ACC Capsules: Wolfpack face tough tests

BY foxsports • February 18, 2013

North Carolina State has won two games in a row, but the Wolfpack hasn’t yet gotten back their groove that had them as one of the most intriguing teams in the nation in January.

N.C. State found a way to win at the buzzer at Clemson to close the previous week, and in its only scheduled game last week escaped Virginia Tech at home in overtime over the weekend. Neither was a performance Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried will save to show later generations of his time in Raleigh, but both were crucial victories, nonetheless.

First, N.C. State need to win after dropping five of seven games, in which the only two wins were at home by four points over Clemson and over North Carolina after N.C. State nearly blew a 28-point lead. Second, the Wolfpack was losing close games and has finally shown they can make plays at crunch time. That’s growth.

“It wasn’t the prettiest win, but at the end of the day, that’s what it was, it was an important win for our team,” Gottfried said. “So, we’re excited about that.”

On Tuesday, N.C. State (18-7, 7-5) hosts Florida State (14-11, 6-6) for a 7 p.m. tip at PNC Arena in a game that must serve as more than a narrow victory. If this Wolfpack team is to work itself back into the form that raise so many eyebrows, they need to get the job done on both ends of the floor and earn an impressive victory in which the last minute has no drama.

Pick: N.C. State, 70-61.

Feb. 19

When: 9 p.m.
Full Court Press: Very dangerous game for the Terrapins. Boston College continues to play better teams to close games, and the Eagles are going to break through eventually. Maryland’s issues handling the ball could be its downfall at Chestnut Hill. Boston College must convert its opportunities and hit 3s, as it won’t get many looks inside. Intensity and focus are also concerns for Maryland, which is coming off a win over Duke.
Pick: Maryland, 60-57.

When: 9 p.m.
Full Court Press: UNC can’t afford to not treat this game as its most important of the season. The Yellow Jackets are improving and are more than capable of beating the Tar Heels. A new more guard-oriented lineup makes UNC more potent, but that doesn’t mean Roy Williams’ team will play with fire. The Yellow Jackets can’t to be over-hyped, either. Georgia Tech’s bench could be a difference maker, notably forward Kammeon Holsey, though he’s coming off a rough week.
Pick: Georgia Tech, 70-66.

When: 9 p.m.
Full Court Press: Miami should be pretty focused after narrowly escaping Clemson on Sunday night with a 45-43 victory. Virginia fell at UNC and faces a greater challenge in the No. 2 Hurricanes. Virginia must take care of the ball and take quality shots, it also must muscle up with the Hurricanes. Miami must get back to playing like it normally does. As solid as Virginia is, that will be enough for the 'Canes to nail down a solid victory.
Pick: Miami, 71-62.

Feb. 21

When: 9 p.m.
Full Court Press: The Blue Devils hit the road again following Saturday’s loss at Maryland. Virginia Tech isn’t nearly as capable of beating the Devils as Maryland, but it may not be a cakewalk. The Hokies have taken UNC and N.C. State to overtime on the road in recent weeks, so unless Duke takes care of business early it could be interesting. That said, Mason Plumlee will have a huge game and Duke will cruise.
Pick: Duke, 83-66.

Season record: 170-41

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