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NC State will have to out-offense Miami to get even in ACC play

State’s first true road game is a tough one.

Florida A&M v Miami Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

NC State and Miami have plenty in common this year: both more reliant on offense than defense, both with guard-led offenses, both operating without much depth. So the strengths and struggles of this Hurricanes group are very much relatable.

Miami heads into Saturday 9-1 overall, its only blemish an 18-point loss at Maryland. The Canes have a win over a surprisingly good Rutgers team on the ledger, and opened ACC play with a 27-point win at Louisville. Their last time out, they outlasted Cornell 107-105 in one of the most entertaining games of the season.

They can score, all right.

The U

Miami in '23 Adj OE/DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% 2FG% 3FG%
Miami in '23 Adj OE/DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% 2FG% 3FG%
Offense 113.5 (15) 54.9 (43) 18.4 (136) 34.6 (42) 56.6 (23) 34.6 (137)
Defense 98.4 (99) 49.0 (138) 22.5 (46) 33.4 (315) 50.6 (204) 30.9 (93)

Isaiah Wong—you’ve seen, you’ve heard, you know. He leads Miami in scoring at 15.6 points per game while shooting a career-best 37.8% from three. He still does most of his work inside the arc, and while his shooting there is down a bit from 2022, he’s still pretty good at getting to the free throw line, where he shoots nearly 80%.

Nijel Pack came to Miami one of the most high-profile transfers of the offseason (partly because his NIL deal made headlines) but so far has struggled to acclimate to his new home. Pack accounts for more shots while he’s on the floor than anyone else in the rotation, but he is just fourth on the team in scoring. The primary reason is his slump from three to begin this year: he’s a career 41.7% three-point shooter, but has made only a third of his attempts in a Miami uniform. That’s hardly terrible, but it’s well below the standard he set at K-State the two years prior. (When his workload was just as large.)

I’d argue Miami’s most valuable player to this point has actually been forward Norchad Omier (6’7, 248). I love this dude, which is to say that tomorrow I will probably hate this dude. (Because he kills us.) He uses his width with extreme prejudice, making him one of the best rebounders in the country. He’s sixth in offensive rebounding percentage and was top five in DR% each of the last two seasons. He draws lots of fouls, and he’s shooting 70% on twos. It’s a bad time for NC State to be down a forward.

Despite his efforts, Miami has struggled on the defensive glass, and its interior defense in general hasn’t been good. To pick up this win on the road, NC State needs to take care of the ball while taking advantage of those soft spots. Gotta win the turnover battle in this one, for starters.

KenPom likes Miami by five.