Something to consider regarding NC State's offense.
Herb Sendek's hybrid, Princeton-esque offense is not well regarded among most Wolfpack fans (but neither is Herb...), mostly because popular perception holds that when the Pack isn't hitting threes, it isn't going to be successful. It's certainly true that NCSU's high reliance on the three ball (Pack leads ACC in 3PA/FGA) leads to greater inconsistency because the three-pointer is low-percentage compared to two-pointers. The percentages at which NC State makes threes tends to vary pretty widely from game to game. It is also true that--despite perception--NC State has one of the most efficient offenses in the country.
Last season, State's offense ranked among the five most efficient offenses in the country. The Wolfpack typically finds success through a low turnover rate and a good adjusted field goal percentage. So does the Wolfpack have a problem here? Or are fans misinterpreting what they are seeing?
Let's take a look at a typical line of thinking among NC State fans. Last week, NC State went up to College Park and handed Maryland a surprising 85-69 defeat. In the game, NC State shot 48.3% from the field, including an impressive 46.2% (12-26) from three-point range.
Whenever State is shooting like this, its offense always gives off the appearance that it is working quite well, and fans are always wondering "why can't we play like this consistently?" I've been guilty of this...pretty much every State fan has.
I mean, it looks like this is how the offense is supposed to work: State is hitting a good share of threes, playing to its tempo, and minimizing turnovers. Why doesn't every game look this way?
Offensive efficiency should shed some light on the subject:
NCSU Season Average OFF EFF: 112 (this equates to 75 pts in 67 possessions)
NCSU's Maryland Game OFF EFF: 127 (85 pts in 67 possessions)
So why can't NC State perform like this with regularity? Simple: while it may not seem like it, performances like this are exceptional. They're way, way above NC State's typical offensive performance.
What everyone fails to notice is that a performance like the one State had against Maryland isn't just exceptional based on NC State's average--it is exceptional, period. Notice in the above link to Ken Pomeroy's site that the national leader in offensive efficiency (looking at the adjusted numbers), UNC, averages about 122 points per 100 possessions. What was NCSU's points/possession against the Terps again? 127.
Wolfpack fans need a new perspective on these kinds of performances. Instead of being frustrated by the rarity of these performances, Wolfpack fans should just understand that it's not possible for anybody to play at that level from game to game.
Keep in mind that NC State's pace will keep the game around 67 possessions per team--in a game with ~67 possessions, about 75 points is an average game, and anything over 80 is a big time performance.
Wins like the one in College Park should be relished for the impressive offensive displays that they are. It is unfair to everyone involved with Wolfpack basketball to expect this kind of showing on a regular basis.
Want a couple of examples of NC State performances right around their average offensive efficiency?
vs Duke (L74-86): OFF EFF = 110 (74 pts/67 poss)
vs FSU (L64-70): OFF EFF = 110 (64 pts/58 poss)
Just goes to show that in many cases, NC State is more efficient offensively than it seems.