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NC State returns to ACC play with a trip to Miami

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Headlong into basketball season we go!

NCAA Basketball: Stetson at Miami-Florida Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, the football season ended in deeply unsatisfying fashion, but we have the men’s basketball team to cheer us up! Oh. Wait. Oh no. Men’s basketball? This does not sound like a good idea. This does not sound like a good idea at all! Nothing we can do to talk them out of it, though; I checked. Onward!

NC State has been off for a week since dealing out its most recent portion of dispiriting crap and veers headlong into league play with a road trip to Miami on Wednesday. The good news is that Miami isn’t very good, ranking only 99th in the Pomeroy Ratings. The bad news is that State currently ranks 113th.

Anyway, let’s have a look at these Hurricanes.

Miami 2021-22

... Adj OE/DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
... Adj OE/DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% FTR
Offense 108.3 (55) 51.7 (96) 14.4 (13) 23.7 (296) 34.1 (72)
Defense 100.7 (163) 53.2 (291) 19.9 (131) 28.2 (175) 25.3 (83)

Jim Larranaga’s bunch hasn’t been to the NCAAs since 2018, and this doesn’t look like the year the drought is going to end, though given the overall cruddiness of the ACC this year, the Canes do have a good shot at breaking their three-year streak of overall losing records. So that’s nice.

A concern for NC State that jumps out immediately is Miami’s ability to take care of the ball. On account of the fact that State can’t shoot, it’s best route to victory involves overwhelming through an advantage in shot attempts. It’s unfortunate, but this is where we are.

NC State routinely wins the turnover battle but that has little to do with its defense, which is a bit below average in forcing takeaways. The advantage comes primarily from the offense, which is 9th nationally in turnover rate. This is a roundabout way of saying that there’s no reason to believe Miami will turn the ball over much, and while NC State may still win in this area, the positive margin is probably going to be slim, if it’s there at all.

Miami doesn’t have a ton of size, and so the bright side is that NC State at least has an opportunity to win on the glass—and the Pack can create extra shots that way, too. Might have to in order to win this game.

So NC State will need to play clean offensively, win on the glass at both ends, and also find a way to slow down Kameron McGusty and Isaiah Wong. McGusty is in the midst of a career year, averaging 18.4 points per game on 58% shooting inside the arc and 39% shooting beyond it. Wong’s jump shooting has been a struggle but he’s over 60% on shots inside the arc. Both do a good job getting to the free throw line.

Miami runs one of the shorter benches in the league, so if you can get those two guys off their game, the Hurricanes are probably in trouble. They also don’t do much in the way of playing defense. You could say that avoiding fouls is a strength, but when the rest of the numbers are as bad as they are, it looks more like a product of indifference.

Miami ranks 242nd in 2FG% defense and 306th in 3FG% defense. The Canes present you with an opportunity to make some shots, and that’s very helpful—the question is whether or not NC State’s offense can get out of the rut it’s in.

Two flawed teams enter, two flawed teams leave, but one with more points than the other. Let’s see what happens.

(KenPom likes Miami by four.)