Earlier this week I asked the question What’s the problem with Pack basketball? and we discovered the difference between the wins and losses wasn’t as simple of hey we are just playing worse. What was revealed was in the losses while on offense the Pack was still shooting the ball the same and the same FTRate but they were turning the ball over more and grabbing a smaller percentage of Offensive Rebounds (OR%). On defense the Pack allowed a higher eFG% and OR%. In addition to these differences we also see during State’s Wins they played at a much higher tempo. This article is meant to compliment the previous one as we are going to take a historical look at the Gottfried tenure at NC State and breakdown how the Pack has performed during the 3 separate (but not equal) parts to the basketball season: Pre-conference regular season (preseason), Conference season, Postseason. We’ll identify if there are any trends from one part of the season to the next and if those trends carry over from one year to the next. We’ll dig down into Tempo Free Stats looking at raw efficiency numbers as well as the Four Factors. Finally we’ll use this to help us determine if we can make any reasonable predictions as how the Pack will play moving forward during the current season into conference play. Let’s get started…
NOTE: This article was written prior to the Pitt game, results since then do not change the historical context of the article.
Since the previous article focused in on the pre-acc season (games prior to January 1st) let’s look at offense and defense during this time:
State has always been very efficient on offense during the “preseason” but that raw efficiency has been on a steady decline since the final season of unfulfilled expectations left by Leslie/Brown/Wood/Howell, where tempo was up and they couldn’t miss. Notice Offensive Rebounding has been consistent for the last 3 years while TO% is returning to previous level (which is still really good) and the FT Rate is up/down each year.
Defense shows a raw efficiency with a sharp drop this year attributed to making the opposition miss more shots and limiting second shots but as discussed in the previous article that’s not the case in the losses against stiffer competition.
You can look here and here if you’d like to see the season to season breakdown of the conference games and the post season games, respectively. In a nutshell the defense is getting steadily worse each conference season and post season.
Time to compare each season individually and breakdown how the Pack performs in each of the 3 subseasons.
Looking at the 11/12 season we see the following:
Offensively the raw efficiency took a dip from the pre to regular to post season. With the increase in competition I’d image the adjusted numbers would be similar between pre and acc seasons. The dip in eFG% and OR% is indicative of stiffer competition but note there is a drop off in production. Defensively there wasn’t much change between pre and acc season but the Pack buckled down during the postseason and improved their defense dramatically, through creating tougher shots and defensive rebounding, which aided in their unexpected runs during the ACCT & NCAAT. HINT HINT!!!! A Good Defense is NECESSARY.
During the 12/13 season the Pack took another dip in Offense when moving from the preseason to the acc season before rebounding during the postseason. The downside to this season and a contributor to why they couldn’t reclaim that magic was the poor defense that got worse from preseason to acc and continued into the postseason. HINT HINT!!!! A Good Defense is NECESSARY.
Finally, the 13/14 season mirrored the 12/13 where the offense dipped when moving from the preseason to the acc season before rebounding during the postseason. Again the downside to this season was the severe reduction in defense, even worse than in 12/13. Both the 12/13 and 13/14 postseason defenses saw teams scoring easier while State forced less turnovers. HINT HINT!!! A Good Defense is NECESSARY.
If you’d like to see it broken down by wins and losses then you can click here.
To tie this altogether, we’ve seen how during the past 3 seasons the offense is less efficient, struggling to get their shot and rebound as well on offense. While on defense the Pack isn’t as good at forcing bad shots, defensive rebounding, or forcing turnovers. If this has been the case for each of the last 3 seasons then the logical conclusion should be the same for the current season. Now does that translate into highly efficient performances against the dregs of the ACC and gouging your eyes out displays against the upper echelon? Who knows but if you’re expecting this team to improve as the calendar turns to January then history is against you.
Finally…A Good Defense is NECESSARY. For NC State to move from a Hubba Bubba team to a Championship one they have to improve on defense and that defense is not going to come from stealing the ball and creating turnovers, that’s just not Gottfried and I don’t see that ever changing. Since creating turnovers won’t be one of the 4 areas on defense that the Pack will be good at then they must be good at the other 3, creating bad shots/defensive rebounding/not sending the other team to the free throw line so much. We’ve seen in the past 2 games hints of these 3 but only against Pitt have we seen all 3 for a full game. While the Pack is trying to improve on defense, they can’t lose their edge in offensive efficiency either, that will spell doom for a team learning to play defense.