Thursday, November 17, 2005

Previewing Stetson

With the basketball opener just a couple of days away, here's a look at NC State's first opponent.

The Hatters, who play in the Atlanic Sun, were 10-17 last season. Their 2004-2005 OOC slate featured Florida (Hatters lost by 39), Miami (lost by 31), Florida State (lost by 10), and Georgia (won by 4!).

Season stats here.

Let's look at the Four Factors. First, Stetson's offense (stats from

Stetson Offense 2004-2005
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Adj FG%46.6273
Turnover Rate22.1242
Off Reb Rate35.555

They were a terrible shooting team and had problems with turning the ball over. Those two things do not make for a good offense, so it's no surprise that Stetson had a terrible one--they ranked near the bottom of D-IA in offensive efficiency (pts/100 possessions).

They rebounded pretty well and got to the line at a decent rate, but don't be fooled--this is not a big team. In fact, they rely on a couple of senior guards for most of their scoring.

The defense, unfortunately, wasn't any better than the offense:

Stetson Defense 2004-2005
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Adj FG%53.6312
Turnover Rate21.798
Off Reb Rate32.3179

Stetson's strength was forcing turnovers, but they allowed opponents to shoot spectacularly well against them, especially from three point range. Only 11 D-IA teams allowed a higher proportion of points to be scored against them by virtue of the three-pointer (see here). For NC State, this = JACKPOT!

Stetson returns 4 of 5 starters from last season. The lone departure was their starting center.

Anticipated starting lineup:
[why per-minute stats?]

PG Will Holloman (6'1"): 10.5 pts/40 min, 3.7 ast/40

G Anthony Register (6'3"): 18.7 pts/40 min, 4.4 rebs/40

G EJ Gordon (6'4"): 17.9 pts/40 min, 8.6 rebs/40, 2.4 stls/40

F Karl Hollingsworth (6'5"): 13.6 pts/40 min, 5.3 rebs/40

C JJ Hirst (6'8): 13 min/game in 2004-2005

See? Not very big. The first four guys listed are the returning starters.

The Hatters aren't really into this whole three point line thing. They can't defend the three-pointer and they don't shoot it very often, either. Register had the most three-point attempts on the team last year (120), but only made 31.7% of them.

Gordon and Register make this team go at the offensive end; expect those guys to combine for about half of Stetson's field goal attempts on Friday. They prefer to score off dribble penetration, and both are pretty good at drawing fouls. Gordon is the better overall player of the two--in addition to the stats listed, he's the leading returning shot blocker and was second on the team in assists/40 minutes.

There's just one problem: Gordon is a terrible shooter. Despite being a guard, he has no range whatsoever (was 4-26 from behind the arc last year), and he shot a meager 39% from the field. Gordon is a big factor in Stetson's inefficiency, because not only does he play 30+ minutes per game, he also takes a ton of shots (most attempts on the team in '04-'05).

Holloman was the team's best shooter last year, though his role in the offense was/is pretty limited. It's the Gordon & Register Show; Holloman just gives 'em the ball and takes a jumper here and there.

Hollingsworth is the third scoring option. The real question mark is the center spot. Hirst didn't play very much last season; also expected to play that position is Chief Kickingstallionsims (seriously), who, his profile tells us, has the longest last name in school and A-Sun basketball history. His name means "strength of the fallen rocks." He played a grand total of 69 minutes last season.

So there you have it. Gordon and Register will hoist shots without mercy, and by halftime we should have the foundation laid for a new computer lab or something.