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Tony Jasick got a raise when he left IPFW and took the Jacksonville head coaching job during the offeseason, which is good because that move assured him a lot of new problems. At least he can increase his ibuprofen budget.
The Dolphins returned only half a dozen guys from the team that finished 12-18 in 2014, and none of them were starters. Graduation hit t he program hard, as did transfers--most notably, the departure of leading scorer Jarvis Haywood, who is now at UNC-Wilmington. (Haywood was at one time a potential NC State target, you may remember.)
Jasick had to dig deep into the junior college ranks to fill out his roster. The early struggles from this team--the Dolphins lost by 33 to Hofstra and by nine to Jackson State--were inevitable. As a program, they weren't coming from a good place to begin with, and Jasick had to hastily assemble a foundation of guys who hadn't played at the D-I level before.
Understandably, Jacksonville doesn't seem to have any clue what it wants to be when it grows up. Six players are taking between 24 and 28 percent of the shots while they're on the floor, and that's not exactly ideal. You can't all be the leading scorer, fellas! Goes to show how much Jasick and has staff must sort out before hitting league play.
In three games this season, one of them against a small college and/or regional bank called Florida National, the Dolphins have failed to crack a point per possession. Their two-point shooting has been dreadful; they've also turned it over a bunch and had trouble generating second-chance opportunities. On the bright side, Jacksonville did shoot a combined 39% from thee against Hofstra and Jackson State.
BJ Edwards (6-0, 165) -- Jacksonville might have some dudes who've been overly eager to shoot the ball, but Edwards isn't one of them. The freshman is taking the cautious route early in his career and should not be a major factor in the scoring on Thursday. He has five turnovers and two made baskets this season.
Andris Misters (6-5, 200) -- Mr. Misters is learning to fly again, learning to live so free after some time in the junior college ranks. He is leading the team in scoring at 15 per game and doing so efficiently: he's 4-of-8 inside the arc and 4-of-10 beyond it. No idea if either of those figures should or will hold up.
Kori Babineaux (6-4, 205) -- Babineaux's career has taken him from coast to coast, from Drake to San Francisco Community College, and now Jacksonville. While his assist rate has been good in his brief D-I career, there is little to suggest he can score efficiently at this level as a primary contributor.
Marcel White (6-6, 220) -- Hot dang, it's a player who was on this team last year! White was one of just a few rotation members to post a 50+ eFG% in 2014, thanks to his 48.6% shooting from two and 37% shooting from three.
Tim Gill (6-7, 240) -- Gill and Babineaux are first and second on the team in free throw attempts ... they are shooting a combined 40.5% from the stripe. No wonder the team is barely above 50%. Based on the early returns, Gill won't be taking over too many offensive possessions, and he's been foul-prone. Good offensive rebounding rate, though.
Marcellous Bell (5-11, 170), Shea Jones (6-1, 175), Josh Murray (6-9, 220), J.R. Holder (6-7, 180), Josh Adeyeye (6-5, 220). Adeyeye is what amounts to a super-sub on this team, as he's giving Jacksonville about 11 PPG off the bench. He has made one two-pointer all year but is 10-of-19 from three-point range.
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Jacksonville was hurt by its lack of size in 2014, and this is not a problem that's been rectified. Dolphins opponents made 54.3% of their twos last season, and worse for Jacksonville, grabbed a good chunk of the shots they did miss.
That interior defense hasn't been any better this season. Also, its two D-I opponents shot 85.7% at the free throw line, which really just feels like an unnecessary touch from the basketball gods.
Jacksonville shouldn't be disruptive from the standpoint of steals or blocked shots, so conditions are favorable for a bounce-back performance from NC State's offense.
The Pomeroy Predictor likes State by 23.