It’s always a comfort to me when a computer system somewhat confirms my offseason optimism. Sports Illustrated released its projected standings for the ACC on Wednesday, and NC State is picked sixth with an expected 10-8 conference record. That’s an NCAA tourney team, folks.
The Wolfpack finished 5–13 last season and lost leader Cat Barber, but SI projects them to improve with the additions of five-star freshmen Smith and Turkish import Omer Yurtseven (as long as he gets eligible), as well as the return of shooting guard Terry Henderson from an injury. This is an NCAA tournament and Top 25 team if everything breaks right.
I don’t think that’s unreasonable at all. SI also projects some statistics for each team’s top players; they have NCSU with four double-digit scorers this season, led by Dennis Smith Jr.
But one spot they may be off a bit is with Maverick Rowan/Torin Dorn. They treat Rowan as the presumptive starter, with Dorn projected to play less than 20 minutes per game. I dunno about that.
After the ACC picks were revealed, Dan Hanner, who helped construct SI’s projection system, explained in a few tweets why the system likes NC State.
NC State additions of Smith & Yurtseven (potential one-and-done), Henderson (injured LY), Dorn (transfer), and 2 other Top 100 guys…— Dan Hanner (@DanHanner) October 19, 2016
Also, Gottfried might not be a Top 10 coach, but he’s done a terrific job getting the most out of his most talented players.— Dan Hanner (@DanHanner) October 19, 2016
If your skepticism of the team is because of Yurtseven’s eligibility, that’s fine, but this is a completely different team than last year.— Dan Hanner (@DanHanner) October 19, 2016
rival the additions that any other team in the nation has made. If you project player-by-player as we do, you have to believe in NC State.— Dan Hanner (@DanHanner) October 19, 2016
Indeed, this could be the Gott Man’s finest team at NC State, and with a bit of a bounce-back year on the defensive side of the ball, it is going to do some damage. I just wish the NCAA would hurry up and give us a decision on Omer Yurtseven.