NC State 68, Alabama 64
Now that I've watched the game for a second time (yay 3:00 AM replays) and had several hours to chill out, it's time for some game notes.
In order to keep the proper perspective, I think it's important to remember that Alabama is one of the better teams at not sending opponents to the free throw line (see preview for their FTA/FGA and corresponding national ranks). Alabama played a lot of zone, which limited State's opportunities close to the basket and led to 30 three-point attempts. Do those two things fully explain the lack of FTAs for the Pack tonight? Of course not. Just understand that there is some basis for Alabama opponents shooting a low number of free throws.
While some might also argue that NC State is a perimeter-oriented team that doesn't normally draw a lot of fouls anyway, this is not accurate. Last season, for instance, NC State was 5th in the ACC in the FTA/FGA category. By no means is NC State a team that typically struggles to generate free throw attempts.
I suppose my frustration isn't with the no-calls themselves, but rather with the inconsistency shown by the officials. I accept that a good portion of the fouls called on NC State were legitimate, but there were also several calls of the ticky tack variety, and these calls were not being administered at both ends.
If the referees decide they want to call a game especially tight or especially loose, that's fine.
As long as there is consistency.
Circumstances being what they were, I found the game painful to watch. I could only watch about 5-6 minutes of game time before my frustration level became such that I had to turn it off. I probably missed 20% of the game because of this, but I was able to keep my sanity and not break anything, so I think I came out ahead. I did sit through it all during my second viewing, though.
-- I noted in the preview that Alabama's defense wasn't very good at causing turnovers, and that proved true tonight. NC State only turned it over nine times, which amounted to a turnover rate of 15.6%. Unfortunately, the Pack had no advantage in this category--Alabama also had nine turnovers.
-- Three-pointers saved the day. NC State's eFG%: .560. Bama's eFG%: .480.
-- NC State had its best offensive rebounding performance since the Appalachain State game, grabbing 34.4% of available offensive boards. The Tide grabbed 40%.
-- This is the slowest-paced game NC State has played all season. Each team only had about 58 possessions. Both teams posted OFF EFFs above 110.
-- Evtimov continues to shoot brilliantly from behind the arc. I wonder: has the fact that his knees are finally healthy made for an improved jump shot?
-- Alabama has some pretty glaring depth issues. Gottfried was forced to lean on most of his starters because the bench is sketchy once you get past Richard Hendrix. And Hendrix offers depth in the one place they don't need it--the frontcourt.