North Carolina State had fans and alumni worried with an 0-2 start in conference play. Their first two losses came at the hands of Clemson and Notre Dame. Both games were well over before the final buzzer and the most startling fact was the Wolfpack did not seem to play with the effort and focus spectators had previously seen in the early parts of the season. Then came a home game against a powerhouse and one of the nation’s best teams, the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils. North Carolina State would go on to seal a 96-85 victory, which would consume PNC Arena and its fanbase with belief and confidence in their team once again.
The Wolfpack has quite a puzzling resumé thus far this season. They have some of the most outstanding wins against Arizona and Duke who were both ranked No. 2 in the nation at the time. They also have devastating losses to UNCG and Notre Dame. As a spectator it is hard to get a true read on North Carolina State this season. They tend to play on another level against ranked opponents while also lacking focus and intensity against teams they should beat. Kevin Keatts’, in his early coaching career at North Carolina State, has done an exceptional job but must find a way to get his team to treat and play each game with the intensity and grit they have shown against ranked opponents.
For fans and alumni, it is essential to understand that without a doubt this Wolfpack team can finish as a top eight team in the ACC. They have shown time and time again what they are capable of and have pushed some of the nation’s best teams to the ultimate test. The main factor that must be overcome is playing every game to their maximum ability and potential. North Carolina State has the talent and coaching staff to be a dark horse in the ACC. When engaged into a game, they have shown their tenacity on defense and their will and fight to take whatever a team throws at them. It is ultimately up to the players to show their grit and focus as each game transpires. One thing is for sure, this North Carolina State team does not lack talent or an exceptional coaching staff. Instead, they have not let the fans or alumni know just quite yet what Wolfpack team they will see on a nightly-basis.