6. NC State (5-2, 1-0)
NC State is another team that really turned up last season, with Kevin Keatts really needing that type of performance after several lame seasons. The Wolfpack won 23 games, were back in the NCAA Tournament, and did decent work against the rest of the ACC. Expectations may be somewhat similar for this season, and there’s certainly enough talent in Raleigh to win a lot of games, but what have the early returns looked like?
We didn’t learn much in the opening weeks with a handful of winnable home games. At the Vegas Showdown, the Wolfpack got a nice win over a troubling Vanderbilt team before falling against BYU despite a great offensive effort. A 20-point loss to Ole Miss a few days later showed that this team has significant work to do, though they bounced back with an overtime win at Boston College, getting conference play off to a winning start.
When on their game, NC State can be a great team in this league, with Casey Morsell, D. J. Burns, and the rest of this lineup all capable of playing good basketball. They’ve honestly played really well in every game this season except that absolute stinker against the Rebels just a week ago. Was that game an aberration or is it a sign that we could be overrating the Wolfpack? At this point there’s evidence that NC State could compete for a ticket to dance again this season as long as the offense can be more consistent.