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Kansas. Florida. Villanova. UConn. And, oh yeah, North Carolina. That's a tough field for NC State to wade through, but those teams are all irrelevant if the Wolfpack can't get past UNC-Charlotte.

To be perfectly honest, Charlotte scares the crap out of me. It looks like the Pack and the Niners have similar numbers...

Charlotte OFF EFF: 108.5
NC State OFF EFF: 110.9

Charlotte DEF EFF: 98.6
NC State DEF EFF: 99.9

Charlotte TEMPO: 71.3
NC State TEMPO: 66.7

Charlotte likes a fast pace, but NC State will dictate its tempo just as it has all season. The Pack played just a single "up tempo" (i.e., above the conference average 0f 70 possessions per team per game) during its conference slate--at home versus Georgia Tech. That slate includes two games against Maryland and UNC, two teams that rank among the ten fastest-paced teams in the country (check it). So NC State shouldn't have any difficulties keeping this game where it likes it--around 64-67 possessions per team.

Adjusted Field Goal Percentage

Charlotte: 49.9%
NC State: 53.6%

Offensive Rebound Rate (ORebs / [ORebs + Opp DRebs])

Charlotte: 37.0%
NC State: 33.3%

Turnover Rate (turnovers/possessions)

Charlotte: 18.7%
NC State: 19.0%


Charlotte: .419
NC State: .393

The Niners aren't a particularly good shooting team, though they are exceptional at hanging on to the ball (having a lower Turnover Rate than NCSU despite the faster pace of their games is impressive). Charlotte has slight advantages in every category except AdjFG%.

Judging by the differential between the number of free throws Charlotte has attempted and the number of free throws its opponents have attempted (716-477), Charlotte is a pretty physical and aggressive team. If they don't shoot well against NC State, it'll be important for them to get to the line.

Charlotte players to watch include Curtis Withers, Eddie Basden and Brendan Plavich. Plavich is a 3-point shooter almost exclusively. Of 320 field goal attempts, 284 have been 3-point attempts. That's a little over 10 3-point attempts per game...if he's on (and I have a disgusting feeling that he will be) he's liable to score a bunch. Both Withers and Basden are averaging over 8 rebounds per game...State will have to keep those guys from giving Charlotte easy second chance points.

The 49ers will go 8-deep, although they've got four guys averaging over 30 minutes per game. NC State has spread its minutes around more over the course of the season, but during the ACC tournament Herb Sendek gave Ilian Evtimov, Engin Atsur and Julius Hodge well over 30 minutes per. Sendek will tighten his rotation when necessary; of course, pending the health of Jordan Collins and Tony Bethel, the rotation may tighten itself.