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NC State's Cat Barber is having a really huge year in a really weird way

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Shooting is the bottom line in basketball, but if you can't do that well, you can subsist otherwise. For NC State this season, it's looking more and more like an interesting experiment to see how far the peripherals can take you. NC State is in a really weird place, with excellent numbers in three of the four factors, but one really terrible number. The most important one.

NC State Offense -- Four Factors eFG% (National Rank) TO% OR% FT Rate
2015-16 46.9 (246) 14.9 (21) 36.9 (34) 46.1 (32)
2014-15 49.3 (157) 16.0 (25) 33.9 (82) 35.4 (222)

Since my alarmist concerns a couple weeks back, State seems to be getting the message. Cat Barber has been better about taking threes rather than long twos. The bigs have been more effective with more opportunities. Caleb Martin and Maverick Rowan are still more than willing to shoot from outside; it just didn't work out for them the last time out. That's the crux of the matter right now.

We're about a quarter of the way through the season, so the "slow start" theory is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain. This is a bad shooting team.

Cat Barber is a bad jump shooter. He is also having an incredibly good season. Did I mention that State is in a weird place? Barber is hitting sub-40% inside the arc and has made one three-pointer all year. He's drawing more than eight fouls per 40 minutes, while going 84-97 (.866) from the line.

Cat's assist rate is a career-best this season, as is his turnover rate. He is the engine fueling the secondary factors at the offensive end, leading what is an impressively robust offense. Aside from the shooting part. He is really efficient despite the sub-40% shooting, and that's the bizarro part. Cat's secondary stats are all really good, and by extension, so are State's. His value despite cold shooting is enormous.

NC State has had the good fortune in the last 15 years to have above-average shooting more often than not, which could cover up problems elsewhere. Now it appears we're gonna flip this script whether we want to or not, and see just how far the secondary factors can take us.