The NC State Wolfpack is set to enter ACC play against Wake Forest with an 8-1 record, provided State takes care of business at home against Georgia State and Elon.
The Wolfpack is coming off a surprising upset victory on the road against a tough Marquette team, and the game before that, the Pack lost a very winnable game at home against Northwestern.
Those past two games the Wolfpack looked like two totally different teams, against Marquette the team shot 53.6 percent, and against Northwestern it shot 33.9 percent.
The Wolfpack also played much better on the defensive end against Marquette, allowing the Golden Eagles to shoot only 37.9 percent, while Northwestern shot 49 percent in State's previous matchup.
Javier Gonzalez is a very important part of this young Wolfpack team.
He is one of the team's veteran leaders, and he is needed to step up and make plays, whether that means for him to drive to the basket and score, or for him to step back and make the occasional three, or even to be a better "field general" by making better passes and limiting turnovers.
Javier played well against the Golden Eagles, scoring 15 points while shooting 5-of-8 from the field, 3-of-5 from the three-point line, along with having an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.75.
The Northwestern game was a different story. Javier scored 10 points, but shot 3-of-12 from the field, and 2-of-6 from the three-point line while having a lesser assist to turnover ratio of 1.5.
Another key for the Wolfpack is that its bench plays a more important role, specifically players such as Josh Davis, DeShawn Painter, Richard Howell, and Jordan Vandenberg.
I like Dennis Horner as much as the next guy, but I don't think he can bang inside with the big guys on teams like North Carolina Tar Heels, Duke, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Florida.
A combination of DeShawn Painter and Richard Howell and even Jordan Vandenberg should prove sufficient against those teams.
My take on Scott Wood is that he is talented and young, but he needs to take smarter shots, and maybe even fewer shots because he is costing the team valuable possessions.
Josh Davis is a better player right now because of his ability to drive to the basket, his ball handling skills, and his ability to step back and make mid-range jump shots.
I really feel that, at this point in the season, Josh Davis is the better overall player, and could contribute more.