NC State vs. UNCG preview: Brick fatigue plagues the triad

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

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UNCG Offense 13-14
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 47.9 233
Turnover Rate 20.9 283
Off Reb Rate 28.1 270
FTA/FGA 38.6 209

A win over Missouri on Saturday effectively would have erased the blemish that was the NC Central game; instead, State is heading to Greensboro with a smidge of added pressure. There is absolutely no breathing room at this point, and while the Pack should handle a 7-7 Spartans team that's played three non-D-I schools, there is also reason to be wary: Greensboro was surprisingly competitive on the road against Wake and beat Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Saturday.

Sure, it's Wake and Virginia Tech, but those teams ain't so far back in the rearview mirror that we should consider State significant tiers above them. Then again, UNCG lost by 21 points at home to Presbyterian, which ranks 340th in the Pomeroy Ratings. Sports don't make sense.

I'm not sure we've seen an acute case of Chronic Brick Fatigue Syndrome quite like this all season. The Spartans are missing a lot of shots inside the arc and they're grabbing few of those misses. I have studied this blight for years now, and although few concrete conclusions can be drawn about the sort of atmosphere that leads to this form of sad-sack lolligaggery, I believe I've conclusively found that the effects of CBFS are exponential: in game one, a miss might lead to one failed offensive rebounding opportunity. By game 10, a miss leads to three, and so on.

Starters

Drew Parker (6-1, 178) -- Drew Parker has started all 14 games for UNCG this year, logging a total of 301 minutes in the process. He's taken 24 shots. That's three shots per 40 minutes of playing time. It's a workload so low that I triple-checked it. He's got a weird profile in one sense ... he's been a terrible shooter inside and out for the vast majority of his career, but then there's 2012, when he hit 40 of 84 three-point attempts. He was 22-of-77 from three last year. Sports are dumb.

Tyrone Outlaw (6-6, 205) -- Best steal rate among the regulars; best turnover rate, too. He's holding his own scoring inside the arc, where he's hit half his shots, but he should maybe take it easy on the threes.

Nicholas Paulos (6-7, 185) -- Paulos has attempted 102 threes this year and just 17 twos. True to triple-specialist form, his turnover and free throw rates are low. Unfortunately, he's proven to be an above-average shooter--he hit 40.6% of his threes last year, and he's hitting 36.6% this season.

Kayel Locke (6-5, 240) -- Good offensive rebounder who is adept at getting to the line. He's only an occasional three-point shooter, and his accuracy inside the arc still needs work. There are some encouraging indicators, signs that point to some valuable years ahead. He's a reasonably efficient high-workload guy; he just hasn't put together all the pieces yet.

Kyle Cain (6-7, 210) -- Cain spent two seasons at Arizona State before moving on to Greensboro, where he's become the offensive leader. That's by no means a bad thing for the Spartans, who don't have anybody with an above-average workload scoring as efficiently as he is. Cain doesn't shoot much from deep, but he also has a low free throw rate, which is confusing.

Bench

RJ White (6-8, 280), Tevon Saddler (6-4, 207), Jordan Potts (5-11, 170), Diante Baldwin (6-0, 181). Saddler, the Spartans' second-leading scorer, missed their last game because of an injury. I'm guessing that he won't be available against State, but I haven't been able to find anything definitive. If he can't play, that's not necessarily bad news for UNCG considering his lackluster shooting and high turnover rate.

Potts is off to a 19-of-34 start from three-point range, and White has been excellent at both ends rebounding the ball.

UNCG Defense 13-14
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 52.6 263
Turnover Rate 16.7 268
Off Reb Rate 28.4 57
FTA/FGA 46.9 271

With all of those flaws elsewhere, the Spartans have got to hope they can take care of the defensive boards. Without that lifeline--which might prove moot anyhow--it's difficult to imagine a scenario in which they're able to keep up.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes State by 10.

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