|Off Reb Rate||33.3||24.1|
Wellsir. That started out okay, and then it got bad, and then it got worse, and then it stayed basically the same for a while, and then State almost came back to make up for the poor effort it had given up to that point. There's your tl;dr recap.
As you can see, Michigan had a fantastic night at the offensive end. When you shoot 58% and turn the ball over on less than a tenth of your possessions, that tends to happen. This was their profile coming into the game, and it's exactly what we got. NC State's offensive efficiency Tuesday is enough to win on most nights, but unfortunately the Pack wasn't able to get stops when it needed them, and honestly, Michigan just executed well. The Wolverines took advantage of some NC State foul trouble and some zone defense, whether it was with three-pointers or mid-range jump shots.
For large portions of the game, it was a disappointing effort on State's part. The defensive communication and footwork isn't there, and I was baffled by the choice to go under ball screens rather than go over the top and force Michigan players to put it on the floor. I know our dribble-drive defense isn't exactly stellar, but there are better alternatives to allowing wide open threes.
Richard Howell's foul trouble was a major issue. He hit 5 of 7 shots and grabbed five boards in just 19 minutes. He is enormously valuable to this team, and we have got to find a way to keep him on the floor for closer to 30 minutes per game. If that means a little more zone defense, then that's what will be necessary. I think part of this issue is simply Howell's reputation, which tends to send those 50-50 or potential no-calls in the other direction, and that's bullshit. Unfortunately, that's just what Howell is going to have to deal with, and it will probably be a bigger issue in league play. He needs to be more careful about picking the right spots and play smarter, don't get me wrong; but man, it sure seems like he rarely gets the benefit of the doubt.
I was encouraged by the effort down the stretch in this one; they were able to rally even without Howell to make the game interesting, and without a...questionable...Teddy Valentine offensive foul call, perhaps things would have ended differently. But it wasn't officiating that cost NC State this game. They have to be more determined early on to win games like this--you know, it kinda helps to not fall behind by 15 points.