the Second Best Guard In The ACC?

If you had asked this question not all that long ago, the answer might have been an easy one: Seth Curry. The Duke shooting guard is enjoying a strong year as a perfect complementary piece on this Duke team. Is Curry really the second best guard in the conference? What about undefeated Miami’s Durand Scott or the lead guard of another team that beat the Blue Devils in NC State’s Lorenzo Brown? What about some of the conference’s other great shooting guards like C.J. Harris or Joe Harris? None of these are crazy choices. Does Curry stack up?

Curry’s elite skill is scoring. He’s fourth in the conference in points per game and he is the second best guard in this measure after Erick Green. He’s not a volume scorer, but rather very efficient, posting an offensive efficiency mark of 114.2 this season with a usage rate of 22.1%. This is very good. However, from an efficiency standpoint, Curry is nowhere close to Reggie Bullock‘s silly numbers. Averaging a 129.1 offensive efficiency on 19.1% usage rate, Bullock is shooting better than Curry from every part of the floor: three-pointers, two-pointers, and from the free throw line. Bullock is a better play-maker, a better rebounder on both ends, has more steals and blocks, and by just about every account is a better defender. Curry has a slight edge in turnovers, and a serious advantage at getting to the line.  Still, it would be difficult to argue that Curry is playing better basketball than Bullock.

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Night Line: Schizophrenic Wolfpack Fail to Keep Momentum… Again

Posted by BHayes on January 30th, 2013

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Bennet Hayes is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @HoopsTraveler on Twitter. Night Line runs on weeknights during the season, highlighting a major storyline development from that day’s games.

For NC State fans that thought the rollercoaster may have finally been headed for level ground, Tuesday’s nights’ 58-55 loss to Virginia was yet another reminder that the seat belts should never come off when riding with this Wolfpack team. Consistency has eluded Mark Gottfried’s club all season but especially of late, as the Pack have now alternated wins and losses over their past six contests. Included in the trio of wins were seismic victories over Tobacco Road rivals Duke and UNC; but like many a college student after a momentous Saturday night, the Pack watched as each high subsided into a full-blown hangover. Little seems to have been learned by either coach or team along the way, and State fans have to be wondering whether the inconsistency might ultimately derail a season that has quite frequently felt immensely promising.

Much Like His Team All Season, CJ Leslie's Performance Tuesday Night Included Both Good And Bad: 20 Points and 14 Rebounds For The Pack Star, But He Also Turned The Ball Over Seven Times

Much Like His Team All Season, CJ Leslie’s Performance Tuesday Night Included Both Good And Bad: 20 Points and 14 Rebounds For The Pack Star, But Also Seven Turnovers

Nobody can deny that the talent and capability to be not just good but great are there for this team. We knew about the collection of talent all the way back in the preseason, when the paper version of the Wolfpack was impressive enough to net the team a top-five preseason national ranking and the grandiose title of ACC favorite. Unfortunately, we have seen that talent mesh and deliver on all its potential far too infrequently for the Pack to maintain those lofty preseason standards, but is there time yet to bounce back? Are we silly for believing that it isn’t too late, for thinking that Mark Gottfried can find a way to get his team to sustain that energy and emotion ALL the time, and not just when they take the floor with college hoops titans like Duke, UNC, and Michigan?

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ACC M5: 01.25.13 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 25th, 2013

morning5_ACC

  1. Wilmington Star News: NC State became the second of the Triangle teams to call a players-only meeting lately (and based on Duke’s performance against Miami, its players won’t be far behind). Lorenzo Brown pretty bluntly outlined the reason behind the meeting: “”There’s been a lot of nonsense going on between us, but we’re all grown men […] We sat down and talked it out, so we’re perfectly fine now.” My guess is that some of that nonsense has to do with people failing to play defense. Some more probably comes from TJ Warren retweeting Thomas DeThaey ripping Mark Gottfried. With a more polished North Carolina looming on Saturday, the Wolfpack need to get their minds right, and fast.
  2. USA Today: Dickie V. has a well-earned reputation for loving Duke. But I wasn’t shocked at all when Vitale was ripping the Blue Devils’ performance against Miami. First, Duke deserved the tongue-lashing. If there’s one thing Dickie V. (and most other commentators) have to say about Duke under Mike Krzyzewski, it’s that the Blue Devils outwork opponents. That didn’t happen in Coral Gables Wednesday night. Although I’m not sure I should waste too much effort responding to an author who thought it was newsworthy to post North Carolina fans chanting “go to hell Duke” during their win over Georgia Tech. Duke, North Carolina and NC State chant about their rivals in every game — this is nothing new.
  3. Washington Post: Right now Maryland is still evolving offensively. It’s a little surprising to see a coach of Mark Turgeon’s stature struggling so much to find the right offensive roles for his players, but he’s trying everything at this point. This idea seems like a good one: Dez Wells will handle the ball more. He’s a very different player (who plays very different defense), but Maryland might be well-served treating Wells a little like Duke treated Austin Rivers last season. The only thing Maryland has to watch out for is focusing on getting Alex Len the ball.
  4. AP (via Sports Illustrated): Another wrinkle in the NCAA-Miami saga is starting to unfold. Nevin Shapiro’s lawyer, Maria Elena Perez, is going to tell her side of the story. In a short statement, Perez called herself “a victim of their [the NCAA’s] enforcement staff’s misconduct,” passively adding, “The dubious party is not me. What I have done is 150 percent above the board.” Her statements come after Mark Emmert’s nebulous comments appeared to imply she took money to question people under oath. If you haven’t already, you’ll definitely want to grab some popcorn over the coming weeks as this story develops.
  5. Charlotte Observer: Luke DeCock nails the result of an ACC full of parity. Home court advantage is massive this year, as home teams are 22-10 in league play thus far this season. The Florida duo alone have five road wins between them. Duke and North Carolina? There’s only one road win to be found. The only teams to truly trust on the road at this point are Miami and Florida State. Duke may grow into one of those teams once Ryan Kelly is back (and it has played the top two teams in the league), but it’s not there yet. But apart from the top few teams, road wins are going to be a rarity.
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Bad Loss Leads to Twitter Regret for NC State

Posted by mpatton on January 23rd, 2013

NC State took a really tough loss at Wake Forest last night. Fans are frustrated, players are frustrated and coaches are frustrated. Former third-string center Thomas DeThaey took to Twitter to vent his frustration: “That’s what happens when you’re a great recruiter but a terrible coach!” Now comes the juicy part. Current freshman TJ Warren retweeted DeThaey. Was it a slip of the thumb? Was he just passively retweeting the comment?

TJ Warren may want this retweet back.

TJ Warren may want this retweet back.

Regardless, this doesn’t look good. Just to add insult to injury, Rick Lewis — NC State frosh Tyler Lewis‘ father — favorited the tweet. My guess is there’s going to be a penalty — whether “internal” (i.e., suicide sprints), or even a one-game suspension. The latter would really hurt the Wolfpack and Mark Gottfried, as their rotation isn’t deep especially if CJ Leslie or Richard Howell get into foul trouble.

What remains to be seen is how the team will react to a bad loss. NC State flirted with disaster against Boston College and Clemson, tasting a little at Maryland and against Oklahoma State. But this is the team’s first bad loss. This is the first time it’s totally collapsed, losing a 16-point lead to a truly inferior opponent. It’s the rare team that can turn a bad loss into a wake-up call (see: Duke’s loss to Georgetown in 2010, or Florida State’s beatdown at Clemson last season) instead of reason to panic. Usually teams that live and learn from bad losses are well-coached and experienced. This NC State team has experience, but it also has a lot of youth.

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