NC State Vs. Tennessee Preview: Please, Please Box Out

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Tennessee Offense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 47.9 206
Turnover Rate 20.1 184
Off Reb Rate 36.5 38
FTA/FGA 42.2 31
Tennessee Offense 13-14
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.4 167
Turnover Rate 14.3 15
Off Reb Rate 43.0 4
FTA/FGA 49.9 47

NC State is in Knoxville Wednesday to road test number two, and let's all hope this one goes a bit better. Tennessee profiles somewhat similarly to Cincinnati, at least in the sense that the Vols and Bearcats both take care of the ball and grab a lot of offensive boards to help them overcome some mediocre shooting.

NC State got killed on the glass by that Cincy team (pre-Vandenberg, though); the Bearcats ended up avearging 1.1 points per trip despite a poor shooting night. If the Wolfpack can't limit Tennessee to an offensive rebounding percentage well below the Vols' season average, we're gonna be in a whole lot of trouble. That one aspect of the game could easily prove the difference between a comfortable UT win and a close game.

Our odds off pulling off a win are slim enough--if Tennessee is grabbing 45% of its misses or some similarly absurd proportion, forget about it.

I'm not real optimistic on that front, but I am always open to being pleasantly surprised. Feel free to pleasantly surprise me, basketball team. I know you got it in ya, and I feel like I'm due.

Starters

Antonio Barton (6-2, 180) -- Barton is a selective shooter and seems to be just fine serving in a secondary scoring role, as he has throughout his career. That does pay dividends--he's never shot below 40% from three in a single season; he's also sporting a career-low turnover rate this season.

Jordan McRae (6-6, 185) -- He ain't shy, that's for sure. When he's on the floor, he's taking 31.4% of the shots, and fortunately for the Vols, that's working out just fine. He has a 52.8 effective field goal percentage despite all of the stress on his game. He's proven to be a competent three-point shooter during his career but probably isn't a guy you have to worry about knocking down six threes against you or-- y'know, I'm gonna halt this jinx parade right here.

His accuracy on twos has improved every year, and he's got both a good free throw rate and a good free throw shooting percentage.

Josh Richardson (6-6, 196) -- Richardson's low workload figures to keep him having a notable night in the scoring department, but he'll have an impact in other ways. His block rate, for one thing, is good.

Jeronne Maymon (6-8, 260) -- This is where NC State's rebounding problem begins. Maymon ranks 38th in offensive rebounding percentage and he's solid at the other end as well. This is hardly anything new--guy's been a great rebounder throughout his career. He's also hitting 52.5% of his twos and getting to the line a bunch.

Jarnell Stokes (6-8, 260) -- Stokes is an even better all-around rebounder than Maymon. Yeah, this is troublesome. Most troublesome indeed. He's the No. 2 scoring option behind McRae, and he's proven to be an efficient scorer in the paint throughout his career.

Bench

Darius Thompson (6-5, 181), Robert Hubbs III (6-6, 206), A.J. Davis (6-9, 212), Armani Moore (6-5, 215). The good news is that while the Vols have a starting lineup laden with veterans, they're relying on a lot of young guys to spell them. Thompson, Hubbs, and Davis are freshmen, and Moore is a sophomore. With the exception of Hubbs, who is Better Take Advantage Of My Time On The Floor And Shoot guy, they figure to play secondary roles in the offense.

Hubbs should probably pump the brakes, what with his 37.1 eFG%, but I'm not gonna be the one to tell him that today. Bombs away, good sir! Bombs away. Thompson has a fantastic steal rate, and his block rate isn't bad either. Bodes well for his future as a defender. He also has the best assist rate on the team.

Tennessee Defense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 46.2 77
Turnover Rate 17.4 299
Off Reb Rate 28.8 60
FTA/FGA 34.4 134
Tennessee Defense 13-14
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.5 178
Turnover Rate 18.7 162
Off Reb Rate 29.4 91
FTA/FGA 39.3 151

The potent offensive rebounding a relatively new development, but Martin has always been able to build teams that rebound effectively at the defensive end, dating back to his Missouri State days. Perhaps there is some parallel universe where NC State hired Martin rather than Mark Gottfried, a universe in which we are all happy and rich and our basketball team knows how to properly box out. Man, really jealous of parallel universe me right now. Imagine getting through a defensive possession without simultaneously feeling the need to stab something and pull out your hair.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes Tennessee by nine.

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