As you may have heard by now, NC State is returning a lot of key players in 2022, including the bulk of a defense that was very good in 2021. That’s going to lead to some hype heading into the fall, but it’s going to be warranted.
Bill Connelly compiles returning production figures each offseason, using different weights for different statistics, to offer a clue about which teams might be set to improve, and which might be on the decline. NC State ranks 12th in returning production, and as Connelly notes, is the only team to finish in the SP+ top 15 to return top-15 production.
State is returning 81% of its 2021 production, and here is Connelly to give you an idea of what that might mean for the fall:
Not including the 2021 season — for reasons I’ll address below — about 8% of teams (equivalent to about 11 of 131) return at least 80% of overall production each year. On average, they improve by about 5.8 adjusted points per game in the following season’s SP+ ratings. That’s pretty significant. If a team ranked 20th in SP+ last year, adding 5.8 points to its rating would have bumped it to seventh. If a team ranked 40th, it would have jumped to 15th.
Based on that, it’s not at all unrealistic to think that NC State could be a top-10-caliber team in 2022. Plenty of factors can alter the picture between now and the start of the season—injury luck, for one—but the foundation here is very, very good.