Smith’s return doesn’t solve everything for N.C. State

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N.C. State’s more than a little happy to have Tracy Smith back.

The 6-8 senior led the Wolfpack in scoring and rebounding last season, but missed the last 10 games due to arthroscopic knee surgery and they went 6-4. He returned for Saturday’s 76-54 win against San Diego and finished with a game-high 16 points in 25 minutes.

“When you lose your best player, you’re a different team,” coach Sidney Lowe told the Raleigh News & Observer. “You saw what a difference [Smith] made.”

Smith was far more ebullient.

“We’re back united, and we’re ready to win,” Smith said.

Whoa. Hang on a tic. Let’s not lose our marbles quite yet. This was San Diego, not San Diego State. The Toreros are just 3-11. Two of those wins were vs. non-D-I schools. (The other was Utah. Shame on you, Utes.)

Besides,  N.C. State still has myriad defensive issues (they don’t force turnovers and are miserable on the defensive glass) and their shooting is suspect. Smith should boost the defensive rebounding, but he remains a high usage, average offensive player.

Unless defenses start focusing on him – freeing up C.J. Leslie for better shots and Scott Wood on the outside – the Wolfpack are unlikely to be anything more than they were last season.

An average ACC team.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller.