NC State fell to 221st in adjusted defensive efficiency after Wednesday night and is now dead last in ACC play, allowing 1.19 points per possession to league foes. (Told you we were coming for you, Pittsburgh!)
State has held exactly one ACC opponent under a point per possession, while seven have hit 1.2+ (the last three opponents have hit 1.3+, which is very very very bad defense).
For some context on this season, here’s an excellent chart put together by @bronceIV, showing both Gott’s history at this end of the floor and also how actual championship caliber teams usually perform at this end:
It’s possible to win an ACC title with a substandard defense, but unlikely. As Ken Pomeroy has pointed out in the past, the pool of national championship contenders is almost exclusively teams with both a top 25 offense and top 25 defense. NC State has never had that kind of balance under Mark Gottfried, and never will.
Having an excellent offense paired with a so-so defense is enough on occasion to get you to the second weekend of the NCAAs—we’ve seen that much. To take the larger step forward, however, significant improvement needs to happen at the defensive end.