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A few loosely-related items

-- From the Boston Globe comes yet another article about Marcus Stone

-- Believe it or not, there are media members who think NC State has a legitimate shot at a bowl berth. Fox Sports projects the Wolfpack to play in the Music City Bowl against Northwestern. Please let this happen. I have forgotten what a bad defense looks like (Not that we'd make them look bad). ESPN's Pat Forde has us in the MPC Computers Bowl against Boise State. Oooh, a shot at a Gang of Six (we're still rolling with this, right?) team. I can't wait to be dazzled. (HT: Paul Westerdawg)

-- The defensive adjustments NC State made prior to the Florida State game have garnered some attention:
Mixing in zone defenses and a three-man rush went against N.C. State coach Chuck Amato's strongest inclinations, but he did it anyway against Florida State.

I wasn't a big fan of the three-man rush, but I can't argue with the results. We stuck to it on Florida State's final drive and it paid off with both a sack and an interception. Mixing in a little more zone to go with our usual man-to-man is definitely a good thing.

-- Look what's not there anymore: Poof

-- Congrats to John Deraney for being named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award. (HT: Pack Pride)

-- Elsewhere, a banged-up Sam Hollenbach will start at QB for Maryland against UNC this weekend. I'm rooting for the Heels. I think. Maybe just for the first quarter.

-- Switching to hoops: In this Ken Pomeroy post about Memphis forward Joey Dorsey, among the statistical categories Pomeroy touches on is blocks/40 minutes. He lists the eight best freshmen shot-blockers in the country from last season, and my first thought was--after "Shawn James must play against a bunch of midgets"--shouldn't Cedric Simmons be on the list? In fact, the only thing that kept him off the list was a lack of playing time: Ced logged 309 minutes last year, falling well short of KenPom's minutes-played criterion. Cedric Simmons averaged 4.5 blocks/40 minutes. He had more blocked shots (35) than defensive rebounds (34).

-- Anxious for some insight into Iowa, NC State's Big Ten Challenge opponent? Of course you are. Have a look at Big Ten Wonk's Iowa preview, and while you're at it, spend some time perusing Hawkeye Hoops

-- Also worth checking out are a couple of posts by Knickerblogger at Courtside Times: What can stats do for you? (Part I) and What can stats do for you? (Part II). They are NBA-centric, but if you're still not sure about possession- and per-minute-based stats, the posts are well worth your time.