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ACC Roundup - State Whiffs In Beantown

As the Pack loses one they could have easily won

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at N.C. State
Feb 1, 2020; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; The North Carolina State Wolfpack mascot performs during the first half at PNC Arena.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

State went into the BC game with an overall record of 16-8 and 7-6 in the ACC. BC was 6-8 and 12-13.

Monday’s ACC Action

  • UNC @ Notre Dame || 7:00 || ESPN

Sunday’s Result

  • Boston College 71-68

ACC Standings

There’s no way around it: for a bubble team to blow this game hurts. If State had won it would have rolled into the Duke game Wednesday with a chance to build on a three-game winning streak with a huge resume game on the line.

They can still beat Duke - don’t doubt that - but things look a bit different now.

State has lost four of its last six and after Duke at home the Pack welcomes in FSU, then goes to Chapel Hill for the one game UNC seems to get motivated for other than Duke, then gets Pitt at home, Duke in Cameron and Wake Forest at home to close out.

We’re not saying they will but they could easily lose four of those.

So BC was a big deal. And even though the Eagles led a good bit of the way, Markell Johnson put State up 66-64 with 3:12 left but the Pack couldn’t close.

BC’s Derryck Thornton had one of his better games in his latter-day ACC career with 22 points and five assists and State crippled itself by shooting just 10.5 percent from three point range.

State coach Kevin Keatts was unhappy about the final half-minute or so of the game but he also admitted that that BC won the game because it played better.

All eyes turn now to Wednesday. A win over a Top Ten team with Duke’s numbers wouldn’t necessarily put State over the top but it would absolutely help. After that it’s like it always is: one game at a time.

In our sincere desire to help Wake Forest basketball recover, we’re making suggestions for the guy to replace Danny Manning, who, in our opinion, has not shown enough progress to keep his job.

Our favorite candidate is Ben McCollum of Northwest Missouri State. Currently 124-5 over the last four seasons, including 24-1 so far this year, McCollum is a dynamic and immensely promising young coach with two D-II national titles under his belt.

But he might not want to move down. Bada bing!

So here’s another suggestion. Why not hire an accomplished, highly respected coach on the rebound? Say a guy who thought the NBA was something he could handle, only to find out that he made a major career mistake?

We refer of course to masterful college coach John Beilein, who shocked the basketball world by taking the Cleveland Cavaliers job last year.

He’s been a very poor fit - but he’s still a brilliant college coach. The only strike against him is that he’s 67 but no one would deny his offensive genius. He’d certainly make Wake Forest fun again and his chance of failure is basically 0 percent. He could even possibly hire his son Patrick, who left Niagara without coaching a game, and help him rehab his career. In fact, Wake could make that a selling point.

Only one game Monday but it’s a train wreck special as UNC flies out to Notre Dame to take on Mike Brey’s Irish.

As we saw Saturday even though Duke lay waste to the Irish, that is a well-coached team where the ball moves briskly and never stays still for long. The Irish also have some size that should bother UNC inside. Three point shooting alone makes us favor the Irish.