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Lipscomb won’t be an easy out for NC State

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-North Carolina vs Lipscomb Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Like Hofstra and Harvard, Lipscomb fell short in its conference tournament title game and ended up here, with us, in the pretend tournament with all the zany rules-related science experiments. Man I sure hope these experiments don’t have any strange side effects. We’re already suffering from enlarged lanes.

What was I talking about? Oh that’s right. Lipscomb had an excellent case for an at-large selection, not because of its resume, mind you—getting swept by Belmont was a no-no—but because Lipscomb is, y’know, good. Certainly better than stinkin’ jerk-ass St. John’s, for example. (Yes, I might hold a grudge against St. John’s for a while.)

Here are the Bisons’ full-season numbers:

See there, pretty good team! Only five spots behind NC State in the Pomeroy Ratings as of Wednesday morning. Lipscomb also is more than comfortable playing up-tempo so we could be in for a frenetic game tonight. I wouldn’t mind that a bit.

The Bisons are fortunate to have a lot of experience on the roster, which is one reason why missing the NCAAs hurt so much—they’ll probably take a step back next season.

Lipscomb is led by senior guard Garrison Mathews, who has been a primary contributor on the team since his freshman season. Mathews accounts for nearly 31% of Lipscomb’s field goal attempts when he is on the floor, and that number nearly hit 33% in Atlantic Sun games. He’s a 40% three-point shooter and adds a lot of value by frequently getting to the free throw line, where he shoots 85%.

You can also expect junior point guard Kenny Cooper and senior forward Rob Marberry to be heavily involved in the offense. Cooper is suprisingly effective inside the arc given his small stature and he’s a pretty good jump shooter as well. Marberry won’t be shooting any threes, but he shouldn’t be wasting time out there anyway seein’ as he’s making 63% of his twos.

NC State doesn’t have to worry about being overwhelmed on the glass or in the paint, as the Bisons lack both size and rim protectors. I’ll be curious to see how their defensive rebounding holds up—that’s definitely something to keep an eye on.

The Pomeroy Predictor expects both teams to hit 80 points and gives the Pack a four-point edge.