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Hittin' the boards

On Saturday we get our first look at the basketball team in action, and I have to admit that I'm getting excited about the Wolfpack's potential.

Cedric Simmons and Andrew Brackman bulked up during the off-season, which hopefully means we'll see the team improve on its biggest weakness: rebounding.

NC State's rankings among ACC teams in the Four Factors:

Wolfpack 2004-2005Four FactorsPercentACC Rank
Adj FG%53.23rdTurnover Rate18.71stFTA/FGA38.75thOff Reb Rate32.29th

Grabbing just 32.2% of available offensive rebounds in '04-'05, NCSU ranked 9th out of 11 ACC teams.* Julius Hodge was the Wolfpack's most proficient rebounder, averaging about 7.7 rebounds per 40 minutes. Every other ACC team except Florida State had at least one regular contributor (i.e., a player who logged at least 40% of his team's minutes) who averaged 10+ rebounds per 40 minutes.

Simmons and Brackman had numbers similar to Hodge's, but they didn't play enough to become big factors on the glass. This season, they'll improve our ability to rebound simply by being on the court more often, and they can also help us by improving their rebs/40 min rates. That's where the added muscle comes in.

Don't expect dramatic improvement, but do expect this to be the best rebounding team since the last year of the Thornton/Inge/Kelley era (2000-2001). And that's without considering the contributions of Ben McCauley and Brandon Costner.

[*-- If you want perspective on how that OReb Rate stacks up nationally, see here.]