The Big Men. Devin Thomas was once again a monster. 21 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks. 7-15 shooting, and 7-11 from the line. Konstantinos Mitoglou had 19 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks. Admittedly, he had a disappointing 6-16 shooting and only 1-7 from deep, but he went 6-7 from the line. John Collins, in only 11 minutes, had 10 points (5-7 shooting), 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Doral Moore had 2 points (1-4 shooting) but 3 rebounds and 2 blocks in only 5 minutes. That's just great work by the bigs. Unbelievable.
Playing With Composure. This should not have been close, but dang it, it was. The important thing was that the team buckled down when they had to, both defensively and from the line. Special shout outs to Bryant Crawford, who went a perfect 5-5 from the line in the clutch, even after injuring a finger on his shooting hand.
Absolutely OWNING The Glass. +23 rebounding margin. Granted we should have owned the glass, but we did, and it came from a variety of sources.
Turnovers. 16 turnovers. Oofah. There are many reasons to believe that will clean up, though. Bryant Crawford will settle into the college game, our bigs will become more sure-handed, and things will tighten up in general.
Ice Cold From Deep. 3-20. Really. If we're being real, a team with Dinos Mitoglou and Mitchell Wilbekin should not do that badly from downtown. That being said, the majority of them were NOT bad shots. To the contrary, a lot of them were beautiful looks, often out of double teams on Devin Thomas. Also Bryant Crawford went 0-4, but you can tell he can shoot. His form is good.
Backcourt Depth. I like Trent VanHorn. I do. But he played 25 minutes tonight, and any better team would likely take advantage of that in a major way. We need Codi Miller-McIntyre, and I'm absolutely praying Cornelius Hudson and yes, Rondale Watson, get their acts together and get another shot,
The Bottom Line
We dropped approximately 10 kenpom spots. It was ugly. It should not have been so close I acknowledge all of this. But I find it disingenuous to panic about the season given the depth issues and extensive minutes for freshmen. I'd say it's obvious Danny Manning can both recruit and coach, given how awesome John Collins looks, how much Dinos and Devin have improved, and how much the team is able to clamp down under pressure. Oh, and we went 23-30 from the line which is truthfully pretty great. Also NC State dropped 17 spots, so we could be significantly worse off.
On to the next. Go Deacs.