A signature of Roy Williams’ program at UNC has been playing with tempo—the Tar Heels have finished in the top 20 in adjusted tempo a bunch of teams since he took over as head coach. NC State has generally been far more deliberate with the ball this century, but not this year.
The Wolfpack ranks 15th in adjusted tempo, easily the high-water mark of the KenPom era (which goes back to 2002). State has already played three games with 80 possessions or more, which is one more than it played all of last season. There have been entire years where State didn’t hit 80 possessions in a game.
The result when you pit two teams like this against each other? The potential for a lot of fun. Pomeroy predicts 80 possessions in the game Tuesday, and that might be on the conservative side. The projected margin in the game is just two points, so it could be an instant classic—y’know, if NC State wins, that is.
UNC has had the better team just about every time these schools have met over the last 15 years, and the same will be true this week. But no doubt that margin isn’t nearly as wide as usual, and if the Pack plays well, the game has the potential to be highly entertaining.