Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Big Four go at it one last time...

Wake @ NCSU

In the first meeting, Wake won 86-75 thanks largely to a huge FTA advantage (42-12). It also didn't hurt that the Deacs made 35 of those 42 attempts. Wake was the best team in the ACC at getting to the line then, and they still are now. NC State can't let anything like that happen again...the Demon Deacs are good enough without a lot of freebies.

The Wolfpack and Deacs are very similar in the adjFG% and Turnover Rate categories; the differences, as you might expect, are in the rebounding and FTA/FGA categories:

O-Reb Rate (OREB / [OREB + OPP DREB])

Wake: 38.4%
NCSU: 34.4%


Wake: .454 (1st ACC)
NCSU: .385 (6th ACC)

The averages say...

Wake Avg. ACC Road Game OFF EFF: 122.9 (whew)
Wake Avg. ACC Road Game Possessions: 71.8

NCSU Avg. ACC Home Game OFF EFF: 112.3
NCSU Avg. ACC Home Game Possessions: 64

Expected POSS in Wake/NCSU Game: 66
Predicted Score: Wake 81, NCSU 74

Can NC State shoot well enough to win? Can the Pack find some way to hold the Deacs to a sub-par performance? Hopefully the Pack doesn't put too much pressure on certainly would be nice to send Julius Hodge (and the other seniors) out as winners.

Duke @ UNC

The Devils forced their game on the Heels in Cameron, but don't expect that to be the case this time. Holding the Heels to 70 points (as the Blue Devils did in Derm) is no small feat, and I'll be shocked if Duke manages to do that again. Neither Duke nor North Carolina shot the ball well in Durham, and these are two of the best shooting teams in the conference (UNC leads the ACC in adjFG%, Duke is 4th).

One reason to expect a high score: the first game had 71 possessions, and the rematch projects to have upwards of 78 possessions for each team. The Heels average 78.4 possessions per conference home game, while Duke averages 69.1 possessions per conference road game.

Based on the number of possessions in the average ACC contest (70), an estimate is done in the following way:

Duke Poss - ACC Poss = 69.1 - 70 = -0.9
UNC Poss - ACC Poss = 78.4 - 70 = 8.4

Duke DIFF + UNC DIFF = -0.9 + 8.4 = 7.5

DIFF + ACC AVG = 7.5 + 70 = 77.5

77.5 = Expected Possessions in Duke/UNC game

At that pace, both teams would have to play well below their averages for us to see a score similar to the one posted in Durham. I would expect the Heels to approach the high 80s or low 90s in this game, but I'm not so sure about the Devils. The UNC defense frustrated Duke in the first matchup, and the only saving grace for Duke was its success from behind the arc. If they aren't hitting their threes at a good clip, they're going to be in danger of getting blown out (IMO). Depth will continue to be an issue for Duke (they had Dockery in the first go 'round), and Heels have no such problems (even without Rashad McCants).

Will this:

Duke Avg. ACC Road Game OFF EFF: 118.8
UNC Avg. ACC Home Game OFF EFF: 118.7

...hold up tomorrow?

I just don't think so. I'll take the Heels in this one, 91-83. Based on an expectation of 77.5 possessions for each team, my prediction reflects an average day for the Heels (91/77.5 = 117) and a good-but-not-good-enough day for the Devils (83/77.5 = 107).

One thing's for sure: if the game is played at this pace, it'll be a helluva show.