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Wisconsin, eh

NC State and Wisconsin like it slooooooow (you'll need to scroll down a bit).

If I used the adjusted tempo numbers from the above link, this game (based on an average of 70 possessions per team per game) would have an expected pace of 57.5 possessions for each team.
Previous tournament games suggest that 57.5 should be about right. In Wisconsin's game against Bucknell--another team that loves the slow tempo--the Badgers and Bison had about 58 possessions each. In Wisconsin's first round game against another slow-paced team (Northern Iowa), there were only about 56 possessions for each team.

NC State's tempo numbers are basically the same as Wisconsin's previous opponents, so another sub-60 possession game is likely.

Up to this point, NC State has faced teams that prefer a faster pace and prefer to score the ball in ways much different than State. Not the case any longer. If you click on 'North Carolina State' on the above-linked Ken Pomeroy stats page, it'll activate Pomeroy's Basketball Shrink, which matches teams based on statistical similarity. Checking in at #9 on the list of teams most similar to NC State? Wisconsin, of course.

You can see from the Pomeroy link that Wisconsin is almost as good defensively as UConn. But whereas Connecticut's defense derives its value from blocked shots, I would guess that Wisconsin finds success through good on-the-ball defense (edit: and through rebounding. see below). Right about now I'm wishing I had taken more time to watch the Badgers on TV this season.

Stat comparisons:

Adjusted FG%

NC State: 53.3%
Wisconsin: 50.7%

O-Reb Rate

NC State: 33%
Wisconsin: 30.9%

Turnover Rate

NC State: 19.1%
Wisconsin: 18.1%


NC State: .391
Wisconsin: .384

Interestingly, Wisconsin's offensive rebound rate is poor, but it's defensive rebound rate (74.5%) is excellent--even better than UConn's. That's probably one of the secrets to their success on the defensive end.

Also noteworthy: Wisconsin is great at avoiding turnovers, but not very good at forcing them. Wisconsin opponents average a turnover rate of 19.3%; NC State opponents average a TO rate of 23.4%.

That may be somewhat associated with the style of play in the Big Ten--which is pretty slow-paced--versus that of the ACC. The ACC features some of the fastest teams in the nation, and they tend to be turnover-prone.

Wisconsin has a nice advantage in free throw attempts over its opponents, but as you can see above, they aren't any better at getting to the line than NC State.