NC State failed to win at Auburn but the Pack was credible and did serve notice: you’re going to have to beat them. They’re not going to roll over anymore.
That’s not entirely fair. Toughness is the basic identity of Kevin Keatts’ program at NC State and also when he as at UNCW. You can have better talent but it better work just as hard or State will get you.
Auburn hasn’t played a rugged schedule but it’s a well coached and athletic team and the last undefeated team in any Power Five conference.
State had the lead on the road with 5:23 left.
They couldn’t finish but they’re not that far from being able to. Assuming this team stays healthy and improves, it’s going to be a tough out for every ACC team.
Auburn limited Jericole Hellems and Braxton Beverly to 1-9 and 1-5 respectively. Hellems has scored just five points since being hospitalized after banging his head at Wake Forest on December 7th.
Beverly is an admirable player but he’s small and not overly athletic and unfortunately Auburn is full of big, athletic guys and Bruce Pearl’s style has always been aggressive. It’s just a tough draw for a guy like Beverly.
This is bound to be a frustrating loss for State but also one that should pay dividends later. State knows they can play with a really good team. Well actually they’ve played with several this year - Memphis, UNCG and now Auburn and Wisconsin might be down but they’re usually tough. The Pack should be seasoned when ACC play begins in earnest. State fans should start thinking about returning to the NCAA tournament. If State doesn’t make it this year it would be a disappointment.
Take a quick look down State’s schedule. We don't see a team that should necessarily be favored over the Pack until they play at Virginia on January 20th.
Only two games Friday as Binghamton visits Pitt and Clemson hosts Jacksonville. We would expect Pitt to show its growth by beating Binghamton, even if the Panthers are less than perfect. Like NC State, it’s a rising power.
We’d expect Clemson to win too. Long ago and far away, Jacksonville had twin towers Artis Gilmore and Pembroke Burroughs, 7-2 and 7-0 respectively, and played UCLA for the national title in 1970.
Gilmore went on to a long and highly successful NBA career and married his college sweetheart a woman named, no kidding, Enola Gay. People didn’t fool around then when they named their kids!
And Burroughs became a Florida State Highway Patrolman. Having a 7-0 officer come to your window could be highly intimidating.
Friday’s ACC Action
- Binghamton @ Pitt || 7:00 || ACCN
- Jacksonville @ Clemson || 9:00 || ACCN
Thursday’s ACC Results
- Duke 86 Wofford 57
- Auburn 79 NC State 73
- What led to Markell Johnson’s technical and NC State’s loss
- NC State falls short at No. 12 Auburn
- Jeff Capel Noncommittal on City Game’s Future
- Syracuse basketball moments of the decade: See our list
- Virginia stays patient amid 3-point shooting woes
- Empty seat between Pitt broadcasters Bill Hillgrove and Curtis Aiken has personal meaning