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NC State readies for a Davidson team capable as ever of causing headaches

At least that guy’s gone.

North Carolina State v Davidson Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

If you have some residual mental scarring that creeps up any time you hear the phrase “Davidson basketball,” you are not alone. But I have good news! Stephen Curry is no longer on the team. At least I don’t think he is. I don’t see him listed on the roster.

Head coach Bob McKillop, though—he’s still there, so in many respects, Davidson hasn’t changed since these teams last met in 2008. McKillop is one of the longest-tenured coaches in the country and in his time with the Wildcats has refined an approach that makes his team a consistent nuisance.

Davidson doesn’t usually lack for shooters, and the good ol’ shoot-it-well-and-take-care-of-the-ball method is always going to deliver efficient offense. This particular Wildcats team ranks 11th nationally in three-point attempt rate and 65th in 3FG%; Davidson is also eighth in 2FG% at 56.8.

The Cats are led by senior wing Kellan Grady, who takes nearly 28% of the team’s shots while he’s on the floor. That’s not quite a Steph Curry-level workload, but it’s a heavy one, and Grady handles it fine: he’s shooting almost 38% from three and almost 56% from two.

Davidson’s top four scorers are all efficiency machines, each one a threat inside or out. Forward Hyunjung Lee is especially impressive: 61% on twos, 46% on threes, 89% on free throws.

This will be a significant challenge for NC State’s perimeter defense, and also for the Pack’s ability to force turnovers. If State can be disruptive against this group, it’d go a long way toward delivering a win. That’s always a tough ask against teams like this, though.

The good news is that Davidson’s defense doesn’t do much that scares opponents. The Wildcats are terrible at forcing turnovers themselves, and their field goal percentage defense is only average. The Wildcats have done an outstanding job on the defensive glass, but there are plenty of cracks elsewhere. NC State should have a good day offensively if it is executing.

KenPom likes Davidson by two.