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Miami Vs. NC State Preview: Pray For Mojo

How will NC State fare without Lorenzo Brown? Well, you see, the thing with that is...

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Miami Offense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.7 144
Turnover Rate 17.4 26
Off Reb Rate 32.4 167
FTA/FGA 33.3 249

Miami Offense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 51.2 71
Turnover Rate 16.7 16
Off Reb Rate 28.8 267
FTA/FGA 36.0 160

Miami @ StatSheet
2012 Stats (pdf)
2013 Stats (pdf)
2013 Roster
2013 Schedule

Miami's winning streak in league play is going to have to end Saturday for NC State to stay in the hunt for the ACC regular season title, and it looks like the Pack is going to have to win without Lorenzo Brown. This presents a number of challenges at both ends of the floor, obviously. Miami rarely turns the ball over, NC State is bad at forcing turnovers even with Brown, and Brown has State's best steal rate by far.

Tyler Lewis will be on the floor a lot more, and there is no Jontel Evans to hide him behind, so to speak, this time. If his task is Shane Larkin, then that is a huge mismatch in the Hurricanes' favor. I mean, Lewis has had problems staying in front of guards on the mid-majors we've played this season. We'll just have to grit our teeth through those possessions.

The Hurricanes have been very 3FGA-inclined in league play, and they boast the top effective field goal percentage in conference games as well as the third-lowest turnover rate. On the plus side, they aren't rebounding well offensively and this is an aspect of the game that NC State must win.

Some other good news--Miami is just seven deep. So this ain't gonna be some Johnny Dawkins parade of humanity situation, which would be about the worst thing imaginable for a thin team down its point guard. Larkin went the full 40 against Virginia Tech on Wednesday, and Scott logged 37 minutes. I wouldn't expect them to leave the court often on Saturday either.


Shane Larkin (5-11, 176) -- Larkin is, as the kids say, a problem. He improved considerably from last year to this one--so much so that people are wondering aloud seriously if he's the best point guard in the league (he isn't--yet). Larkin is hitting 41% of his threes and 50% of his twos despite increasing his workload, so it's easy enough to see why the hype is building. Weird thing about that 2FG%, though. His free throw rate is really low, which suggests he isn't getting to the rim all that often. So is his two-point shooting a fluke? Is he settling for jumpers and just shooting an unusually high percentage on them? Based on this data, that does not appear to be the case.

Durand Scott (6-5, 203) -- Scott is about the same as he ever was--solid scorer inside the arc, decent three-point shooter. He is shooting the three more often this year, though; he already has 52 3FGAs, and he's never had more than 69 in a single season.

Trey McKinney Jones (6-5, 220) -- Not a high-usage guy, but a dangerous three-point shooter for sure. He'll probably do most of his damage via the jumper, from both two and three. His free throw shooting and turnover rate have improved a lot this year.

Kenny Kadji (6-11, 242) -- Kadji is a tall person who is effective scoring inside and out, which makes him really tough. He got off to a slow start from three-point range this season, but he's been more accurate of late, and he hit 41.8% of his threes last year. Given that he's taken 130+ threes in 1.5 seasons at Miami, it's kinda odd that 127 of his 128 FGAs while at Florida were two-pointers. Billy Donovan must not have had Kadji in his trust tree.

Julian Gamble (6-10, 250) -- Hit 60.4% of his twos last year and he's hitting 54.3% this year. He also shot 42.9% at the free throw line last year, and he's at 43.2% so far this year. So the lesson here is to always foul rather than give up a bunny. Fortunately we have all sorts of depth to facilitate this strategy. Gamble has been a good offensive rebounder throughout his career, and he is an excellent shot botherer.


Reggie Johnson (6-10, 292), Rion Brown (6-6, 200), Tonye Jekiri (7-0, 227). I thought Johnson might be due for a huge season, but he once again got derailed by injury. And he is in the midst of the worst season of his career from a scoring percentage, as he's making less than 40% of his two-point attempts. But he remains an outstanding rebounder at both ends and he is still quite rotund.

Coming into the season, Brown was a career 37.6% three-point shooter. This year he is 16-69 (23.2%). Guess which opponent is going to help him break out of that extended slump!

Jekiri could spell one of the other bigs for a few minutes but likely won't do anything other than stand around bein' tall.

Miami Defense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 47.8 119
Turnover Rate 20.0 181
Off Reb Rate 32.7 201
FTA/FGA 33.0 94

Miami Defense 12-13
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 42.6 11
Turnover Rate 19.5 227
Off Reb Rate 28.7 56
FTA/FGA 26.8 22

This is the best defense that Jim Larranaga has probably ever had, and it's also the ACC's best defense--by a wide margin--in conference play. In league games, the Hurricanes' defense ranks first in eFG%, defensive rebounding percentage, and 2FG%. They've also been fortunate enough to have opponents shoot just 30% from beyond the arc and 60.9% at the free throw line. Helps to be lucky, too.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes Miami by one. Adjust as you will for the absence of Lorenzo Brown.