It is Senior Night at NC State and the RBC should be filled to capacity for Engin Atsur’s final home game in Wolfpack white.
Section Six has their typical great preview up. Their advice is the take a very close look at the Deacons.
The long and the short of it is simple – the Deacons’ offense isn’t that good, and their defense is even worse. Because of the mismatch between State’s good offense and Wake’s bad defense – this game will be won or lost by the Wolfpack’s defensive efforts when the Demon Deacons have the ball. IF NC State brings the Dr. Jekyll squad who plays defense and blocks out on the boards – as opposed to the Mr. Hyde squad who looks like a Les Robinson team – the Wolfpack should be in a good position.
The Deacons have the least efficient offense in the ACC, and by a comfortable margin, which you can see illustrated in Big Ten Wonk’s handy visual aid. What makes them so bad? In addition to being the most turnover prone team in the conference, the Deacs are also 11th in eFG% and 10th in offensive rebounding percentage. Can’t shoot, can’t grab your misses–this is a problem better known as Chronic Brick Fatigue Syndrome.
In seven conference road games, the offense has been nothing short of terrible: 0.89 points/possession, including a delightful 0.62 pts/poss effort in Durham.
What I’m not going to tell you for fear of the consequences is that Wake Forest hasn’t managed to score better than a point per possession in any road conference game this season. I’m definitely not pointing that out.
The primary unknown tonight is the potential impact of Wake’s press. It didn’t work for them in Winston-Salem, but they have effectively pressed some teams at different points during the year. State should be able to handle the press as long as the officials don’t swallow their whistle and think that tackling is a part of pressing ala the Wolfpack’s visit to Atlanta earlier in the year. As this awesome analysis crystallizes
…every time the Wolfpack turns the ball over, it costs us 1.3 points. Every time Gavin dribbles the ball off his foot and out of bounds, 1.3 points go down the tubes. Every time Gavin has a lazy pass intercepted, that’s 1.3 points we can never get back. Every time– Okay, okay.
Turnovers have made what is an otherwise decent (Wolfpack) offense into one of the worst in the league. And this is only tangentially related, but you want to know how much we suck at the secondary offensive factors–how much they drag us down? We’re #1 in effective field goal percentage in conference play…and 10th in offensive efficiency. Thanks to turnovers and anemic offensive rebounding, the best shooting team in the ACC has one of the three worst offenses in the ACC.
Despite the erratic play of the Wolfpack this season, isn’t it a wonderful feeling to be going into tonight’s game with a little general happiness? Think about it. There is no potential controversy regarding who gets to start and who doesn’t get to start on Senior Night; and there is no controversy of a squad that has significantly under-performed expectations all season.
Go back and look at the pre-season expectations for Wolfpack Basketball this season – that included the presumption that Engin Atsur would be healthy all year! Under that backdrop, tonight is as “big” of a game as it gets for NC State in 2007. A win over Wake would insure a winning regular season record for Sidney Lowe’s first season and position the Pack to try to impress the NIT selection committee during the rest of our games. This was considered a “STRETCH” goal before the season began.
Additionally, Sidney Lowe’s win in Winston-Salem earlier in the year obviously improved upon the Wolfpack’s recent performance in our rivalry with Wake Forest. (Link)
State has a chance to sweep the Deacons tonight and take a huge step to re-establishing the ‘rightful order’ of things on Tobacco Road. Take a look at this link to some hard work that we put into analysis regarding sweeps in the Wolfpack – Demon Deacon series.
Since Everett Case began coaching NC State in 1946, NC State has swept the regular season series from Wake Forest on 20 occassions. Herb Sendek swept the regular season from Wake Forest once.
Sidney Lowe has a chance to equal that record tonight!!!