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NC State No. 3 In Luke Winn's Preseason Power Rankings

Peter Casey-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn has a better grasp on statistical analysis than just about anyone covering college basketball. He has given NC State an initial preseason ranking of No. 3. I am terrified. No I'm not. I can't even do this. We're going to be really good. Will there be balance? Well, that's a different question.

When I think about the year ahead, I envision an offense that is among the nation's best, but I expect a middling defense that will feel like a terrifying liability at times. That's the fun way of winning, you guys! Fireworks and occasional stops. Don't let anybody suggest otherwise. (You are free to suggest otherwise.)

And it will be interesting to track Scott Wood's development, as Winn notes. Can Wood manufacture more points off the dribble? Those Synergy Sports figures suggest a lot of work ahead, and any improvement in Wood's free throw rate should be considered pure bonus. But he might not ever be in a better position to improve in that area with the cast around him this year. Opponents are going to have to focus primarily on Zo Brown and Calvin Leslie, which presents all sorts of opportunities for Wood. And Tyler Lewis has eyes in the back of his own head, which doesn't hurt either.