Norfolk State Vs. NC State Preview: There May Be Pain

Joe Robbins

Norfolk State is... not good at basketball.

Norfolk St. Offense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.4 155
Turnover Rate 21.1 232
Off Reb Rate 33.3 138
FTA/FGA 42.4 37

Norfolk St. Offense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 46.1 231
Turnover Rate 21.7 214
Off Reb Rate 36.4 72
FTA/FGA 40.9 85

Norfolk St. @ StatSheet
2012 Stats

2013 Roster
2013 Schedule

You may remember Norfolk State as the No. 15 seed that upset Missouri in last year's NCAA tournament. The Spartans didn't have a good offense last year--they don't this year either--but they exploded on Mizzou for 86 points in 64 possessions. Twice that season they were held to less than a point per possession by non-Division One opponents, but hey, that's March Madness for you.

In 5+ seasons, head coach Anthony Evans has yet to have an offense crack 200th nationally in efficiency, and that does not appear as though it will change this year. It doesn't help that he's had to replace several seniors off of last year's NCAA tournament squad.

Last year's team could score the ball effectively inside thanks largely to the now-departed Kyle O'Quinn, who made 61% of his twos. The Spartans have seen considerable dropoff in that area without O'Quinn, and they haven't much improved their three-point shooting to help compensate. They are at least grabbing a greater percentage of their missed shots.

Starters:

Jamel Fuentes (6-3, 185) --Fuentes last year made 38.3% of his twos and 43.3% of his free throws. This year, those figures are 33.9% and 58.1%, respectively. He just does not appear to have much range, as only six of his career 143 field goal attempts came from beyond the arc. Fuentes at least seems to recognize his shortcomings--his assist rate is outstanding, and he is not taking a lot of shots. He looks like a guy that NC State can sag off of a bit, which is good considering his free throw rate is solid. Good steal rate too.

Pendarvis Williams (6-6, 195) -- Here's a dude to keep an eye on. He is by far Norfolk State's most efficient starter and leads the team in scoring, but the problem for the Spartans is they have two inferior shooters taking a higher proportion of the shots than Williams. Norfolk State would do well to find more opportunities for Williams, who made 52.1% of his twos and 38.6% of his threes last year. He has been an effective scorer inside and out since he stepped on campus.

Malcolm Hawkins (6-5, 215) -- Hawkins is doing a decent job of getting to the free throw line and he's hitting over 38% of his threes, but that's pretty much it for positives. Too many shot attempts in general, too many turnovers.

Rob Johnson (6-8, 220) -- Fancies himself a dual threat scorer, but thing about that is he's 43-169 (25.4%) from beyond the arc over the course of his career. He is not someone who should be taking 2-3 threes per game and yet that's just what he's doing; maybe it's one of those "well, he makes 'em in practice" deals, but if I'm his coach and not blind, I tell him to maybe scale it back just a smidge. Johnson rebounds pretty well at the defensive end but he is comically poor at the offensive end, probably owing in part to that perimeter orientation of his. His turnover rate is high, and he is no threat to block shots.

Brandon Goode (7-0, 225) -- Goode most definitely will bother a shot or five, and he's very dangerous on the offensive glass. His turnover rate is high, which is not uncommon for a young big man, but when he does get a shot up, he's scoring effectively (61.3% in the paint). Foul trouble may end up a problem for him in this one.

Bench:

Rashid Gaston (6-8, 235), Kris Brown (6-3, 180), Kievyn Lila-St. Rose (6-6, 180), A.J. Rogers (6-7, 200). Gaston is 20th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage and he's making about 51% of his two-point attempts. Judging by his sub-50% free throw shooting percentage, though, his best scoring moving is probably a putback off an offensive board. Brown is a former walk-on who probably won't figure much into the scoring, and the other two guys have been playing sparingly this year.

Norfolk St. Defense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 46.4 55
Turnover Rate 19.6 199
Off Reb Rate 33.1 217
FTA/FGA 37.3 199

Norfolk St. Defense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 45.2 85
Turnover Rate 19.6 230
Off Reb Rate 37.8 311
FTA/FGA 37.7 199

Defensive rebounding has never been a strength of Norfolk State under Evans, and combined with those low turnover rates, it's pretty tough to build above-average defenses. They have at least defended the paint reasonably well, holding opponents to 46% shooting on twos over the last two seasons.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by 21.

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