Detroit Vs. NC State Preview: Wolfpack Hosts Another Team Enduring A Remodeling

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit @ StatSheet
2013 Stats
2014 Roster
2014 Schedule

Detroit Offense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 50.8 78
Turnover Rate 15.5 3
Off Reb Rate 31.8 162
FTA/FGA 35.8 180
Detroit Offense 13-14
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 43.4 330
Turnover Rate 16.8 96
Off Reb Rate 34.3 104
FTA/FGA 38.3 226

Detroit's offense last year ranked among the nation's top 25--the Titans had a trio of efficient senior scorers, plus Ray McCallum Jr., who led the way with 18.7 points per game. They were just average in a couple of the factors, but their success in the other two made them outstanding regardless. You know, gotta make shots, and all that.

The seniors, of course, are gone, and so is McCallum, who skipped his final year to head for the NBA Draft. That left Ray McCallum Sr. to build a team for 2014 around essentially four useful returnees, several of whom only played sparingly in 2013. Gone is the team that played with a short bench; the Titans are now relying on a pair of freshman guards and a pair of transfers, so McCallum still has to figure out the hand he's been dealt.

The stress of all the turnover is showing. The team is led in workload by Juwan Howard Jr. (yeah, the son of the former Fab Five member and NBA player), whose role has increased dramatically. The two transfers and one of the freshmen are next in line in the pecking order. Not a single one of them is shooting well.

Starters

Jarod Williams (6-2, 168) -- For a debut season at the college level, eh, not so bad. There's nothing much remarkable to see here--Williams is being deferential at the offensive end, taking just 16.5% of the shots while he's on the floor, but that has allowed him to post a 50.0 eFG%. His steal rate is good, and he's done a nice job getting to the line, where he's 25-of-28. He's also 6-of-15 from three.

Carlton Brundidge (6-3, 202) -- Brundidge spent his freshman year at Michigan, where he appeared in 15 games, but as happens with so many players in college hoops, he came to the dreaded Aw Crud I'm Never Gonna Start Realization and decided to make his exit. Only Howard is taking a higher proportion of the shots, and that's not going very well for the Titans. Brundidge is hitting 37.3% of his twos and 31.2% of his threes.

Juwan Howard Jr. (6-6, 210) -- Howard at least has some experience with high workloads; when he was a freshman at Western Michigan in 2010-11, he was a focal point in the offense. The trouble is that he's never shown any particular knack for scoring the ball (that's just for you guys) efficiently. He's a career 31.9% three-point shooter (including his 15-of-55 effort this season), and he's never made more than 43% of his twos in a single season. His low free throw rates suggest that he's more of a catch-and-shoot guy than dribble-drive scorer, which might help explain why his two-point percentages have been so poor.

Evan Bruinsma (6-8, 214) -- A significant portion of his value this year is in his ability to get to the line--his 76.2 FTR is a team-high, and he's made 51 of 61 free throw attempts. He has a history of being an above average free throw shooter, making that likely to hold up. He isn't bad scoring inside the arc, either, though he remains a secondary option. Good shot blocker and defensive rebounder.

Ugochukwu Njoku (6-10, 220) -- He isn't likely figure prominently in a lot of Detroit's offensive sets. He will grab a lot of his team's misses, which makes him a potential problem for the Wolfpack. Also, he's the sort who could end up blocking four or five shots at the defensive end. State's got to be aware of that.

Bench

Anton Wilson (6-5, 191), Matthew Grant (6-1, 165), Patrick Onwenu (6-8, 210), Jermaine Lippert (6-8, 230). Seventy-two of Wilson's 100 career FGAs have come from three. His free throw rate is laughably paltry--you know where he's gonna be. Grant's three-point accuracy isn't there yet, but by team standards, he's been pretty effective in general. He's got a good free throw rate while also keeping his turnovers down.

Onwenu seems to think he can be a secondary option offensively while his track record suggests otherwise (stop shooting threes, bub!).

Detroit Defense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 53.2 323
Turnover Rate 22.9 32
Off Reb Rate 31.2 141
FTA/FGA 35.6 163
Detroit Defense 13-14
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.8 187
Turnover Rate 18.2 178
Off Reb Rate 34.6 261
FTA/FGA 46.9 261

Well, I suppose if there is good news, it's that shot-altering artist Ugochukwu Njoku is getting more playing time this year. The 2013 club didn't have anybody in the regular rotation who could discourage opponents from getting the ball into the paint, and it shows.

In part they were unlucky last season--opponents shot 71.6% from the free throw line and 36.8% from three--but two-point field goal percentage (52.2) don't lie, son.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes State by 10.

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