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NC State 69, Villanova 68

Box Score

NC StateFour Factors
eFG%61.6Turnover Rate32.5Off Reb Rate30.8FTM/FGA37.2Villanova
Four Factors
eFG%44.1Turnover Rate16.2Off Reb Rate47.7FTM/FGA11.8

 Pts Poss Off_Eff Def_Eff
Nova 68 67.7 100.4 101.9
NCSU 69 67.7 101.9 100.4

-- I've talked about shot attempt differential before--the number of additional shots, with free throws factored in, that a team gets per 100 possessions. We were the worst team in the ACC in this category a year ago, and it's an area in which we really need to improve in order to take the step forward we're all hoping for in 2008. Conference foes had nearly 10 more shot attempts per game than did the Pack last season, and that's a big disadvantage. So far this year, so bad: -21.8 shots per 100 possessions, or -14.2 per game. All three teams we played in Orlando took 20+ more shots from the field than we did, though we did at least have a large FTA advantage against Rider.

At this point I don't think we can reasonably expect this team to start forcing more turnovers, but we can and should get better on the defensive glass. That should be a large part of our focus between now and the start of conference play.

Our on-ball defense has been stellar--opponents have a 39.5% effective field goal percentage, which ranks us ninth nationally. If we can just start cleaning up those misses, we'll do ourselves a huge favor. As it is, we rank 15th in defensive efficiency, which is excellent. According to Ken Pomeroy, the collection of offenses we've seen through five games is the 13th toughest in the country.

-- Our shooting has carried us through these first five games, just as it did all of last season. The only way to win games when you're so far behind in the TO/Reb factors is to shoot significantly better than the other team, and we've done that in every game this season. Despite 92 more field goal attempts, opponents have only made three more baskets than we have. We have not surprisingly sustained our success from inside the arc:

 2007 2008
2FG% 55.5 54.9
3FG% 35.7 32.9

-- This tournament was a great experience for us. We got a chance to play two major-conference teams in November--one of which is definitely of NCAA tournament caliber--which is always a bonus, we played in close games, we saw some very good guards and an excellent front court player. We saw a variety of defensive looks, including a well-executed 1-2-2 press, which can only help down the road. Oh, and we won the damn thing; that doesn't hurt, either.

-- We're sitting at #32 in the RPI with a schedule that ranks 41st, so we're in pretty good shape despite the UNO loss. According to the Pomeroy Ratings, we've played like a bubble team so far, and I think that's about right.