It was a game that could only hurt NC State’s chances to get into the NCAA Tournament, but the Wolfpack took care of business to effectively ‘hold serve’ in Mark Gottfried’s quest to dance for the 4th consecutive season. After the win, ESPN’s RPI indicates that the 16-11 Wolfpack sits at #46 in the RPI having played the 2nd toughest schedule in the country. FWIW, State sits at an impressive #34 in ESPN’s proprietary ranking- the ‘Basketball Power Index”.
I found this interesting:
NC State has scored more than 1.3 points per possession in three games this season, including Saturday night against Virginia Tech. (The Tennessee and Richmond games were the other occasions.) Their performance against the Hokies was their most efficient effort of the season.
It never felt that impressive to me, I think largely because the game was so slow. KenPom has it officially as a 51-possession game, and it’s hard for me to imagine that a regulation game could be much slower. I looked at the slowest-paced team in the country (American U.), and found they’ve played one 49-possession game but no other contests under 50 possessions.
So State-VT wasn’t the slowest game of the season, but if American’s results are an indication, it’s in the neighborhood. The national average tempo is 65 possessions per 40 minutes. American, which is dead last, averages 57.1.
The Pack and Hokies both play at an average pace, so I would not have expected them to combine for such a slog fest. I don’t even want to think about what the scores would’ve looked like if these teams shot poorly.
The Wolfpack still has four regular games on the horizon that will provide plenty of opportunity to bolster an NCAA Tournament resume. The equation for State is pretty simple — win and we have no problem advancing to the NCAA Tournament. My math indicates that – presuming that a large population of the current ‘bubble’ doesn’t suddenly go on a tear – State shouldn’t have much problem securing a tournament bid by winning three of our last four games (and would be a LOCK if one of those three wins was on the road in Chapel Hill on Tuesday night) and would still be in contention for a bid heading into the ACC Tournament by winning two of the next four.