Reporting Taylor Zarzour
I never thought NC State would be a final four contender, and I certainly don’t today. But I did think they would continually be in the top 25, and be a lot better than 8-6 in a conference that is far from being the best. What’s the reason for their somewhat disappointing 19-8 record? Is it ACC preseason player of the year CJ Leslie’s fault? Is it Head Coach Mark Gottfried’s inability to develop more of a bench? Is it how inconsistent the team is at home compared to the road?
I really don’t like calling college kids out, but Leslie’s lackluster play seems to be the biggest reason. He’s careless with the ball, tries to create too many things without help, doesn’t get enough rebounds, and doesn’t seem to be one of the Wolfpack’s leaders. I still think he’s as talented as any player in the conference, if not the country, but his play has been far from it. You wonder if there’s enough time left in the season, or his career, for that to change.
10 games to watch this week:
10. #8 Florida vs Alabama on Sat: The Tide’s only chance to reach the dance is to pull off the upset. There’s a better chance they’ll lose by 35.
9. #7 Georgetown at UConn on Wed: the Huskies can’t go to the postseason but they can play spoiler, and they’re having a pretty impressive season.
8. #1 Indiana at Minnesota tonight: biggest game of the year for the Gophers.
7. #20 Butler at #25 (coach) VCU on Sat: the A-10 conference might be the 2nd or 3rd best this year.
6. #11 Arizona at UCLA on Sat: a chance for the Bruins to prove they are legit.
5. #3 Duke at Virginia on Thu: same situation as the Tide against Florida for UVA, except the Hoos have a much better chance of pulling it off than Bama does.
4. #21 N Dame at #22 Marquette on Sat: two Big East battle tested teams playing for tournament seeding.
3. #10 Louisville at #12 Syracuse: I think the Cardinals are one of two or three most dangerous teams in the country, while suddenly the Orange are struggling.
2. #9 Mich St at #4 Michigan on Sun: same situation as N Dame and Marquette, except both of these two teams can get to the Final Four.
1. #3 Duke vs #5 Miami on Sat: The game of the year in the Atlantic Coast Conference. You certainly never woul’ve thought that when the season started. Even though Miami is almost a lock to win the conference regardless of the outcome, it still feels like supremacy is on the line.
IU, Zags, Duke, G’town, Mich, Miami, Kansas, Fla, Memph, L’ville, Cuse, Zona, Mich St, K State, New Mex, Ohio St, St. Louis, Okla St, N Dame, St. Mary’s, Butler, Ore, Wisc, MTSU, La Tech.