Previewing The Delaware State Hornets

Delaware St. @ StatSheet
2012 Stats
2012 Roster
2012 Schedule

Delaware St. Offense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 48.5 198
Turnover Rate 18.0 51
Off Reb Rate 26.4 320
FTA/FGA 27.6 339
Delaware St. Offense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 44.4 294
Turnover Rate 18.8 65
Off Reb Rate 30.8 236
FTA/FGA 32.1 256

You've probably blocked it from memory--or just never bothered to watch it in the first place, which works just as well--but the Wolfpack needed a last-second shot from Scott Wood to beat these guys last season. You could put that on the epitaph of the Sid Lowe tenure, because it works as well as anything else.

Aside from the terribleness at both ends of the floor, the Hornets can be counted on for one thing under coach Greg Jackson: a slow pace. Since 2004, they've never ranked higher than 320th in adjusted tempo. This season they're averaging 62.4 possessions per 40 minutes, which is their highest average on record. (It still only ranks 331st in the country.)

They also have a serious case of Chronic Brick Fatigue Syndrome, which makes tens of teams nearly unwatchable every year. Their slight stature makes two-point shots quite the adventure, and they generally don't take the time to bother with an offensive board. I mean, sure, if it flies right at 'em, then what're they gonna do, y'know? But otherwise you can forget it, bucko. Do you want the false hope that is an offensive board if you're Delaware State? Of course you don't. These guys barely have the space in their lives for the disappointment that comes from the initial possession. I'm exhausted just thinking about the frequency with which they leave one side of the court totally unfulfilled.

They're 4-8 this season, but only two of those wins came against I-A teams. They beat Philadelphia Biblical 104-41, and maybe if Jesus wasn't tied up with Tebow every week the nation's youth groups wouldn't be taking such a pounding. But that's just hindsight talking. Amen. They also took it to "Wilmington DE" 86-65, which I assume is just a random collection of gentlemen who happened to be at the general store in Wilmington, Delaware. (I have never been to Delaware.)

And we barely beat this DSU team last year. To borrow a line from Clark Griswold: Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?

Probable Starters:

Jay Threatt (5-11, 170) -- Excellent distributor and one of the most talented thieves in the nation (#1 in steal percentage in 2010, #2 in 2011, #17 in 2012), but he should not be allowed anywhere near a field goal attempt. Judging by his assist rates, he's been told this. You are the dude who gives it to the other dudes.

Casey Walker (6-5, 180) --Solid high frequency three-point shooter. Make him put it on the floor.

Tyshawn Bell (6-7, 215) -- Bell is listed as 6-7, 215 on the roster page and 6-2, 175 in the team's game notes. So he's probably over six feet tall, but beyond that I don't know. He's shooting 45% from outside and taken more threes than twos, so he's probably closer to 6-2. Again, make him dribble (39.5 2FG%).

Marques Oliver (6-7, 220) -- The team's best rebounder at both ends; he is especially good on the offensive glass. He also has been a pretty effective scorer in the paint throughout his career--certainly way better than the team average. He'll block his share of shots, too.

Kendall Gray (6-10, 260) -- Gray ranks in the top 10 in block percentage, but remember they played those poor sixth grade kids from Phi-Bi. (I assume that's the shorthand.) He needs to get a lot better on the glass--his offensive rebounding percentage is decent but he should be embarrassed by how little difference he makes at the defensive end. He's hitting 49% of his twos as a light usage contributor and his TO% is south of 20.0, which I think is a victory for any freshman big guy.

Bench:

I've completely buried the lede here, and considering only about three people read this far into these previews, I should know better. But here we are. The team's leading scorer is Tahj Tate (6-4, 200). In the team's first eight games he averaged 15 points and shot better than 51% despite a huge (30+%) workload. In other words, he is the kind of player who is rare and indispensable for teams at this level. He is currently serving a suspension of indefinite length for a violation of team rules. He has missed their last four games, all of them losses. If he happens to be back in the lineup on Wednesday night, he's the primary scorer to keep an eye on.

Delaware St. Defense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 54.2 335
Turnover Rate 25.4 3
Off Reb Rate 43.1 345
FTA/FGA 34.6 99
Delaware St. Defense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.4 197
Turnover Rate 18.0 298
Off Reb Rate 40.7 339
FTA/FGA 31.4 81

They're blocking a lot of shots this season, thanks mostly to Kendall Gray, who averages 5.3 blocks per 40 minutes, but blocks don't necessarily correlate with turnover rate because guys always have to take the volleyball slam route rather than the "I will take this and destroy you on a less primal but far more practical level" route. Nature vs. nurture, man.

They finished in the top five in TO% each of the last two years because of impressive steal rates, but now that that's in decline, there's more left to the whims of the other team, and so far they've not had much luck. That's a huge issue given their troubles on the glass and with interior defense in general.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by 22.

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