Akula Wolf formerly of Section Six presently of Backing the Pack joined us for this week's Q/A session. Check out his responses to our questions after the jump:FTRS: I think any outside observer looking in at State wants to know how things have been since the departure of Sidney. So how are things?
BTP: Much, much better. Fewer whistles, too. Apparently Sidney Lowe didn't really care how hard his players worked during the offseason, or if they worked at all. Simply adding some additional structure to practices and getting the guys motivated to workout has made a difference. State also appears more organized at the offensive end, which is paying dividends as well.FTRS: Outside of the Syracuse, Tech, and UNC games, State has played fairly competitive if not downright good basketball. What is the postseason goal of this State squad in terms of seedings and performance? Is this squad a tourney sleeper?
Gottfried certainly has benefited from the schedule and the experience that Lorenzo Brown and CJ Leslie picked up last year, but I think his impact has gone well beyond that. At least so far.
BTP: They've had opportunities to deliver some wins that would have helped their case immensely (Indiana, Stanford, Virginia) but weren't able to deliver. I think State will be in the conversation come Selection Sunday, I'm just not sure the team is going to be able to find enough quality wins for the resume.FTRS: CJ Leslie was probably the top recruit of Lowe's tenure. How has he dealt with Lowe's exodus? What is the team dynamic between Leslie and the other team leaders Scott Wood, Richard Howell, CJ Williams, and Lorenzo Brown? BTP: That's one factor about the coaching change that I was worried about, but it doesn't seem like it's been much of an issue. Leslie is an emotional player and can cross the line at times--he was suspended by Lowe last season, he was suspended by Gottfried this year--but he's also clearly bought in to the system. He's operating under more control and is less likely to take a silly shot.
And if they do get in, that's gravy. I don't think they'd get very far, but it would be a nice cap to a surprisingly enjoyable season. No one expected this team to reach the NCAAs in Gottfried's first year.
In general, this team's chemistry seems good. FTRS: What are your predictions for Thursday? Who has a big day? Who wins?
BTP: Georgia Tech will reprise its Raleigh performance and hit 9 of 14 three-point attempts, and Glen Rice will appear unstoppable on his way to 34 points on 12-19 shooting (3-6 from downtown). The Jackets win going away, 82-71.Thanks goes out to Akula and the BTP crew. I take great pleasure in defeating NC State so let's beat 'em for the Bird. Go Jackets!