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N.C. State Basketball Preview With Backing The Pack

To preview tonight's BC hoops game against the visiting N.C. State Wolfpack, we welcome back the hoops-savvy Akula Wolf from the N.C. State blog Backing The Pack for Five Good Minutes.

In exchange, we answered some questions on the Eagles over at BTP. 


BC Interruption: The Wolfpack are off to a promising 2010-11 start with a record of 11-4. There isn't a bad loss on N.C. State's resume. Has this team lived up to your preseason expectations? Maybe even exceeded them?

Backing The Pack: That's a tough one to answer. I knew we would be relying on our freshmen quite a bit, so it was tough to set expectations with so many unknown quantities in play. I thought we would win at least one of the games we've lost, but I also thought we'd have a healthy Tracy Smith for those games. Tracy injured his knee early on and missed 10 games, including those big non-conference matchups. The bottom line is we've won the games were were supposed to win and lost the games we were supposed to lose. It's disappointing that we missed out on all of those resume-builders, but I can't say I'm surprised.


BCI: Speaking of ... when we last met, BC had no answer for Tracy Smith (19 points, 7 boards). How has Smith fared through the first half of this season, and are you expecting Smith to have another big game tonight?

BTP: When he's played, he's been as good as everyone figured he would be. But as I mentioned, he missed a lot of time. He just got back into the lineup a little over a week ago, back into the starting lineup two games ago. He appears to have worked through whatever rust he may have had and looks like his old self, which is encouraging. So I would expect another good performance against the Eagles. The offense will run through him just as it did last season.


BCI: Since we are still in the early stages of the college basketball season, BC and N.C. State have just one shared opponent between them -- Wisconsin. BC lost by 10 in the Old Spice Classic while State lost by ... 39?! on the road in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. What happened in the game against Wisconsin, and was the final score indicative of how well the Wolfpack played in that one?

BTP: There isn't much to say except that we just totally self-destructed. It was the first true road game of the year, against a very good team, and the freshmen on whom we rely so heavily did not respond to the challenge. The Badgers got up a bit early and we caved. It snowballed from there. A ten-minute scoring drought tends to do that.

Was the final score indicative of how State played? Absolutely. We were that bad.


BCI: Weekday ACC tipoffs at 9 PM. Love 'em or hate 'em? Hate them, right? Will the late start play to one team's advantage? Your thoughts?

BTP: I don't mind the late games too much. The nice thing about 9 PM games is I don't have to worry about dinner and can focus my efforts on drinking. It's all business. I can't imagine there's an advantage to be had for either team, though.

BCI: Last one. Prediction time. Who ya got in this one? What's the final score?

BTP: This is going to be a big test for our perimeter defense, and that perimeter D is not something I feel confident about. It has the potential to be a fun game since neither team plays much defense, but I think BC is little bit better in general right now, and I foresee one of the Eagles hitting a dagger from beyond the arc to seal the game late. Call it BC 83, NC State 77.