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State-Wake observations

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 Freshman forward Travis McKie has been a bright spot for Wake Forest this season but he struggled in his ACC debut. McKie, who averages 13.6 points per game, scored eight points with four rebounds in 25 minutes.

He was held scoreless in the first half and really didn't put up any numbers until the Wolfpack had stretched out the lead to double-digits.

Without McKie over-achieving, it's difficult to project more than one or two ACC wins for a discombobulated Wake team, which doesn't appear interested in playing for first-year coach Jeff Bzdelik or each other.

— One thing Tracy Smith could work on while he was rehabbing his left knee was his jump shot. Smith showed more range with his face-up game and more confidence in his jump shot against Wake.

He hit a catch-and-shoot baseline jumper from about 12 feet at 6:57 in the second half that was previously not part of his offensive arsenal.

"When I couldn't practice, I worked on my shot," said Smith, who missed 10 games with a knee injury.

— You could see Bzdelik's NBA background coming out when the Deacs went after freshman guard Ryan Harrow. Wake guard C.J. Harris, who has about three inches and 25 pounds on Harrow, went straight to the low block against Harrow.

Bzdelik dialed up five straight plays in the first half with Harris isolated on Harrow — the big guard mismatch is a a staple of the NBA game. Harris converted two of his four field goals in the sequence.


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more observations.

  1. Tracy Smith is better than ever. He seems to be 100% health-wise and that mid-range jumper can only make it tougher for guys to guard him. His time off has made him a better, more hungry player, which bodes well for the rest of the year.
  2. The best thing about the Pack on Saturday was that they pushed the tempo, but did it under control. If the play wasn't there when they got it downcourt, they passed it out and set up the offense. Ryan Harrow got crazy a couple of times in the first half, but he got a talking to by Sid and settled down after that.
  3. Javi has been taking some criticism (myself included), but I thought he was fine yesterday. No turnovers; good decision making; solid, mistake free play on the offensive and defensive ends. State needs him to be consistent to keep the pressure off Harrow.
  4. 17-19 from the free throw line. I don't know what got into them (including Leslie, who was solid), but I hope it continues.
  5. It was fun to watch the ball movement, especially in the second half. State played like they finally got what Sid has been trying to teach them.
  6. Now we see what this team is made of. After last year's huge win over Duke, they lost 7 of their next 8, beating only Presbyterian. With 2 challenging road games coming up, followed by Duke, we will learn a lot about where the program stands. They clearly are more talented than any State team since Sid has returned, but can the young guys stay grounded and focused? We'll see.


All great points, JPD. 

I just can't shake being very skeptical of NCSU, being that WFU is absolutely awful. Perhaps my worries will be tempered by the Wolfpack playing some solid bball over the next few weeks. 

BTW, who you got for tonight? I took the Tigers over the Ducks in a close one--45-38. 

right to be skeptical

There are signs that this is not your typical NC State team of the 2000's. They are more athletic, deeper and seem to really enjoy being teammates. So, I am encouraged. That said, we need to see them continue this progress for the rest of the season and into the ACCT. So anyone who is holding back for now is probably smarter than me.

As far as tonight, I am going with the Ducks on a hunch. I only assigned 6 confidence points to the game, so that tells you how good I feel about it. Good news is that I have already clinched our office pool and have some decent mad money coming my way. 462 points going into the last game, which proves that it is, in fact, better to be lucky than good!

It all depends on how you

It all depends on how you look at it:

-State only has one quality(?) win in George Mason, they have struggled against some inferior teams, and they will have to rely on unproven talent for some good production down the stretch.


-State hasn't lost to any bad teams, they are undefeated with Tracy Smith, and they seem to have plenty of talent on the roster.

It's hard to decide whether or not this team will be a contender.  Only time will tell.  Fortunately for us, we only have to wait one more day to get a MUCH better understanding of where this program stands IMO.  My first thought is that we will get humbled with a loss tomorrow night, but I'm hoping Sid and company can prove me wrong.


Auburn wins tonight.  Wish I had the means to throw some money down.

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About the blogger

Joe Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997.