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Let's steal their defense!

Box Score

NC StateFour FactorsPercenteFG49.0Turnover Rate27.9Off Reb Rate37.0FTM/FGA27.1West VirginiaFour FactorsPercenteFG50.0Turnover Rate11.5Off Reb Rate35.6FTM/FGA16.4












-- The game had 61 possessions, making it the second-slowest game we've played this season. I doubt our guys had an issue with this since four of them played the full forty. After posting an eFG% of 44.6 in the first half, West Virginia came back in the second to shoot 54.5%. We were just as good in the second half (56%), but most of our production came from two pointers (11 of 13 second half field goals were twos) while most of West Virginia's came from threes (8 of 14 second half field goals were threes).

-- Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. In the preview, I talked about how good the Mountaineers are at forcing them, but I was optimistic that we could limit our giveaways. Alas, the combined pressures of the environment, fatigue, and that unusual zone defense of theirs proved too much. West Virginia had ten extra possessions to work with and ended the game with 13 more field goal attempts than the Pack.

-- Speaking of WVU's zone defense, I think it would absolutely be in our best interests this season to look at what they're running and try to copy it. Here's the cool thing about it: they force a lot of turnovers without putting opponents on the free throw line. Take a look at their numbers from 2006: their defense was number one in the country in FTA/FGA (i.e., their opponents had the lowest ratio of free throw attempts to field goal attempts), 26th in turnover percentage. We're laying off so much for fear of foul trouble that we don't put anyone on the line (we're 5th nationally in the FTA/FGA category), but we don't force turnovers, either (we're 320th! in TO%).

WVU's zone seems to give the Mountaineers the benefit of an aggressive D (TOs) without the cost (foul trouble, FTAs for the other team). That's brilliant. And needless to say, it'd be invaluable to us. More turnovers would mean we wouldn't have to rely as heavily on our weak defensive rebounding to get stops.

-- NC State was, once again, very good from inside the arc: 19-32 (59.4%). We are 5th in the nation in 2FG%. Now, if we can improve on our atrocious outside shooting... By the way, how weird is it to be so bad from behind the arc? I can't remember the last time we had to worry about a lack of three-point shooters. Get well soon, Engin. For the love of god, get well soon.

-- Grant's usage was over 30%, and this was his least-efficient performance to date. His individual turnover percentage was a Paulus-esque 45.5%. The game saw Courtney Fells take on his largest workload of the season: 23.0% of State's possessions and 27.1% of the shots.