With their win over South Florida last night, the Wolfpack improved to 6-2 over their last eight games, this after a 2-10 start to conference play. With the offense unable to escape the 50s of late, State obviously has needed strong defensive efforts in order to win games. To get an idea of how much better the defense is, take a look at this comparison between the 6-2 stretch and the 2-10 stretch.
The difference is massive, an improvement of 0.16 points per trip. Our effective field goal percentage defense is much better thanks to improved perimeter D, we're forcing lots of turnovers, and we're giving up fewer second opportunities.
This has done as much for my optimism in re: next year as anything else. If Sid can get them to carry this sort of play into next year--and we don't have to be this good, just in the ballpark--then we will be in a position to make noise in a big way.
State's offensive efficiency over the first 12: 96.8. And over the last eight: 96.7. So there you go. It's all about the D.
One other note: check out the offensive splits by half over the last eight games:
I guess the guys need 20 minutes to warm up or something. Maybe Sid can't properly re-emphasize the game plan and/or make adjustments during the timeouts he gets in the first half and needs the entire halftime break in order to do those things. I'm reaching here. This is baffling.