Tuesday, March 01, 2005

It's nervous time -- NC State at Virginia

The Wolfpack travels north to take part in one of the last few dates of the Pete Gillen Farewell Tour 2005.

In the first meeting, NC State had its worst conference home game performance of the season, and the Cavs managed a last-minute win. Pete Gillen went with a smaller and quicker lineup (much to the delight of Jason Cain) in an attempt to better match up with NC State. Elton Brown played just 4 minutes, which struck me as utterly stupid at the time (and seems no more intelligent in retrospect), but NC State played poorly enough as to make the issue irrelevant...UVA won without Brown.

The two teams are pretty similar in the TO Rate, O-Reb Rate, and FTA/FGA categories, but NC State is a considerably better shooting team. UVA's season adjFG% (48.7%) ranks 10th in the ACC; NC State's (53.2%) ranks 3rd.

NC State doesn't need to worry about establishing its tempo. Pete Gillen illustrated in the first meeting that he was quite willing to play at State's pace--the game had just 60 possessions, which was slow even by NC State standards (State averages about 67 possessions per game).

Here's what the numbers say about the final score...

UVA Avg. ACC Home Game Offensive Efficiency: 104.2
NCSU Avg. ACC Road Game Offensive Efficiency: 113.1

UVA Avg. ACC Home Game Possessions: 71.4
NCSU Avg. ACC Road Game Possessions: 63.2
Expected Possessions for NCSU/UVA Game: 67 (average)

Predicted Score: NCSU 76, Wahoos 70

But based on the pace of the first game, I think we'll see fewer than 67 possessions for each team...probably closer to 63 or 64. So look for a lower score than the one predicted above (the prediction is just a ballpark figure...any number of factors can affect the number of possessions in a game, but chances are the teams will play close to their averages).

Positive signs for the Wolfpack:

1) Julius Hodge had only 5 FGA in the first matchup. He'll be more productive this time around.

2) Just to reiterate--Virginia is not a good shooting team. The team's performance in Raleigh was one of its best in-conference performances.

3) UVA has the worst defense in the ACC.

4) Pete Gillen could decide to sit Elton Brown again. He'll regret it.

5) Timeout!!!!!