Friday, November 14, 2008

Why would Pack open at New Orleans?

N.C. State ended the 2007-08 season with a nine-game losing streak that’s tied for the longest in school history.

That begs the question – why schedule the 2008-09 opener on the road at 8 p.m. Saturday against New Orleans, which upset the Wolfpack last season at the RBC Center?

A look at the New Orleans roster reveals the answer, though N.C. State officials would never admit it. The Privateers return just three players from last season.

Better to play them now while their rookies are nervous in their first Division I game. New Orleans no longer has Bo McCalebb, who averaged 23.2 points last season.

The returnees are Kyndall Dykes (13.6 ppg), Tim Worley (who banked in a game-winning 3-pointer at N.C. State) and Jaroslav Tyrna (who scored 12 points with six rebounds against the Wolfpack).

Even if N.C. State wanted to change the date of this game, it wouldn’t have been easy. Dates typically are set years in advance, and N.C. State was obligated to play this game as part of a three-game contract to satisfy assistant coach Monte Towe’s buyout with a school he once served as head coach.

With Friday as sort of the unofficial opening of basketball season (except for the tournament benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer), it wasn’t possible to schedule the Sisters of the Poor for a debut earlier in the week.

So N.C. State gets an opener that could be challenging if New Orleans’ new players aren’t intimidated. But there’s also a potential benefit to this game.

“The NCAA committee looks at road games very importantly now,” said N.C. State athletics director Lee Fowler. “So us going to New Orleans will be considered, we went on the road. And if we can win a game there, that will be important to us.”

– Ken Tysiac


James C. said...

Better to play them now while their rookies are nervous in their first Division I game.

Yeah, I'm sure the Pack were scared sh*tless to play them at any other point during the year. Please.

Yes, we lost to them last year. However, it's absurd to believe that we somehow slotted this game at the first of the year to somehow gain a competitive advantage over them because of who is or is not returning.

Sheesh. Look for another angle, please.