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From Tiers To Tears

NCSU 92, Wake 82

After three straight games of excellent shooting, the bricks were bound to show up at some point. Fortunately, NC State was able to limit its poor shooting to a single half.

1st Half eFG%

Wake: 50%
NCSU: 43.3%

2nd Half eFG%

Wake: 38.2%
NCSU: 60.4%

There are few interesting things to note in the aftermath of today's game. NC State has scored 80+ points in all three of its home ACC contests; State went for 80+ in just one home conference game last season (Maryland). State has posted an OFF EFF over 120 in all three home conference games, which it only did once last season (versus Maryland, not surprisingly).

What raised my eyebrow about today's game specifically was the pace: 76 possessions. Further evidence that the Wolfpack is looking to push tempo more often than it has in the past. State didn't play a conference game at anywhere near this pace in 2005, and the two regular season games against Wake were particularly slow (the game in Raleigh featured 59 possessions).

The pace of the game today illustrates our inclination to run, but it also illustrates how the relative talent levels of State and Wake have shifted between 2005 and 2006. We wanted to limit the possessions in each game against the more talented Deacs last year. Today, State's coaching staff knew we had the edge and wanted to afford the Pack as many opportunities as it could to separate itself from Wake Forest. That's my theory, anyway.

Average Tempo of NCSU Conference Games

2005: 63.5 possessions
2006: 68.4 possessions

Getting back to this afternoon's events...

We continue to do a poor job of forcing turnovers, even against the more mistake-prone teams in the conference. An NC State opponent has note had a turnover rate above 20% since North Carolina. That's not good.

Cedric Simmons, who is the Wolfpack's best rebounder, was limited to 14 minutes, and Wake took advantage by crushing us on the boards. Wake Forest's OR% was 47.8%, and the Deacs limited State to an offensive rebounding percentage of 20.6%. Four NC State players logged 30+ minutes--three of them guards--and the best rebounder of the four is Evtimov, but his season Reb% is a very modest 7.6%. Simmons had three of the Pack's seven offensive boards.

Opponents continue to shoot well at the free throw line against NC State. For the season (including today), Wolfpack opponents have made 71.3% of their free throws. The Deacs came in with a 65.6% free throw percentage and hit 76% today.

NC State was better still, and free throws were a huge part of the second half. In fact, both teams made the same number of two- and three-point field goals in the second half. But State made 23 free throws, while Wake only made eight.