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Catching up with the Wolfpack

North Carolina State has dropped five straight ACC games since falling to Maryland by 24 points at Comcast Center on Jan. 23. The Wolfpack did sneak in a resounding win over North Carolina Central during that span, so at least they have that going for them.

One bright spot for N.C. State has been the consistently solid play of junior forward Tracy Smith, who is averaging 17.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Smith, who is shooting 50 percent in conference play, tallied a back-loaded 18 points and 10 rebounds against Maryland when the two teams met earlier this season.

"Smith is one of those players, if N.C. State had a better record people would be talking about Smith as one of the best inside players in the league, and I think he's a very difficult to cover because he's only about 6-7 and a half, but he's strong and he's got good moves," Maryland Coach Gary Williams said. "He can go either right or left around the rim. Very few guys have that ability. He's a tough out and, you know, we'll have to see what we can do to try to make it as tough as possible for him to score."

Aside from Smith, it hasn't been very pretty for Sidney Lowe's bunch. In ACC play, the Wolfpack are ranked 10th in scoring offense (65.9 ppg) and 12th in scoring defense (73.5 ppg allowed); they rank 12th field goal percentage (39.0 percent) and 11th in field goal percentage defense (46.2 percent allowed).

But N.C. State's downtrodden play of late -- and the fact that Williams never has lost to a Lowe-coached squad -- doesn't provide any sense of comfort to Maryland's coach.

"When we walk out on the court tomorrow night the score will be zero-zero," Williams said. "What we did [Monday] night, what we did the first time we played against State certainly won't have anything to do with that game. We have to do certain things. We're not blessed with a great deal of size compared to some of the teams in the league, so we have to play a certain way each time we take the court. As has been seen this year in the ACC, there are scores every day that you probably didn't expect, so you have to be on guard. You have to play your game and hopefully we can put that on the floor [Wednesday] night."

By Steve Yanda  |  February 17, 2010; 8:04 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Wait-and-see approach leads to Jerome Burney's return for Terrapins

Comments

Echoing and expanding on HGR's comments on another thread, this is definitely a potential "trap" game. While we destroyed NCST when we played them at home, they destroyed Duke on their (NCST) home court. Not that the so-and-so beat so-and-so, so they should be able to beat so-and-so logic isn't flawed, but it should give us pause as we look forward to a much a more important matchup at Comcast against GT, one of (if my math works) only three games left on our sked where a win improves our tourney resume. Hopefully we can shut NCST down inside as we did the last game.

Posted by: stjerome03 | February 17, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Stopping Smith early is the key as it was for the last game. Let him get his numbers versus Padgett, Levent & co. Note that JW has improved tremendously from the first game with NC state. Suspect we will see pass-first-GV tonight at the onset. Littlejohn is not an easy arena to play in - am kind of surprised that GW has not lost to Lowe. forgot that they did beat Duke.

Funny that GW says "We're not blessed with a great deal of size..." So last year I guess we were damned - DG had not emerged until Feb, no JW, no JP, LM playing out of position (kinda the same this year) and Dave Neal our main post player. Looking to see a pipeline of bigs in the program to sustain the success we have seen thus far this season. Maybe, just maybe, Goins might be part of the answer. Maybe. Not that I'm saying GW can't recruit - I was leaning towards his side through the arguments last year - albeit with questions. Still think the team is hampered in that it needs four contributing bigs (JW, JP, DG & LM) - and for some reason I don't see LM as a big. That said, LM has played the 4 admirably this year, but in the games we have lost, he has disappeared a few times.

8-3 in the ACC would be phenomenal. I think any of us would have taken this record back in Nov-Dec. Team cannot look ahead to Gtech.

Side note - back in the NC season, we lost in the ACC to NC State. Was that the Julius Hodge game? It was the one game that season where the team seemed to take a collective "whatever" attitude and did not seem to be concerned at all that they were losing. Whereas vs. Okla, Az and Duke they looked frantic and p*ssed (I believe those were the other 3 losses that year but Barno can correct me).

I'm rambling.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | February 17, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

On GV's ascent up the record books - In previous discussions I think the consensus was that Blake's career assist record is beyond safe, and it is very unlikely that he will surpass Bias much less Dixon in career scoring. Is it a stretch to believe that he'll end up number three in career scoring? Is there as site where the records are published? It seems like he surpasses another MD legend every few games. Yes, I too have been critical of him in the past; in terms of the shimmy probably last week. There is no denying that he delivered a lot to the program.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | February 17, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

HGR - I know you post quite a bit, so I was surprised at your reference to Littlejohn - That's where Clemson plays. NC State plays in the RBC Center!

Let's Go Terps - Beat the Wolfpack!!

Posted by: TerpGrad | February 17, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I stand corrected terpsgrad. thanks.

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | February 17, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Please see all the commentary on the previous article... "Terps prepare for another quick turnaround," to put this comment in context.

Sorry for not posting my retort earlier, but I think the WP has banned me from this site. Even when I am signed-in my comments often get a rejected response advising me to sign-in. So I guess Eric, Steve and Co. are in the same corner with Garo1.

Now I won't go into detail so as not to p*ss everyone off... but here are a few comments:

I will not apologize for any prior comments. Even the criticisms posted earlier in the year were valid. Vasquez had a miserable start to the season. He has had some very good games and the last one was a gem. He has had a couple of stinkers, including Clemson and Duke. Even in those two losses my criticisms were measured. The team rises and falls with him. Often his on and off court demeanor is regrettable. We get the good with the bad and he will never be one of my favorites. Read this: THAT'S MY OPINION, SO DEAL WITH IT GARO!

Now, as for the season, it has been fun and I have been very positive. That doesn't mean I have drunk or will drink the koolaid. Our program has a long, long way to go to be elite. That is no reason not to enjoy the season and root for the team, which I have been doing. It's also no reason not to be critical.

So thanks to you guys, HughG and Poopy and others who realize this.

If Garo1 had rushed at my fraternity he would have gotten the tour of the boiler room with the other nerds and we would have sent him home with a note to his mommy.

Just enjoying the season up in Wetschester County NY, about 10 miles above Yankee Stadium, home of a truly ELITE program....

Posted by: petecard | February 17, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

This game does have the potential to be a trap game, but I'm betting that it is so obvious that the team won't succumb.

If anyone watched the WF/VTech game last night, it surely provided a good preview for what we can expect in Blacksburg. With our current position in the conference, tied for second in losses with the Hokies and now one up on Wake, we can win out and win the conference (not sure what the tie-breaker would be with Duke).

So it's easy to look ahead, but also obvious that any loss is a big problem, including losses at NC State and Virginia.

I would hope with the seniors on the team and Gary's experience that the "trap" will not be an issue....

Posted by: petecard | February 17, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Rection-

The terps media guide always has the career records update (don't see the wolfpack media guide up yet, but this is the link for UVA- pg 9 for records):

http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/md/sports/m-baskbl/auto_pdf/weekly-release.pdf

GV will likely land the third all-time scoring leader (pretty good company up there i'd say).... interesting to note though that he is already the leader for career 3-pt attempts.

Also, particularly noteworthy that hayes could finish with the highest career FT% in terp history.

Posted by: JoeMama11 | February 17, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little worried about this game. The Terps were able to get out to a hot start against the Wolfpack at home, and never looked back. They did a great job against Smith with their help defense and the doubles that came from the weak side. However, you would have to think NC State has watched some tape over the past 4 DAYS to come up with a plan to attack the Terps. Gary will probably need to switch the defenses, particularly going to the 3-2 zone that hasn't been unleashed since the game at Wake. The key to the Terps defensive effort will be ball pressure on Gonzales and Mays. Those are the two shakiest primary ball handlers, and if the Terps can pressure those guys hard, they will be able to create a lot of easy baskets, and it will make Smith have to work that much harder in the post. If the Terps are sitting back and just brining help to Smith, it could be a long night for the Terps.

Gary will also need to balance playing time to keep guys fresh. He also has to do a better job utilizing timeouts, something he did not do well against Duke (way too many called early in the 1st half). James Padgett has got to get into the rotation tonight, and I think his fouls may be needed against Smith. The Terps will also need to get some points out of Bowie, who has been a great lockdown defender, but has been really streaky on the offensive end. If the Terps are able to provide a balanced attack that draws the defense away from Vasquez, they should have a good chance in this one.

Terps 75-71

Posted by: Russtinator | February 17, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Side note - back in the NC season, we lost in the ACC to NC State. Was that the Julius Hodge game? It was the one game that season where the team seemed to take a collective "whatever" attitude and did not seem to be concerned at all that they were losing. Whereas vs. Okla, Az and Duke they looked frantic and p*ssed (I believe those were the other 3 losses that year but Barno can correct me).
-------------------------------

Yeah it was a Hodge game, but not THE Hodge game (if what you are referring to is him throwing an elbow at Blake). That was earlier. Yeah, those were the other 3 losses that year. Went up to that AZ game up at Madison Square garden...they were supposed to be terrible that year but came out and beat us handily in the season opener. (we came back and beat a ranked temple team the next night).

Lesson learned: Season openers don't mean jack. You can lose them and still go on to win the national title.

Side note: The Oklahoma game made me really not want to play them in the final four that year. Was so relieved when Indiana took them out. Most of the crowd down in Atlanta was rooting for the Hoosiers that day (they played before the Terps-Kansas game), with thousands of the Maryland faithful rooting loudly for Indiana. Made it almost a home game for them and maybe helped them advance.

Not sure we still win the championship if Oklahoma had been in the finals. They owned us earlier in the year.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 17, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Just to respond to HGR, if Vasquez averages 18.0 a game and the Terps play 4 postseason games (ACC + NCAA tourney) he will catch Len Bias as the team's second all time leading scorer which is very possible considering he is averaging 18.5 and 21 in ACC games. He is also currently second in school history in assists only behind Blake. (per insidemdsports.com)

Posted by: elowe2 | February 17, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for not posting my retort earlier, but I think the WP has banned me from this site. Even when I am signed-in my comments often get a rejected response advising me to sign-in. So I guess Eric, Steve and Co. are in the same corner with Garo1.

Posted by: petecard | February 17, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Hah!

Ok, I think by now it's been pretty well established that Petecard is a little, um, slow. But man, do you have any idea how paranoid-delusional you sound Pete when you claim that the Washington Post has "banned" you because the Terps writers are "in the same corner" as "Garo1"?

I know this is very difficult for you Pete...but I am not Gary Williams, and the Washington Post is not censoring you.

Maybe, just maybe, you aren't really being banned by the site but instead your re-starting/logging off your computer has caused you to have to sign back in to the site.

Good lord.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 17, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Garo, you wallow in the minutia of the mediocre.

Our record for 6 years in the NCAA Tournament:

Tournaments Made: 3
Sweet 16's: 0
Elite 8's: 0
Final 4's: 0
# of Teams Nationally with a better NCAA record: 42

Rating: MEDIOCRE

Let it go Garo... the koolaid has taken your mind.

Posted by: petecard | February 17, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Now when we make jokes, Garo, like the one about being banned.... we will put smiley faces right after so you will not it is meant to be funny...

By the way, giving me grief about a Yankee reference on a Maryland blog.... that's rich considering your unending posts of Simpson trivia.... oh that's right...it's your site... you set the rules!

Posted by: petecard | February 17, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Petecard doesn't like the Simpsons. Shocking development on the Terrapin Insider.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 17, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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