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Who the heck are these guys: NC State's non-conference schedule at a glance

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Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

NC State's 2016-17 non-conference schedule includes a lot of teams that you probably aren't too familiar with, so let's get a bit of a feel for what lies ahead this season. In the table below is a quick statistical glance at each team, and I've also included here Creighton, Washington State, and St. Joe's, who are potential opponents in the Paradise Jam.

All numbers come from this past season and thus may not be an accurate reflection of each team, what with staff and player turnover.

2015-16 stats Pomeroy Rtg Tempo (rank) Off_Eff (rank) Def_Eff (rank) 3FGA/FGA (rank) Avg Height (rank)
Georgia Southern 199 69.4 (138) 103.9 (171) 107.7 (247) 43.9 (23) 75.8" (304)
St. Francis 280 66.8 (279) 93.4 (327) 102.6 (150) 43.0 (29) 75.2" (337)
Montana 147 66.0 (308) 106.1 (124) 104.9 (189) 37.1 (129) 75.9" (288)
Creighton 37 71.0 (76) 110.7 (55) 96.6 (36) 38.7 (88) 76.9" (149)
Washington State 204 69.5 (136) 101.4 (211) 105.7 (208) 30.3 (282) 77.5" (81)
St. Joe's 38 70.9 (79) 113.7 (26) 99.3 (75) 35.6 (164) 77" (126)
Loyola Chicago 180 66.1 (305) 99.2 (261) 100.9 (114) 33.2 (228) 76.3" (248)
Illinois 132 68.5 (197) 104.7 (154) 102.3 (142) 38.3 (98) 77.5" (80)
Boston U. 216 70.8 (86) 102.3 (193) 107.3 (240) 39.3 (72) 76.9" (141)
Tenn State 164 69.0 (159) 99.9 (243) 100.5 (100) 29.4 (307) 76.5" (213)
App State 254 71.3 (64) 102.4 (190) 110.0 (286) 40.1 (64) 76.4" (230)
Fairfield 205 72.0 (48) 102.4 (191) 106.7 (227) 41.5 (48) 76.5" (201)
McNeese St. 330 68.8 (174) 98.4 (281) 114.8 (341) 35.1 (181) 76" (283)
Rider 217 65.3 (325) 98.4 (282) 103.3 (164) 35.9 (159) 76.6" (194)

Excluding the Paradise Jam unknowns, the average Pomeroy Rating of NC State's opponents is 211. If I add in Creighton and St. Joe's, that average dips to 185, which isn't far off the 175 average of last year's schedule. The tricky part, of course, is actually getting those games against Creighton and St. Joe's. We need them to cooperate by winning, and we need NC State to take the tournament in the process.

If there are upsets--Wazzu beating Creighton would be very bad--or if State ends up in the loser's side of the bracket, then the whole deal is gonna be a bust.

In addition to some good luck and good performances in the Paradise Jam, NC State needs a couple of these mid-majors to emerge as major contenders within their respective leagues. That's a possibility--several of them finished with winning conference records last season--but the obvious mid-major strength of past Mark Gottfried schedules is not here.