Stanford Vs. NC State Preview: Tall Like Tree

USA TODAY Sports

Stanford Offense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 50.6 108
Turnover Rate 20.2 169
Off Reb Rate 35.1 65
FTA/FGA 37.8 133

Stanford Offense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 43.8 287
Turnover Rate 19.7 118
Off Reb Rate 35.3 85
FTA/FGA 43.5 42

Stanford @ StatSheet
2012 Stats
2013 Roster
2013 Schedule

The game against Stanford last year was one of the more painful losses for NC State all year. The Pack had a double-digit lead in the second half and never trailed in the game until there were less than four minutes remaining, and it was pretty tough to walk away from that one without thinking State blew one against an inferior team.

Actually the Cardinal were pretty good last year, despite their lack of NCAA tournament credentials. Offense wasn't a strong suit, but they played good defense, and that appears to be their identity again this year.

In contrast to NC State, a ton of minutes are going to Stanford's bench players. It's one of the odder playing time distributions I've ever seen--12 players are averaging at least 10 minutes per game, though not all of them have played in every contest (one went down with a season-ending hip injury). Nine different players have made starts.

As you can see, the problem for Stanford so far this season is shooting. The Cardinal rank 209th in 2FG% and 328th in 3FG%; guards that were reliable from distance last year have been ice cold this season, which is killing their three-point productivity. But it's tough not to be wary of a team that shot 38.1% from three a year ago.

Additionally, this team is big. The Cardinal killed State on the glass last season, grabbing nearly 45% of their missed shots, and they are plenty capable of a repeat performance. If Richard Howell gets in foul trouble, there's a good chance they do repeat that success. They might regardless.

If Stanford's shooting troubles continue Tuesday night, the biggest key to victory for NC State will be limiting their second chances. As long as we don't bail them out with second chance opportunities in that case, we should be fine. Otherwise they're liable to keep themselves in the game despite poor shooting, which is exactly what happened last season. They not only outrebounded us, they went to the free throw line 34 times.

Startery-types:

Aaron Bright (5-11, 178) -- After a promising sophomore campaign, Bright is off to a horrific start to his junior season, which probably has something to do with the games he missed earlier in the year because of injury. Bright hit 43.6% of his threes last year, but he hasn't been able to find the range so far this season, and that's one reason why the team's three-point shooting is down so much.

Chasson Randle (6-1, 180) -- He hit 85 of 194 (43.8%) three pointers last year, but he's just 11-51 so far in 2012-13. He's bound to come around at some point, and for Stanford, the sooner the better, as he's taking a huge chunk of the team's shots. His assist and steal rates are good, and he's deadly at the free throw line.

Andy Brown (6-6, 215) -- Brown is having a good year as a secondary scorer, and after looking at his bio, I realized it's impossible not to root for this kid. He has endured three ACL tears to his left knee. Three! One as a high school senior, one in each of his first two years in college. He played sparingly last season, but at least he finally managed to make it through a season without a devastating injury. Now he's getting about 20 minutes per game and hitting more than 60% of his twos.

Josh Huestis (6-7, 230) -- Good rebounder at both ends, and a legit shot botherer. He's not terribly accurate inside the arc, and he's also willing to step outside, where he is also not terribly accurate. Turnovers have been an issue this season--uncharacteristically--but the rebounding and shot blocking are the secondary skills that help make Stanford's defense good.

Dwight Powell (6-10, 235) -- Is Powell making The Leap? It's always difficult to tell this time of year. He's been a solid scorer in the paint throughout his career--he hit exactly 50% of his twos in each of the last two seasons--but this year he's hitting 58.7% of his twos despite a significantly higher workload. Turnovers have been aproblem and he has a tendency to get in foul trouble, but he's also very good at getting to the line, where he's hitting 84.9% of his attempts this season.

Bench

Christian Sanders (6-4, 185), Rosco Allen (6-9, 215), Stefan Nastic (6-11, 245), Gabriel Harris (6-2, 190), Robbie Lemons (6-3, 205), John Gage (6-10, 235). Who will play? Will everyone play? Will they play a lot? Will they start? I don't know. Oh god, I just don't know. They got some tall guys here and then some not as tall guys over there and then some other guys who are probably not even listed on the roster who'll just zipline into the game Gottfried-style. There's just no telling.

Gage is actually something of a three-point specialist and he ain't bad. This sort of thing always leads to embarrassing rebounding percentages for big guys, but so it goes. Harris is terrifyingly bad at basketball. I don't know who his high school guidance counselor was but somebody made a huge mistake.

Nastic, who is 6-11, mind you, is shooting 29% from two this year. And Nastic, who was still 6-11, mind you, made just a third of his twos last year. But he is a career 40% three-point shooter (2-5)!

Stanford Defense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 46.6 64
Turnover Rate 22.1 78
Off Reb Rate 28.3 41
FTA/FGA 37.9 210

Stanford Defense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 42.5 31
Turnover Rate 24.1 59
Off Reb Rate 28.8 73
FTA/FGA 33.6 127

It took Johnny Dawkins some time--his first couple of teams couldn't disrupt much of anything in the paint--but he established a top-20 defense last season, and the Stanford looks good enough to finish in that neighborhood again this year. Dawkins' defenses have grown increasingly disruptive over the last five years, with turnover and block rates steadily climbing. Stanford is also doing a good job of cleaning up the glass, and when you put all of that together, you get a very tough defense.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by five.

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