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MBB Game 17: FSU 78 at NC State 65

ACC: 1 FSU: 0

Starting ACC play against Duke is never a plesant experience. Saturday evening demonstrated why Duke is one of the elite teams in the country and we're still figuring things out. That said, we showed why teams are not looking forward to coming to the Tucker Center or have us rolling into town. Unfortunately, our offense shut down for way too long and Duke had us scrambling back for most of the second half. When all things were said and done, Duke managed to go on a 41-11 run.

Tonight, we head to North Carolina to take on the Wolfpack. Take a look inside for a few more thoughts on the Duke game and the preview for tonights match up.

In his post game press conference, Coach K called us "a really good basketball team," and the truth of the matter is that we are a good team. As Hamilton put it, "They [Duke] is further along than we are." Duke is able to put together a complete game on both ends of the court. We continue to have periods of mental lapse that get us in trouble. But, when we are playing our style of basketball, we will be a tough team to beat. Singler said the following: "They are a very good team, have good players and good size. They rebound the ball very well. They are an aggressive team. They are definitely a team you can't pass on a bad night. I see them upsetting teams." (My emphasis added) Assistant coach Steve Wojchiechowski said that we are "an outstanding team. They are very physical and very big. And they are one of the best defensive teams we've played."

So it looks like we were able to catch Duke's attention. As the season goes on, our offense will only get better and we should be able to avoid the extended periods of lack luster performance. Our defense is now 17th in the country and ranks 4th in the conference behind North Carolina, Wake and Duke, who are 15th, 5th and 1st in the country respectively.

Offense Defense
Date Opponent Result Site Pace Eff. eFG% TO% OR% FTR Eff. eFG% TO% OR% FTR
Sat Nov 15 Jacksonville (s) (sr) W, 59-57 A 69 85.6 52.4 26.1 18.8 73.2 82.7 36.0 16.0 33.3 26.5
Tue Nov 18 La Salle (s) (sr) W, 65-61 A 71 92.0 45.8 25.5 26.9 58.3 86.3 40.0 19.8 31.5 30.0
Thu Nov 20 Stetson (s) (sr) W, 79-77 H 73 108.3 45.5 23.3 46.1 60.7 105.6 53.1 19.2 33.3 20.0
Sat Nov 22 Coastal Carolina (s) (sr) W, 82-70 H 71 116.0 56.7 21.2 32.8 50.0 99.0 51.8 31.1 37.5 30.9
Mon Nov 24 Western Illinois (s) (sr) W, 67-55 H 62 108.6 48.0 19.4 36.5 44.0 89.1 40.9 21.1 21.0 47.7
Fri Nov 28 Cincinnati (s) (sr) W, 58-47 N 64 90.7 42.0 28.1 43.2 50.0 73.5 36.1 29.7 40.5 31.5
Sat Nov 29 California (s) (sr) W, 80-77 N 78 102.7 55.2 23.1 25.6 70.8 98.8 44.1 16.7 20.8 54.2
Wed Dec 3 Northwestern (s) (sr) L, 73-59 A 69 86.0 47.1 30.6 33.9 37.3 106.4 49.1 18.9 42.9 55.4
Sun Dec 7 Florida (s) (sr) W, 57-55 H 64 88.8 37.3 21.8 38.9 51.0 85.7 43.1 24.9 31.3 33.3
Sat Dec 13 Georgia St. (s) (sr) W, 62-57 A 54 114.1 64.5 27.6 44.2 50.0 104.9 44.3 12.9 32.8 28.3
Tue Dec 16 Tennessee Tech (s) (sr) W, 69-59 H 75 92.3 53.9 32.1 34.5 39.2 78.9 41.7 29.4 33.3 28.3
Thu Dec 18 Charleston Southern (s) (sr) W, 71-48 H 66 107.0 49.2 19.6 45.2 35.5 72.4 39.3 28.6 35.9 19.6
Sun Dec 21 Pittsburgh (s) (sr) L, 56-48 H 67 71.8 34.0 26.9 27.8 46.8 83.8 38.1 22.4 38.1 20.6
Sun Dec 28 Western Kentucky (s) (sr) W, 82-69 h 65 127.0 54.1 13.9 40.0 34.4 106.9 50.0 23.2 44.7 25.9
Sat Jan 3 Texas A&M Corpus Chris (s) (sr) W, 69-48 H 72 95.3 52.4 22.1 33.8 22.6 66.3 35.3 29.0 31.8 27.6
Sat Jan 10 Duke (s) (sr) L, 66-58 H 67 86.1 33.1 20.8 50.6 19.7 98.0 48.8 25.3 36.9 92.9

This table is starting to get too big but I find it very telling about what we did against Duke. Look at the eFG% and FTR for both teams...ouch. However, I was encouraged by our OR% and their OR%; we cleaned up on the boards. Unfortunately, many of those boards were from missed tips ins and missed lay ups.

Enough about Duke. We'll be better when we head up to Cameron Indoor. Let's take a look at our match up with the NC State Wolfpack.

NC State is a very balanced team that could easily surprise a lot of teams this year. They play solid defense and are developing their offense. They are 9-4 this year with losses to Davidson, Marquette, Florida and Clemson. They lost to Davidson by 5, Marquette by 3 and Florida by 2. Clemson had their way with NC State, winning 63-51. The point is that this is a very dangerous Wolfpack team. In my ACC preview, I ranked the Wolfpack below FSU by the slimmest of margins. This team is predicted by Ken Pomeroy to go 15-14 overall and 5-11 in ACC play, beating us, GTech, Virginia, Maryland and Boston College. They have the pleasure of playing UNC and Wake twice, but only play Clemson and Duke once.

 Offense Defense
Raw Efficiency : 110.3 ( 42) 94.6 ( 70)
Adj Efficiency : 107.1 ( 80) 96.5 ( 99)

Effective FG% : 52.3 ( 68) 42.7 ( 19)
Turnover Pct. : 20.6 (164) 16.1 (339)
Off. Rebound% : 37.9 ( 47) 31.2 (101)
Free Throw Rate: 29.9 ( 46) 25.8 ( 19)

3-Point FG% : 36.7 ( 77) 28.4 ( 14)
2-Point FG% : 51.0 ( 70) 42.7 ( 40)
Free Throw Pct.: 72.0 ( 73) 68.8 (178)
Block Pct. : 7.9 (120) 10.0 (111)
Steal Pct. : 12.0 (309) 7.7 (305)

3PA/FGA : 30.5 (234) 29.7 ( 67)
A/FGM : 60.7 ( 47) 39.9 ( 2)

NC State plays a down tempo game, very similar to our style, averaging 64.7 posssions per game. They are scoring 1.1 point per possession and only allowing 0.94. We average 67 possessions per gme and score 0.98 points per possession and only allow 0.9 points per possession. Only allowing 0.9 points per possession seems really good right? We rank 32 in the nation, however, it's only 7th in the conference. I don't care what everyone else says, the ACC is the best conference in the nation.

The interesting thing is that NC State does not cause turnovers. They play tight defense and challenge your shot. We don't get good looks at the basket yet, so not generating turnovers shouldn't be a problem for the Wolfpack, espescially if they play press defense. Their offense is good, not great, but is improving. They rebound well an they shoot the ball well. Like the Noles, NC State likes to get to the FT line and they are scoring a lot of points from the charity stripe.

Another similarity between the Noles and the Wolfpack is the size of the two teams. NC State is ranked 26th overall in average minutes-weighted height, bigger than Duke and UNC. They are also a very experienced team, only starting juniors and senioes. They have a loaded freshman class but they are still seeing limited minutes.

Let's take a look at the match ups:


Ben McCauley 6'9 237 Sr 13.2 ppg 8 rpg (2.3 off rpg) 0.2 block/game

Solomon Alabi 7'1 241 Fr 6.8 ppg 5.6 rpg (2.2 off rpg) 2 block/game

McCauley is one of their most active players on both ends of the court. He is their second best offensive player and gets the ball on 23.9% of their possessions. He shoots the ball well with a 57.5% eFG% and he gets to the line. He is a physical player and Solomon will have his hands full. However, we may not see a lot of this match up. McCauley likes to move around a lot. If Alabi is in the game, we may be in more of a zone look.

Power Forward:

Brandon Costner 6'9 231 Jr 14.4 ppg 6.8 rpg (1.8 off rpg) 1.1 block/game

Ryan Reid 6'8 235 Jr 7.1 ppg 4.3 rpg (1.6 rpg) 0.9 block/game

Costner had an amazing freshman season only to have a characterstic sophomore slump. This year, he is certainly having a rebound from a down year. He is leading the team in shots, possessions and eFG% (based on minutes). He is a versatile player and he is certainly not afraid to take the three, taking 46 so far this year hitting 37% of them. Like the Duke game, Reid has his work cut out for him. Don't be surprised to see a lot of Echefu in this game or to see Singleton matched up on him. That is one of the nice things about our team, we have defensive versatility due to our size.

Small Forward:

Courtney Fells 6'6 210 Sr 10.9 ppg 3.7 rpg 0.9 block/game

Chris Singleton 6'9 220 Fr 9.6 ppg 6.3 rpg 1.2 block/game

Last year, Fells primarily played the 2 guard, so don't be surprised to see the likes of Demercy, Kitchen or Loucks matching up on Fells. Singleton can do it, but he might be better served playing Costner. Fells is having a good year quietly scoring 10 points per game. He has a ridiculous eFG% of 59% and is taking about 22% of the the teams shots while he is on the floor. He shoots well from three, making 46% of the 30 shots he has taken this year. He is an athetic player and, like Gerald Henderson, may cause a match up problem for us. Singleton played the game of his life against Duke. I only hope he can keep it up and not get frustrated by results.

Shooting Guard:

Trevor Ferguson 6'5 190 Jr 7.6 ppg 2.6 rpg 2.5 apg 1.9 A/T 0.5 spg

Jordan Demercy 6'7 208 So 4.2 ppg 3.4 rpg 2.4 apg 1.1 A/T 1 spg

Ferguson is NC State's highest rated player by ORtg and is one of the top 100 in the country. The reason is that he doesn't take a ton of shots, but when he does it's from 3 point land and he makes a lot of them, shooting 41.5% from 3 point land. Last year he only took 35 attempts from three and shot 40%. This year he is up to 30 attempts already and has a better shooting percentage. DeMercy's length will help him defend against the three. By the way, Ferguson has a broken ring finger on his left hand and was supposed to be out 3-6 weeks. He only missed three games, including the loss to Florida. His first game back was against Clemson and had a quiet game, scoring 5 points and playing 37 minutes.

Point Guard:

Farnold Degand 6'3 185 Jr 4.8 ppg 1.4 rpg 1.3 apg 0.7 AT 0.2 spg

Toney Douglas 6'2 205 Sr 18.4 ppg 4.2 rpg 2.6 apg 0.9 AT 2.6 spg

Degand is only playing about 12 minutes per game but he is their starting point guard, which I find surprising given the ammount of times he turns over the ball (33% of possessions) There is definitely a rotation between Degand and Julius Mays, a true freshman, and Javier Gonzalez. Mays and Gonzalez are getting significantly more minutes than Degand. I wouldn't be suprised if Mays is the starter by the end of the year. Douglas should handle Degand. Douglas is amazing and I wouldn't be surprised if he is playing in the NBA next year. I don't think he'll be a lottery pick but he could be a great back up for any team in the NBA, particularly with the way he plays defense.

We played great against Duke for a majority of the game and we proved to the nation that we can play at an elite level. However, we fell apart for way too long and couldn't stop Duke. In the loss, our projected conference record went to 6-10 from 5-11. Our defense went from 20th to 17th and our offense went from 219 to 206. (Thanks to FSUncensored for pointing this out)

NC State was in the game with Clemson, until Clemson decided to start playing defense with about 15 minutes to go in the second half. NC State had a similar stagnation that we had in the second half against Duke. This is a good team and don't let their record fool you. This will be a tough game. Pomeroy has predicted NC State to win this game 63-60 with 62% confidence. Sorry folks, but he hasn't been wrong this year. However, I feel that we got a huge boost of confidence from the Duke loss. I think we win this one 67-61 in a tight battle. We'll run away with it if Alabi and Singleton can have huge games.