Few teams are more desperate for a big season than N.C. State. The Wolfpack are 71-62 since Sidney Lowe became coach in 2006-07, finishing 10th, 11th, 10th and 9th in the ACC standings.
David J. Phillip/AP
That’s a tough run for a hoops proud school.
Well, the players are trying to do something about it. Senior Tracy Smith, incoming freshman C.J. Leslie and others are playing in the S.J.G. Greater NC Pro Am summer league at N.C. Central. The goal, as Leslie told the Raleigh News & Observer, “is for us to make sure we jell together.”
Then again, Lowe’s not sold. He says he played in a total of four summer league games in two years and usually found other ways to “work on his game.” He warned his guys to focus on their teamwork, not showboating.
“Don’t go pick up bad habits,” Lowe said. “You pretty much play the same way. I know it’s going to be a little looser than normal, but don’t go out there and pick up bad habits.”
Is Lowe being overbearing? Not really. His guys are on the same page. They’re just trying to work out some kinks. Tough part will be waiting to see when/if it all pays off.
“You have to know everything about your teammates,” Smith said. “College is very different than high school. On this level, chemistry is very important.”
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.
The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.
We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
- Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
- Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
- Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
- No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
- No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.
And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.
The rest of the top 10?
They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: