Cleveland State Vs. NC State Preview: Watch Out You Don't Get Your Pocket Picked

Gregory Shamus

Cleveland St. @ StatSheet
2012 Stats
2013 Roster
2013 Schedule

Cleveland St. Offense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 50.7 105
Turnover Rate 21.8 264
Off Reb Rate 35.1 64
FTA/FGA 27.4 337

Cleveland St. Offense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 50.0 111
Turnover Rate 19.7 117
Off Reb Rate 33.9 123
FTA/FGA 31.6 245

Head coach Gary Waters quietly built a solid mid-major program at Cleveland State--the Vikings haven't had a losing record in Horizon League play since 2007, and they've won 20 games or more in four of the last five seasons. They only have one NCAA tournament appearance to show for it, but it's tough sharing a league with Butler.

Last year's team, which was led by a trio of senior guards, finished 83rd in the Pomeroy Ratings, essentially putting it on par with Clemson or Virginia Tech. One of those seniors, D'Aundray Brown, finished among the nation's top five in steal percentage, spearheading a Vikings defense that was extremely disruptive.

Now they have to find new leaders, and an early-season injury to forward Anton Grady isn't helping matters. The offense is holding together well enough so far, though the schedule hasn't exactly been challenging, outside of a game against Michigan.

The worry for NC State will be Cleveland State's perimeter scoring. The Vikings like to shoot threes a bit more often than the national average, and they're hitting 36.7% from downtown. There really is no one they can rely on to score in the paint, so they may end up leaning more heavily on the three against NC State.

Starters:

Charlie Lee (5-9, 160) -- Lee was a terrible shooter, inside and out, as a freshman in 2012. The dude hit 11 of 59 threes, which you'd think might serve as a strong hint. This season, he is 19-38 from three and also hitting 55% of his twos, and I have no idea which Charlie Lee is the real Charlie Lee. He is the team's leading scorer and sports a solid assist rate as well. Turnovers are a problem.

Sebastian Douglas (6-4, 210) --Scores the ball reasonably efficiently inside the arc but does not appear to have much range. Last year he turned the ball over like a billion times and he isn't very good at the free throw line.

Marlin Mason (6-6, 210) --Mason is a good defensive rebounder and shot botherer with a knack for getting to the free throw line, and it appears he is trying to expand his game by taking more three-pointers. (This is not working out well just yet.)

Tim Kamczyc (6-7, 225) --Kamczyc is one of those annoying inside-outside scoring types, and he has never finished a season with a three-point field goal percentage below 41.2. He had a brilliant season in a secondary role last year, as he hit 46% from three and 64.2% inside the arc. This is the sort of fellow who can give the Pack some trouble if Cleveland State can find enough opportunities for him. This year he's taken more threes than twos, and his 3FG% is higher than his 2FG%.

Devon Long (6-7, 260) -- Long recently made his first start of the season and played pretty well, but it's hard to guess at what to expect from someone who has played so sparingly. Ludovic Ndaye could be the starter in this spot.

Bench:

Ludovic Ndaye (6-9, 240), Bryn Forbes (6-3, 175), Josh Ivory (6-2, 200). Forbes enjoys him some shootin', and aside from the injured Anton Grady, no one is taking a higher proportion of the team's shots while on the floor. His attempts are split roughly 50-50 between twos and threes.

Thirteen of Ivory's 15 field goal attempts this season have come from beyond the arc.

Cleveland St. Defense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 46.8 74
Turnover Rate 25.3 5
Off Reb Rate 34.3 256
FTA/FGA 50.8 338

Cleveland St. Defense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 47.0 132
Turnover Rate 23.5 75
Off Reb Rate 31.8 165
FTA/FGA 47.2 311

If there is one thing Gary Waters knows how to do, it's build a team that can create some turnovers. The Vikings finished 30th or better in defensive turnover rate in three of the last four seasons. They create these turnovers not from blocks but from steals--last year they were eighth in steal rate. NC State will have a size advantage in this game, but the forwards need to be extra solid with the ball or these swipey jerkwads are going to be all like "I'm taking this." Yeah, I'm worried about this too. Solid with the ball. Heh. That's a good one.

But there are costs to the super swipe defense--one overzealous yoink attempt could cause the defense to break down and lead to an easy bucket. And then there are the fouls. Good heavens, the fouls. I just hope NC State's forwards have been working extra hard at the charity stripe in practice this week.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NCSU by 14.

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