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Stark contrast.

If you are one who enjoys ACC basketball, you undoubtedly saw Maryland defeat Duke 99-92 in overtime, and you probably also saw NC State defeat Georgia Tech 53-51.

The former featured 84 possessions for each team, the latter 61. Both games were close throughout, and neither contest featured particularly good shooting, but Duke and Maryland were considerably more efficient than NC State and Georgia Tech.

The difference was three point shooting. Duke and Maryland were 15-38 (.395), State and Tech were 7-34 (.206).

Georgia Tech made just a single three-pointer against NC State (one of the Jackets' numerous misses included the last shot of the game), and the Jackets' adjusted field goal percentage for the game was 40.2% (clank!). NC State managed a serviceable 47.7%.

Whereas the pace of games like Duke/Maryland makes them fun to watch despite mediocre shooting, the same certainly can't be said about games like NCSU/GT.

Fifty-three to 51? What is this, the Big Ten? Yeesh. Are we sure we didn't see Northwestern and Purdue going at it?

Georgia Tech managed an offensive efficiency rating of 83.6, which has got to be close to (if not) their worst offensive performance of the season. I'm not at all surprised that NC State's offensive efficiency was poor, because Georgia Tech is one of the best defensive teams in the conference, but it is surprising to see the Jackets struggle so much offensively.

It's not supposed to be like this for Georgia Tech. BJ Elder is back. They're supposed to start looking like a top-20 team again. What is it about NC State that the Jackets can't seem to handle? The Yellow Jackets are every bit as perplexing to me as the Terps. But while it looks pretty certain that Maryland will make the NCAAs, I think Georgia Tech still has a lot of work to do.

For NC State, if they're going to make a miracle run through the second half of the ACC schedule, this is a good start. The Pack absolutely must play better at home, and there's no better opportunity to do so than this Wednesday against Maryland. Beating the Terps would be huge for RPI purposes, as Maryland is in the RPI top-25.