|Four Factors||NC State||
|Off Reb Rate||27.0||42.6|
State began the game on a 1-11 shooting streak and Tracy Smith attempted just two field goals in the first half while Tennessee Tech committed to a zone defense, but the Golden Eagles weren't able to contain the Pack's freshmen no matter how many shots to the crotch they offered, and the sluggish first half mattered not at all.
The shooting wasn't there tonight, as NC State connected on 47.4% of its twos and 27.8% of its threes, but they took good care of the ball and took advantage of Tech's hack-a-player defense. Those factors carried the Pack past a bad but hard-working Tennessee Tech team.
-- Ryan Harrow's defense needs a lot of work, there is no question about that. He'll make a great play at the offensive end and promptly get lost defensively and start the chain reaction that leads to a good look for the other team; he'll then follow that mistake with a fine play in transition. That makes for quite a bit of excitement. He had the highlight of the night, faking a behind-the-back pass to a trailer in a fast break situation and keeping it for an easy lay in. He forced things at times and his side disadvantage was apparent on occasion; but again, he's good times.
-- There is something about a transition to a young backcourt that automatically makes the upperclassman of the group--Javi--a calming presence. Funny the way that works. Javi didn't have much of an impact on the score--he hit just one of four field goal attempts--but he did not commit a turnover. As the year progresses, I think we're really going to appreciate what he brings to the game at the two. He seems well-suited for that role.
-- CJ Leslie was the Exclamation Point, as I expect he'll be on a number of occasions this season. Already I'm searching for synonyms for 'fun' because I'm overusing that word as it is but there's no two ways about it: fun fun fun. His athleticism is thrilling.
-- Lorenzo Brown scored a quiet and efficient 14 points, which is by no means a bad thing. I worry that the young guys will too often shoot themselves in the foot by playing out of control, but I haven't seen too much of that yet, and Brown seems the least of my worries there. Love the restraint he showed tonight.
-- Defensive rebounding remains optional, apparently, and this is very disappointing. I would explain it away as an unfortunate byproduct of early-season acclimation, but this is far from a new trend. Tennessee Tech crashed the boards and found a lot of success. Too many times one of their players had an unchecked shot at boarding a missed shot, and that is simply not acceptable at any point in the season. The Eagles haven't been a good offensive rebounding team recently, though they may prove a decent one this year. Who knows. It doesn't matter. It's Tennessee Tech. They outhustled us on the regular, and that's unfortunate.
I just do not understand why this is so difficult. If you're Sid Lowe, defensive rebounding is the key to what you want to do in so many ways. For one, it limits the points scored by the opponent which increases your win probability and the probability that you keep your job (duhs all around). For two, it starts the primary- and secondary-break action that you want to see this year. And it cannot be that hard to teach. It just can't. This is day one, fundamental stuff. Find man, put person on man.
This team's ceiling is largely comprised of defensive boards, which has been the case for a number of years now. The margins don't matter against Tennessee Tech because Tennessee Tech is bullshit. The ACC ain't no bullshit. Do the little things and maximize! or the sadness threatens to creep in as per usual.
Damn, those last few paragraphs were real downers. Sorry.