Monday, February 25, 2008

THERE WILL BE WOLFPACK BLOOD

VIRGINIA 78, N.C. STATE 60

This time last year N.C. State was playing much better than they had mid-season and were preparing to launch a run through the ACC tournament and into the Big Dance. This year, they can’t find their toosh with both paws.

What happened?

We don’t follow it close enough to say for sure, and if we knew for sure, we might be sitting next to Coach Lowe not behind a key board some 200-something miles away, but…

Something’s gone wrong as the Pack added super talented J.J. Hickson to an already talented lineup and suddenly got worse. Perhaps a longer look at who’s not there trumps who’s thundering up and down the hard wood.

We throw out two words: Point guard.

State doesn’t have an effective one.

They got way off the rails last year when Engin Atsur was injured. When Atsur came back, State got on their big run. Atsur wasn’t a classic point guard in the Lawson mold, but he was a savvy international player who could shoot and run the Lowe’s offense.

It’s been so long ago, most, except Wolfpack Nation’s loyalists, may have forgotten that Fanold Degand got hurt early this year. He MAY have had a major impact on a struggling team. Key word is MAY.

Who knows?

Meanwhile, down in Charlottesville, is the old magic that is John Paul Jones Arena back in play?

Sean Singletary scored 21 points and Virginia took full advantage of turnover-prone North Carolina State on Sunday, winning its second consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference game for the first time this season, 78-60.

Virginia (13-12, 3-9) forced 17 turnovers in the first half and outscored the Wolfpack 17-0 after such mistakes in building a 38-18 lead at the intermission.

The Wolfpack (15-12, 4-9), which finished with 25 turnovers, never got closer than 13 after a 10-0 Virginia run early in the second half gave them a 50-23 advantage.

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