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Deacs, Round Two

The first meeting, way back in mid-December, was an unfortunate sign of things to come for the NC State offense.  Most notably, the Pack hit just 36.6% of their twos and shot sub-40% for the game.  Wake Forest wasn't a whole lot better, and State got as close as four with about 15 minutes to go before bricking the night away. 

Wake's strong interior defense that night was no fluke; as it stands now, only Maryland (?) has forced opponents to miss more twos.  That's a big deal in a conference full of teams that aren't much interested in shooting threes and anyhow don't have many perimeter threats.  Dino Gaudio's pack line is great for clogging the middle, and the Deacs have more than enough height to do so effectively.  As usual, the Macrowave will be surrounded, silently pleading for a guard to step up and hit some shots from outside. 

Offensively, Wake has declined in raw terms from last season to this one, which is hardly surprising given the weapons they've lost.  Still, by conference standards, the 1.02 pts/poss they're averaging is pretty good--that makes theirs the ACC's third best offense.  They're a two-headed monster these days, with Al-Farouq Aminu and Ishmael Smith accounting for about half of the team's shots when they're on the floor.  The other guys shoot in varying degrees of infrequency.

Aminu is as freakishly athletic as ever but not particularly accurate and still prone to acts of astounding stupidity.  A career 24.4% (22-90) shooter from outside, he remains in denial with regard to his perimeter game.  He'd do Wake Forest a big favor by cutting those attempts out of the repertoire.

Ish Smith's big workload is a bit of a surprise, but somebody had to step into the void.  He's made strides--his assist and turnover rates have never been better--but hasn't shot effectively inside or out in conference play.  He is outstanding at creating opportunities for his teammates and thus makes this offense go, but from a scoring standpoint, he's the same as he ever was.