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An Early Conference Check: State Looks Surprisingly Okay

John Gasaway has a look at in-conference efficiency margins here.  First thought: what's happened to the league's offenses?  Second thought: in terms of efficiency margin,  there is essentially no difference between the fifth place team (Virginia Tech, -0.1) and the 10th place team (NC State, -0.4).  It's far too early (see: UVa's efficiency margin) and the teams' respective schedules are far to disparate for any conclusions other than that Duke is going to run away with this thing.  But it is okay to be encouraged.  NC State's performance hasn't been anywhere near league-worst and in fact suggests they could be a surprise member of the middle-of-the-conference traffic jam. 

Derek Medlin wrote yesterday about the any-given-day nature of the league; both the eyes and the numbers confirm as much.  Ken Pomeroy's crystal ball sees six teams finishing between 7-9 and 9-7.  Close game fortunes could play a huge factor in who gets over the hump and into the NCAAs and who's left trying to feel good about making a run to Madison Square Garden.

Now, if we can just get this luck business to bounce back in the right direction, maybe we can get ourselves into the jumble.  We're only an ill-timed comment about officiating, a Chandler Parsons axe to the chest, and a Richard Howell pump fake away from a much different outlook.

A brief look at NC State offensive and defensive performance in ACC play:

NCSU Offense eFG% (rk) TO% (rk) OR% (rk) FTR (rk) 2FG% (rk) 3FG% (rk)
2009 53.1 (1) 22.3 (11) 31.8 (10) 35.4 (5) 51.0 (2) 38.7 (1)
2010 45.0 (8) 19.7 (6) 37.0 (7) 49.8 (1) 43.7 31.6 (6)

To give you an idea just how down ACC offenses are this season, NC State is averaging about 102 points per 100 possessions, which ranks fourth.  The Pack averaged 105 points per 100 possessions last season, good for seventh.

State is significantly better in every factor but the most important one; hopefully some of those improvements are real, because I think the shooting will come around.  I don't know about that turnover percentage holding up.  But there is a pretty good chance offensive rebounding remains a strength.  Between the Macrowave, Richard Howell, and Josh Davis, NC State has three guys who've proven to be serious threats on the offensive glass.  And as a league the ACC is not big on defensive rebounding.

NCSU Defense eFG% (rk) TO% (rk) OR% (rk) FTR (rk) 2FG% (rk) 3FG% (rk)
2009 51.6 (12) 17.1 (11) 35.7 (7) 31.3 (3) 50.9 (12) 35.7 (8)
2010 48.4 (11) 18.6 (5) 34.3 (5) 44.4 (10) 49.1 30.8 (7)


Some solid gains here as well, though interior defense remains a liability and we seem to have lost our no-foul mojo.  Actually, that's the wrong way to put it.  We've discovered caring.