VT at NC State -- it's payback time, right? Right?!
The Hokies, who are averaging a meager offensive efficiency of 98.7 in conference road games, don't appear to be a good bet to beat NC State in Raleigh.
The main reason why the Hokies aren't very efficient at the offensive end (season OFF EFF = 100) is their shooting, or lack thereof. Virginia Tech has the worst adjusted field goal percentage in the conference: 48.5%. Of course, that didn't much matter in the first meeting between these two teams--Tech had an adjFG% of 49% for that game and still won.
[Just as an aside: someone needs to tell Virginia Tech guard Marquie Cooke to stop shooting treys. Cooke is 7-42 (16.6%) on the year.]
Free throws were a major factor--maybe even the deciding factor--in the first meeting, as VPI converted 79.2% of its attempts (19-24) compared to NCSU's 57.7% (15-26). Look for a different story on Saturday, because while the Wolfpack got off to a rough start at the line this season, they've been trending upwards of late. Over their last five games, the Wolfpack are 72-88 (81.8%) from the charity stripe.
NC State has the rebounding edge and does a better job than the Hokies at getting free throw attempts. Not to mention the Pack's season adjFG% (over 53%) is considerably better than Tech's.
Score prediction based on offensive efficiency and tempo:
Tech Avg. ACC Road Game Possessions = 69.2
NCSU Avg. ACC Home Game Possessions = 64.3
Avg. (rounded) of those two numbers = 67 (expected possessions for this game)
Tech Avg. ACC Road Game OFF EFF = 98.7
NCSU Avg. ACC Home Game OFF EFF = 111.2
PREDICTED SCORE: NCSU 75, Virginia Tech 66
This is a rather inexact way of predicting scores, but it has proven to be pretty reliable in the few instances (here and here) in which I've used the method. If nothing else, this offers a ballpark figure for both teams. If either team is above their projected score, they're probably having a better than average performance (and vice versa).