Saturday, January 12, 2008

It could be a long season if Lowe can't work some magic

When I saw that Saint Louis was held to 20 points in a game earlier this week, I wondered how that could happen.

After watching N.C. State in the first half against North Carolina, I’m not wondering anymore.

The Wolfpack trailed 43-13 at halftime despite having two McDonald’s All-Americans (Brandon Costner and J.J. Hickson) in the starting lineup.

When Hickson made a 10-foot baseline jumper with 11:32 remaining in the first half, N.C. State trailed just 16-11. The Wolfpack didn’t score again until 1:19 remained in the half.

By then, North Carolina had reeled off 25 consecutive points. N.C. State missed 18 consecutive field goal attempts. This N.C. State team has big problems. North Carolina will blow out some ACC teams at the Smith Center, but a 30-point halftime deficit is ridiculous. Three of N.C. State’s starters – Costner, Gavin Grant and freshman point guard Javi Gonzalez – didn’t score in the first half.

Gonzalez does not look like an ACC-caliber point guard. Costner clearly has regressed since last season, when he was marvelous in leading N.C. State to the ACC tournament final. And nobody can make a shot – the Wolfpack missed all six of its first-half 3-point attempts.

It’s going to be a long season unless coach Sidney Lowe can work some magic with this offense the way he did in last season’s ACC tournament.

– Ken Tysiac