Monday, June 29, 2009

Section Six Is No More

Today I bid farewell to Blogger. Please update your bookmarks and/or blogrolls: I've moved here. Other than the new address, nothing's changing. I promise to continue to support Macrowave awareness.

Take a few minutes to register and check out the new digs.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nate Irving Injured In Car Accident


N.C. State linebacker Nate Irving is recovering after breaking his leg in a car accident.

Irving was expected to undergo surgery Sunday night at WakeMed Trauma Center in Raleigh, where he was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

School officials said Irving suffered a broken leg and a collapsed lung in the car accident Saturday night. Coach Tom O'Brien said in a statement issued by the school that the team's thoughts and prayers were with Irving.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Searching For Breakout Guards

I hadn't realized just how short on bonafides at the guard spot the league is until I read BJD's post on the subject earlier this week. I looked through the numbers from last year and didn't find much in the way of breakout indicators. Mediocre track records abound. Some thoughts on a few guys:

Javi Gonzalez: Perhaps the only thing that kept Javi--who doubled his per-minute point production in '09--from making a true leap last season was his turnover rate. He's a solid candidate if he can slice into that ugly 6 TOs/40 number. There is a red flag, though: his 59.3 eFG% (67.2% in league play). He's not gonna match that.

Ish Smith: Made strides last season, and his free throw shooting improved immensely, which is encouraging. But his ceiling is limited if he can't improve on his career 32.7 3FG%.

Maurice Miller: How you feel about Miller's breakout chances depends on how you interpret this:

         ORtg  %Shots  eFG%   FT%    2FG%   3FG%   Ast%   TO%    FTR
2008 109.1 17.9 52.6 80.2 47.1 39.7 28.2 24.8 58.7
2009 78.5 16.1 34.1 66.1 36.8 20.3 30.2 31.7 45.9

After a very nice freshman debut, Miller was supposed to be the guy at the point, but he went down with an injury early in the '09 season and his performance never recovered. So how much of the drop off can rightfully be attributed to the health issue? Which season is the more accurate reflection of his abilities? He'll bounce back to some extent--hard to imagine another 34% shooting year, health permitting--and considering how bad Iman Shumpert was, the door is open for him.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday Items

-- Steve Spurrier Q&A from The State:

Q: Do you feel like in some ways your success is hitched to Garcia?

A: Dependent on Stephen, and all the coaches? Yeah, it’s dependent on all these guys. But like I’ve said, we just haven’t quite put the total team together yet. We’ve been competitive, but we haven’t put the total team together. We still obviously think we can do it, and (it’s) very encouraging that we had such a good recruiting class. All those guys stuck with us. And like I said, we all like each other right now. Hopefully, it’ll stay that way.

Q: That hasn’t always been the case?

A: Not always the case.

Q: You’ve said several times you had some guys last year that had one eye on the door.

A: Well, we had some of those guys and had some guys we’d always take on the trips. We knew they weren’t going to play. I don’t know how much they wanted to play. You know, you want to take the whole team that wants to come and compete. And if they don’t play, they’re cheering for their teammates and things like that. We just haven’t quite had that, so hopefully we can get it going that way.

Spurrier adds later that he thinks he's "got a team on the verge." On the verge of destruction at the hands of Russell Wilson, I think he's implying.

-- Bad news for Duke today, as Elliott Williams has announced that he intends to transfer closer to home.

-- David Aldridge picks Courtney Fells as one of his deep sleepers. (See #17.)

-- With the Titans' Kevin Mawae rehabbing an injury, former Wolfpack offensive lineman Leroy Harris has been getting all the reps with the first team.

-- "Three Dallas Cowboys sign heavy metal record deal." Can't say I ever saw that headline coming.

-- I'm beginning to worry that the football opener will be canceled, or at least postponed until we can figure out a way to dislodge the state of South Carolina from Bermuda.

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In-State Recruiting Off To A Better Start

Sammy Batten:

Creecy is the second player making a pledge to the Wolfpack's Class of 2010 who is regarded as the best in the state at his position. The two major recruiting networks, and, both have Creecy and Chapel Hill offensive tackle Robert Crisp in their early list of the nation's Top 100 prospects. Crisp committed to N.C. State in April.

The impressive start is a contrast to a year ago when the Wolfpack didn't sign a single player ranked in the state's top 10 and had only three in the top 30 - linebacker Ricky Dowdy, quarterback Everett Proctor and defensive lineman Sylvester Crawford.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Auburn on the hoops schedule?

Towards the end of this article, Tim Peeler mentions the Tigers as a possibility. I assume this potential game would be played in Raleigh since we probably don't want to add another tough road trip to the schedule at this point.

Also in the article:

There will be challenges of course. With so few proven three-point shooters on the Wolfpack, Smith is likely to be crowded on defense by opposing teams. Unlike last year, when he scored easily at times, he will be surrounded.

“He’ll have to continue to improve and get better,” Lowe said. “I think he’ll get through it because, one, we will teach him to get through it, and, two, his teammates will help him out."

And three: we'll have Tracy unleash his mid-range game. There will be no survivors.

Where will the Deacs land?

Is Wake Forest headed for the bottom, or not? Let's take a look at some of their issues going forward...

                                  Wake Forest 08-09 (conf-only)
Rtg (Rk) eFG% (Rk) TO% (Rk) OR% (Rk) FTR (Rk) 2FG% (Rk) 3FG% (Rk)

Offense 106.8 (5) 52.0 (2) 21.2 (8) 35.8 (5) 42.0 (1) 52.7 (1) 32.8 (10)
Defense 101.1 (3) 47.5 (2) 19.2 (7) 32.3 (1) 35.2 (6) 47.6 (5) 31.5 (1)

If Wake Forest does find its way down to the bottom third of the league standings, it's likely that the offense will be the culprit, as Jeff Teague and James Johnson were not only the team's highest-usage players but also its most efficient players. Teague was Wake's sole reliable outside shooter in 2009, and now that he's gone, that area appears all the more glaring a problem. LD Williams hasn't been an effective shooter since 2007, and Ish Smith, for all the improvement he showed last season, still lacks range. When it is even slightly possible that the departure of Harvey Hale--who was an outside threat only in the sense that he possessed the strength necessary to lob the ball 21 feet--might hurt, you've got problems. Incoming shooting guard CJ Harris may not be much help, as lists perimeter shooting among his weaknesses.

But this is a team that, quite understandably, makes its living in the paint, and they attempt so few three-pointers that more sub-par production from outside probably won't be crippling. Al-Farouq Aminu and Chas McFarland were both reliable interior scorers, but that was with average workloads afforded them by the attention given to Teague and Johnson. It remains to be seen how they'll take to larger roles in the offense, though Aminu should be fine. Regardless, Wake Forest can't replace Johnson's 60% two-point shooting.

And what about the turnover rate now that Ish Smith is running the club full-time? Smith brought his TO% down to an acceptable level last season--it was easily the best mark of his career. Can he do that again?

At the defensive end, the Deacs used their considerable size to make shots difficult and second opportunities rare (relative to the rest of the ACC, anyway). Between Aminu, McFarland, and the additional services of noted tall guys Tony Woods, David Weaver, and Ty Walker, there's a good chance that continues. As long as it does, they'll be fine. But here, again, Johnson's absence looks like a big deal--he rebounded well and was arguably their most disruptive defender, if you buy the notion that block and steal rates reflect that sort of thing.

Just being tall isn't always good enough, though, as Sidney Lowe's last couple of teams have made painfully evident. Wake's interior defense showed some cracks down the stretch, and they were a few points per possession worse over the final month of the season. That slide culminated in a meltdown against Cleveland State in the NCAA tournament.

Wake Forest's overall performance in conference play wasn't quite as good as its results; they were just the fourth-best team in terms of efficiency margin. It's conceivable that the defense, which has a solid foundation but some uncertain new parts, declines a bit back toward league average, while the offense finds life much more difficult without Teague and Johnson. And if that's conceivable, so too is a bottom-third finish.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

State/Tennessee Matchup Is Official

NC State will open the 2012 football season in Atlanta against the Kiffin Family Circus.

"This matchup will continue the tradition of creating the Daytona 500 of college football," said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president. "I fully expect that in 2012 both of these rising programs will be ranked in the top 20."

Although less than 300 miles apart, N.C. State and Tennessee have played just twice, the last time in 1939. The teams are 1-1 in those games.

"Atlanta is the perfect spot to host the first meeting between the teams in over 70 years," said Dave Brown, ESPN's vice president for programming. "A matchup of this caliber is another great way ... to usher in the first week of college football."

Tickets will be split evenly between N.C. State and Tennessee, and the game and its surrounding events will be managed by the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Scott Wood Injured? And Other Items

-- I've been hesitating to mention this, as I've yet to find anything about this in the traditional places, but it appears that Scott Wood injured his knee in the first half of an all-star game on Sunday. This per a couple of people on Twitter (I know, I know. But one does work for a paper.). From The Anderson News's John Herndon:

10:16 to go in first, Indiana 15, Kentucky 10. Indiana's Scott Wood (NC State) just helped off the floor with a knee injury. Collided w/Hood

A bit later, from an IU blogger in attendance:

NC State signee Scott Wood back on IN bench. His left knee looks swollen.

That does not sound good. I still have no idea as to the extent of the injury, though.

(Wednesday Update: Wolfpack Hoops caught up with Wood, who said that the knee injury was not serious and that he'll be out a month at the most. Pending an MRI.)

-- The Charlotte Observer caught up with Russell Wilson, who is hitting .208/.345/.271 for the Gastonia Grizzlies.

-- JP Giglio takes another crack at predicting how the ACC basketball standings will look next season.