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Kevin Keatts vs. history: The last 10 years of NC State basketball in ACC games

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It’s a promising beginning for Keatts, but can he build on it?

North Carolina State v Seton Hall Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

In this century, NC State basketball generally has occupied a middle ground in both the ACC and the country, or it’s just been plain bad. In the last 10 seasons, we’ve seen a lot of both. Rather than looking at the larger picture, I decided to look at how State has fared in league play over the last 10 years to see how Kevin Keatts’ first season stacks up.

Here are the numbers:

Keatts Feats

NCSU KenPom Rank Conf OE (rk) Conf DE Eff. Margin
NCSU KenPom Rank Conf OE (rk) Conf DE Eff. Margin
2018 (Keatts) 46 108.2 (5) 107.2 (8) 1.0
2017 (Gottfried) 109 102.8 (12) 118.4 (15) -15.6
2016 (Gottfried) 74 108.1 (6) 113.6 (15) -5.5
2015 (Gottfried) 32 106.5 (7) 101.8 (4) 4.7
2014 (Gottfried) 62 104.2 (9) 109.7 (12) -5.5
2013 (Gottfried) 33 109.3 (2) 103.5 (9) 5.8
2012 (Gottfried) 43 103.9 (4) 100.6 (6) 3.3
2011 (Lowe) 87 102.4 (7) 109.5 (11) -7.1
2010 (Lowe) 69 97.2 (10) 104.0 (10) -6.8
2009 (Lowe) 81 105.2 (7) 111.0 (12) -5.8

(OE = offensive efficiency; DE = defensive efficiency; Eff. Margin = OE - DE)

Based on league ranking, Keatts’ first team produced the third-best offense and third-best defense of the 10-year period, which is not too shabby. And it got back on the plus side of efficiency margin (in other words, out-scored its ACC opponents) for the first time in three years.

Going back even farther than this window—NC State has made the NCAAs 10 times since 2002, and on seven of those occasions, it has been seeded in the 7-10 range. So Keatts’ first group was right in line with what has basically been the program ceiling in this century.

Whether or not he can raise that ceiling remains to be seen, but no doubt he is off to a promising start. A consistent upward trajectory is what’s been missing from the program in the last 10 years and-then-some, and he might just have what it takes to change that.