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NC State welcomes FIU to town Tuesday night

How ‘bout we don’t make this one quite so interesting?

NCAA Basketball: Florida International at Georgetown Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

I was thinking recently that it’s probably time to stop using the phrase “new-look team” to describe a college basketball team. It’s a bit of a redundant designation these days. Is it a college basketball team? Yep, well then it’s a new-look team.

Consider these official NCAA statistics about roster turnover. Your average school can expect the following attrition after any given year:

— 2 players lost to graduation
— 2 players lost to transfer
— 1 player lost to falling deeply in love during a summer semester in Spain
— 0.75 players lost to pursue their dreams of becoming an astronaut
— 0.25 players lost by Delta Airlines

That’s approaching half a roster right there! And so it is for FIU, which welcomed four freshmen and three graduate transfers to the squad this year.

Howdy, Pantherinos

FIU in '22 Adj OE/DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% 2FG% 3FG%
FIU in '22 Adj OE/DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% 2FG% 3FG%
Offense 97.3 (278) 49.9 (173) 20.1 (289) 27.0 (210) 49.0 (207) 34.0 (153)
Defense 106.1 (248) 50.2 (184) 18.5 (162) 29.8 (250) 50.2 (198) 33.4 (166)

The Panthers lost three senior starters, and had a fourth starter leave for the greener pastures of Duquesne, as one does. Their leading scorer through two games this season (one of those was against a D-II school) is sophomore guard Denver Jones (6’4, 195), who’s at 17.5 PPG.

Jones was a high-workload contributor as a freshman and proved a pretty good three-point shooter (36%), but the main thing with him is you do not want to let him start racking up free throw attempts. He was 103-115 (89.6%) at the stripe last year, so he not only got there a lot, he was just about automatic.

Freshman Arturo Dean (5’11) and junior Javaunte Hawkins (5’11, 160) are off to nice starts to the year as well.

FIU was among the most three-inclined teams in the country last season, and I wouldn’t expect many of the guys on this guard-heavy roster to be shy about taking those shots. The Panthers don’t play a lot of bigs to begin with, while the ones who do play tend not to be involved in the offense much.

One of them is seven-footer Seth Pinkney, who has been an elite shot blocker throughout his career. NC State has yet to face a dude like this, so we’ll se what adjustments that entails.

KenPom likes NC State by 15.