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NC State basketball projected to finish 8th in ACC by Sports Illustrated

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Illustrated recently has gotten into the statistical projection game, and while they aren't quite on a Ken Pomeroy level, they've put together a solid system that's progressed them well beyond your standard human poll. Both Dan Hanner and Luke Winn, the gentlemen behind SI's projections, are really sharp dudes--and the numbers they've cooked up for the ACC are right here.

NC State is picked to finish eighth in the ACC with a 9-9 conference record, but there is essentially no separation between teams four through 10 in these projections. One thing that's obvious about SI's metrics at a glance is they are a tad conservative. For instance, not one single ACC player is projected to average more than 16.4 points per game. Grayson Allen is the computer model's pick for league's leading scorer (at 16.4 PPG).

Only one other player is projected to average more than 16 points per game (Codi Miller-McIntyre). The odds of somebody not cracking at least 17 PPG are pretty low. For starters, Duke, UNC, and Notre Dame should have guys easily beat that number. And there are the aforementioned projected standings, where seven teams are estimated at nine or 10 league wins.

That essentially puts the entire middle of the league on the second tier, behind UNC, Duke, and UVA. It probably isn't going to shake out quite so close among the secondary bunch of theoretical contenders in the league, but you absolutely can make a case for every single team in that group to distinguish themselves and challenge the frontrunners. NC State included.

As for the Pack, Cat Barber is the predicted leading scorer at 15.4 per game, which is no stretch if his outside shooting is as good as folks are saying. I'd take the over on Terry Henderson at 11.2 per night, and ditto Malik Abu at nine points per game. All three are anticipated to be high-workload, efficient contributors. In other words, that's the core of this team. But I think we already knew that.