PITTSBURGH – There may not be a Villanova fan alive who is thinking the Wildcats are in great danger after watching N.C. State survive against LSU.
That has little to do with N.C. State. It's just hard to grade the Wolfpack with full credit for its 66-65 last-second victory at the Consol Energy Center when the other guys didn't make a field goal over the last ten minutes and missed six straight free throws at the end.
N.C. State will crash the boards. They will defend the three. Whether they will be able to stay with Villanova's outside guys all over the court for 40 minutes Saturday in the NCAA East Regional couldn't be ascertained from the LSU game.
The Wolfpack can put the ball in the basket enough to score 70.4 a game, fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They make 36 percent of their three-pointers, proved against LSU they will crash the boards, regardless of the athleticism of their opponent. They won't force steals, which gives them a negative turnover margin but they were fourth in the league in field-goal percentage defense. Mark this down: They will make Villanova get their shots honestly.
The matchup that Villanova will have to make sure it doesn't get the worst of is against 6-foot-3 guard Trevor Lacey, an Alabama transfer who knows how to make one-on-one plays and isn't shy from behind the three-point line.
"Even within the game, we can be great, and we can be BAAAD,'' N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said after a game last month. "We're everywhere right now.''
You saw that Thursday night. And on Saturday, there's no question where the pressure will be. Villanova will have to apply it throughout realizing this young Wolfpack group is the current poster child for having nothing to lose, and they do know how to stage a com