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Alcorn State travels to NC State in the hopes of mitigating its own unpleasantness

Avoiding the unpleasantness entirely? That ain’t gonna happen for the Braves.

NCAA Basketball: Alcorn State at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The first person that comes to mind when I think of Alcorn State is Steve McNair, and honestly it would be a better idea to meditate on McNair’s greatness rather than thinking about the Braves’ atrocious basketball team. So I recommend doing that.

I’m going to keep this one short because there are only so many distressing statistical factoids I can consume before madness begins to set in.

The Braves finished last season 349th out of 353 teams in the Pomeroy Ratings and won a grand total of 10 games, though only six of those were against D-I foes. Under the circumstances, I can fault them for padding the slate. If you’re gonna ask these kids to go on the road to power-conference schools and serve as target practice, I’d say you owe them a little bit of fun too.

Alcorn State’s 2019 Factors — Offense

2019 Braves OE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
2019 Braves OE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
Offense 89.3 (348) 45.7 (339) 24.1 (348) 30.1 (110) 30.5 (251)

Alcorn ranked 310th or worse in FT%, 2FG%, and 3FG% and that shooting accuracy problem alone was going to make this offense bad even if they were above-average in the other factors ... uh, which they were not.

The Braves will likely shuffle through a lot of lineup combinations in an effort to find a hot hand or two. No doubt that junior wing Troymain Crosby will be heavily in the mix, as he’s been a high-workload guy throughout his career. And he does a few things reasonably well, like get to the line and make his free throws. He also has been a good rebounder for his size (6’4, 200). But he’s also a career 44.6% two-point shooter, and he’s 5-53 from three in 2+ seasons.

Guard Maurice Howard is a legitimate three-point threat: 39.8% on 181 attempts in 2019, and 36.6% for his career. He was the only Alcorn State rotation player to make more than 30% of his threes last season.

Everybody on this team has significant flaws, and I would expect the Braves to make plenty of mistakes.

Alcorn State’s 2019 Factors — Defense

2019 Braves DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
2019 Braves DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
Defense 113.4 (330) 52.7 (269) 18.2 (188) 31.5 (293) 36.5 (268)

Alcorn State’s defense could have been worse last season if the Braves weren’t lucky enough to have opponents shoot just 32.1% on threes. Those opponents also made over 55% of their twos, though, so the three-point shooting tended not to be a deal-breaker. The shoddy interior defense is carrying over into this season, as opponents have hit nearly 64% from inside the arc. Memphis made nearly 69% of its twos against Alcorn on Saturday, and that was without elite big man James Wiseman.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by 27.