Saturday, January 31, 2009

Liveblog! UNC @ NC State

Friday, January 30, 2009

I really didn't need this today.

Is CJ Leslie sure?

C.J. Leslie, a 6-foot-9 junior forward at Word of God Christian Academy, sounds like a young man who would like to keep his options open on where he'll go to college.

Leslie verbally committed to N.C. State after his freshman year of high school.

After sitting out Word of God's victory over Flora McDonald a week ago because of a sprained ankle, he was asked whether the early commitment made the college process easier because he didn't have to worry about it, or gave him more time to think about whether that's what he really wants to do.

"A little of both," Leslie said. "I mean, it has its ups and its downs. I feel like I did commit as a ninth-grader, so it was a bit early. Just committing so early, you don’t really have a chance to see other colleges and know what you really want."

On whether he was taking any other college visits, he said: "Not right now. I’m just focusing on basketball. I feel like if it comes up, it’ll be time [to deal with it]."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Previewing North Carolina

2009 Scouting Report/Schedule
2009 Game Plan
2009 Stats (pdf)
2009 Roster

North Carolina Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate18.752
Off Reb Rate42.41
North Carolina Offense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate17.727
Off Reb Rate40.017

In conference play:

       Off_Eff (Rk)   eFG% (Rk)   TO% (Rk)    OR% (Rk)    FTR (Rk)
2008 113.8 (1) 51.0 (7) 19.4 (6) 43.0 (1) 37.3 (6)
2009 109.7 (1) 46.8 (7) 19.5 (5) 42.4 (1) 42.2 (3)

Offensive efficiency and shooting in particular are down league-wide, from 104.4 and 50.2%, respectively, to 101.2 and 47.2%. The Heels are no exception to the decline. Carolina shot the ball well in the non-conference portion of the schedule, but they've shot well under 50% in four of six conference games. Their main issue is two-point accuracy, which has dropped considerably of late:

           2FG%   3FG%
Non-Conf 56.5 38.7
In-Conf 44.4 35.0

That being the case, it's fair to assume that the forwards aren't getting it done in the paint, and that is indeed true. Deon Thompson, with a 34.0 2FG% against ACC opponents, is off to a terrible start and Ed Davis, at 45.5%, hasn't been much better. Even Sir Studly is making a mere 44% of his twos.

But UNC has consistently grabbed offensive boards in bunches--twice they've grabbed 50% of their misses (BC, FSU)--and with a low TO% and high FT rate, they're cashing in second opportunities. It's telling that despite their issues shooting the basketball, they've yet to be held under a point per possession by an ACC opponent.

Obviously, defensive rebounding is a huge key for the Pack--true in any game, but especially so in this one. We really, really can't afford to give second chances to a team that has talent out the ass--not if we're to entertain any thoughts of keeping this thing close.


Ty Lawson (5-11, 195) -- Scoring with great efficiency from everywhere on the court. His outside shooting has gotten better with each successive season, as have his turnover and free throw rates. His assist rate ranks in the top 15 nationally.

Wayne Ellington (6-4, 200) -- Taking a team-high 25.3% of the shots in ACC play, with those shots split about 50-50 between twos and threes.

Danny Green (6-6, 210) -- Normally this is the part where I lament the fact that Green isn't getting as much playing time as he deserves, which, along with recognizing Quentin Thomas's hidden awesome, had become an annual tradition. But now that Marcus Ginyard is out of the way, Green has been free to make the contributions he's been capable of making for years. Had he gone anywhere else, we'd be talking about a multi-year starter who's earned multiple all-conference nods. For all the talk of Ginyard's defensive impact, Green's steal rate has always been comparable, and he is a much better shot blocker. And he's always been the far superior player at the offensive end.

This is what Green did against the ACC as a freshman, compared to this season:

       ORtg   %Poss   %Shots   eFG%   Pts/40   Rebs/40   Ast/40   Blk/40   %Min
FR 107.9 23.4 27.0 50.5 19.5 9.8 2.8 2.7 38.3
SR 118.8 20.7 21.7 53.2 19.2 8.3 4.2 2.8 72.1

Deon Thompson (6-8, 245) -- No Tar Heel starter has struggled like Thompson in conference play, who has an offensive rating below 90 and has seen his role decrease as a result. In addition to poorer shooting from the field, he's also gotten worse at the line, and his rebounding is down as well. But he has at least done a good job of minimizing turnovers.

Tyler Hansbrough (6-9, 250) -- Despite not earning a single free throw attempt against FSU last night (mind blowing!), Hansbrough is still averaging 12.6 FTAs/40 in ACC play and is earning three FTAs for every four field goal attempts.


Roy Williams has maintained a tight rotation in league play--Ed Davis (6-10, 215), Bobby Frasor (6-3, 210), Larry Drew II (6-1, 180), and Will Graves (6-6, 245) have played in all six games, but only Davis and Frasor average double-digit minutes.

Whenever I see #11 on the floor, I think, "hey, it's QT time!" and then I quickly realize it's Larry Drew, and a little part of me dies. Apparently 11 was not retired during the off-season--an oversight of Blylevenesque proportions, if you ask me.

Collectively, Frasor, Drew, and Graves are shooting 27.1% from three. Frasor, a noted White Sox enthusiast, has really struggled in what little action he's seen; his 39.5 eFG% is a team-low.

Ed Davis should be an excellent low-post contributor in the future, and he's already the team's best rebounder at both ends as well as its best shot blocker.

North Carolina Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate20.7179
Off Reb Rate28.722
North Carolina Defense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate22.0106
Off Reb Rate31.095

In conference play:

       Def_Eff (Rk)   eFG% (Rk)   TO% (Rk)    OR% (Rk)    FTR (Rk)
2008 99.0 (3) 48.2 (2) 18.7 (8) 29.7 (2) 27.3 (1)
2009 97.6 (4) 45.2 (3) 18.9 (9) 36.6 (5) 28.1 (4)

The Pomeroy Predictor likes UNC by 14. That seems a bit generous to the Pack.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

NC State 84, Miami 81

Box Score

NC State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate14.2
Off Reb Rate10.3
Four Factors
Turnover Rate17.0
Off Reb Rate39.5

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
Miami 81 70.4 115.1 119.3
NCSU 84 70.4 119.3 115.1

-- In the seven conference games NC State has played against Miami since they joined the ACC, the Wolfpack is 70-148 (47.3%) from outside. We've hit at least 10 threes against the Canes five times, including last night.

-- That's the highest eFG% we've posted against an ACC opponent in almost two years.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Good Press For Keim, NC State

From Yahoo!:

“Steve has been an absolutely key component to our success,” says Arizona general manager Rod Graves, who has spent the last six years methodically reshaping one of the NFL’s more underrated player-evaluation operations. “We’ve worked together very closely to develop the system that we have in place, and I can’t say enough about his contribution to what we’ve built.”

Quietly, the Cards have enjoyed as much drafting success in recent years as any team in the league. Before last April’s draft, Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune did a study on draft success which found that over the previous five years – since Graves had taken charge of Arizona’s draft – 18 of 33 players picked by the Cardinals had become NFL starters, a league high.


With his thick build and clean-shaven head, Keim is an animated figure in pre-draft meetings and in the war room, never more so than when Wilson – the former Wolfpack safety to whom he had remained close, and now an established NFL star – slipped into the third round in 2001.

“We had such a high grade on him, and we never anticipated he’d be there,” Keim recalls. “Some of us had recommended taking him in the second round, and when he was still there in the third my anxiety level was going through the roof. My bald head was turning the shade of an apple, and I’m thinking, ‘There’s no way this big, fast, explosive safety is gonna be there with the 64th pick.’ I couldn’t even think straight, and when our turn came, we couldn’t hand in the card fast enough.”

More from ESPN.

Previewing Miami

2009 Scouting Report/Schedule
2009 Game Plan
2009 Stats (pdf)
2009 Roster

Miami Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate19.056
Off Reb Rate36.158
Miami Offense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate19.077
Off Reb Rate41.19

All of Miami's important pieces returned for 2009, and the guys they did lose--in particular, the offensively-challenged Anthony King--weren't of much use to last year's squad. All that experience, led by Jack McClinton's reliable production, made the Hurricanes a solid bet to improve. With the underrated Dwayne Collins replacing King, it seemed especially likely that they'd be a better two-point shooting team, at the least. But that has not happened, they remain middling from the field in general, and look like they're headed for another 8-8 type year.

Collins has done his part, but he hasn't been nearly as involved in the offense as he should be (it's an outrage, really). The rest of the forwards just haven't been any help:

Collins 62.2
Thomas 58.3
Asbury 47.0
Graham 46.9
Gamble 41.9
Jones 39.1
McGowan 38.9

I don't know how you can be as tall as Cyrus McGowan is (6-9) and not make at least 40% of your shots. He is a strong Ibekwe Award candidate here in the early going.

They may not be scoring effectively, but they are rebounding the hell out of the ball. Five Miami forwards have offensive rebounding percentages at 10% or higher, which is damn impressive and downright scary. Sidney Lowe has been noncommittal about starting the game with his big lineup, but I think that's what we're going to see tonight. The Hurricanes are plenty capable of pounding us like Boston College did.


Lance Hurdle (6-2, 183) -- Should probably just stop taking shots inside the arc:
       2FG%   3FG%
2008 30.8 34.1
2009 35.9 36.6

His assist rate is modest but he takes pretty good care of the ball and does a decent job of getting to the line.

Jack McClinton (6-1, 185) -- As always, it's McClinton's show. He's taking 31.6% of Miami's shots in conference play; none of the other starters are taking even an average proportion (20%) of the shots.

Brian Asbury (6-7, 221) -- A threat to score inside or out, though he has never been an efficient producer in the paint.

Dwayne Collins (6-8, 238) -- With 143 FTAs to 119 FGAs, Collins is the nation's leader in free throw rate, and it's not close. Making matters worse, he's become a more reliable shooter from the stripe. It's criminal that this man is taking just 16.9% of the shots (though that's up to 18.2% in conference play). He's shooting better than 60%, he draws fouls in bunches, and he's a phenomenal offensive rebounder. Feed Dwayne Collins!

Jimmy Graham (6-8, 256) -- Is likely to start but not likely to get a lot of minutes or be much of a factor offensively. Good rebounder at both ends, good shot blocker.


Frank Haith has maintained a deep rotation--James Dews (6-4, 209), Cyrus McGowan (6-9, 236), DeQuan Jones (6-6, 217), and Adrian Thomas (6-7, 227) are each getting double-digit minutes every night. Haith certainly isn't lacking forwards.

Dews was an effective three-point shooter a year ago, but not so in 2009. Hasn't stopped him from firing away, though.

Jones has been awful in league play, while Thomas has been outstanding as a three-point specialist, and McGowan is showing some signs of a turnaround.

Miami Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate20.3198
Off Reb Rate34.2236
Miami Defense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate18.4294
Off Reb Rate31.3106

Miami has consistently been one of the ACC's worst defensive teams since joining the conference, and that's not likely to change in 2009. They were competent against the OOC portion of the schedule, and that's reflected in the scouting report, but ACC foes are exposing them. In conference play, they rank 12th in overall defensive efficiency, 12th in eFG% defense, 11th in TO%, 9th in DR%, and their perimeter defense is as lax as we've come to expect.

And that has to be frustrating for Miami basketball fan(s), because they have the kind of offense that can take them a long way. It's their inability to get stops that limits their ceiling year after year. If you can't play good D, chances are you won't be doing much damage in March.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Early In-Conference Numbers

Now that we're about a third of the way through conference play, let's take a look at how things are stacking up:

          Off_Eff (Rk)      Def_Eff (Rk)       Margin
Duke 109.7 (2) 78.0 (1) 31.7
UNC 110.9 (1) 97.1 (3) 13.8
Wake 105.6 (6) 97.1 (4) 8.5
FSU 100.3 (7) 96.6 (2) 3.7
Clem 100.3 (8) 97.2 (5) 3.1
VT 105.7 (4) 106.3 (8) -0.6
BC 106.1 (3) 109.0 (10) -2.9
Miami 105.7 (5) 112.3 (12) -6.6
UMD 90.7 (11) 99.8 (7) -7.8
UVA 99.3 (9) 109.7 (11) -10.4
GT 88.1 (12) 98.5 (6) -10.4
NCSU 94.4 (10) 108.8 (9) -14.4

In raw terms, the Pack's defense has improved on last year's performance by five points and some change but the offense has dropped off by about the same amount, so the net is an efficiency margin very similar to 2008's. Which not surprisingly has us looking like the worst team in the ACC once again.

The offense:

       Off_Eff (Rk)   eFG% (Rk)    TO% (Rk)    OR% (Rk)    FTR (Rk)   2FG%   3FG%
2008 100.9 (10) 52.2 (4) 23.8 (12) 29.7 (12) 39.7 (4) 48.4 39.7
2009 94.4 (10) 45.7 (10) 25.4 (11) 37.0 (7) 35.6 (5) 46.6 29.1

It figures that when we finally start rebounding reasonably well at the offensive end, we start shooting the ball considerably worse. We have not shot well inside or out, but the disappearance of our three-point production is especially glaring. Courtney Fells, who is off to a 3-21 start, is killing us. And Dennis Horner, now 0-7 from three in five games, still has no idea where he left his jumper freshman year. (Yes, he checked the glove compartment.)

But this team has established a track record of good shooting, so they should come around. As for turnovers, surely it cannot get worse than this:

PGs         TO%
Degand 43.2
Mays 38.7
Gonzalez 70.3

[Bonus Macrowave note: Tracy Smith remains a huge chunk of the offense when he's on the floor, and he leads the team in FGA/40 minutes, FTA/40 minutes, Pts/40, Blks/40, and turnover percentage. He's also been the second-most productive rebounder behind McCauley.]


       Def_Eff (Rk)   eFG% (Rk)    TO% (Rk)    OR% (Rk)    FTR (Rk)   2FG%   3FG%
2008 114.1 (12) 52.5 (11) 16.5 (11) 36.4 (10) 32.1 (2) 48.7 42.2
2009 108.8 (9) 49.5 (9) 19.1 (6) 41.2 (11) 30.1 (6) 46.3 40.0

Small improvements here and there, but I'm not ready to buy any of it yet.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Boston College 79, NC State 68

Box Score (pdf)

NC State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate15.4
Off Reb Rate29.4
Boston College
Four Factors
Turnover Rate20.1
Off Reb Rate59.5

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
BC 79 64.8 122.0 105.0
NCSU 68 64.8 105.0 122.0

Courtney Fells grabbed zero rebounds in 31 minutes, which tells you all you need to know about both his effort and the team's.

N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe has been reluctant to use all three big men at the same time, for fatigue reasons, but he had no choice after State was pounded 29-15 on the glass in the first half.

"That group played well for us," Lowe said. "That's something we have to take a look at in the beginning, so we don't get in a hole and give up 15 offensive rebounds."

The Eagles finished the game with a 46-25 rebounding edge and grabbed 22 offensive rebounds.

Smith said Lowe called his players "soft" at halftime and said they were getting "punked" in the first half by a BC team that ranks ninth in the ACC in rebounding margin.

"He was kinda mad but he was challenging us," Smith said.

Sounds like we're going to see more Macrowave.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Liveblog! NC State @ Boston College

Friday, January 23, 2009

Liveblog -- DeFilippo-Mandated Fun Edition

It should be...something.

Previewing Boston College

2009 Scouting Report/Schedule
2009 Game Plan
2009 Stats (pdf)
2009 Roster

Boston College Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate22.0236
Off Reb Rate35.478
Boston College Offense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate18.142
Off Reb Rate39.126

Boston College was one of the ACC's younger teams in 2008, relying on several freshmen to play significant minutes, so it's not too surprising that they had trouble hanging onto the basketball. But they progressed as the year went along, and it looks like they've been able to carry that over to 2009. They remain very young, but the difference is they're relying on a group of experienced sophomores rather than green first-year players.

Tyrese Rice took almost 30% of BC's shots in '08 and led the ACC in that category; in the early stages of this season, however, he took a more passive role, perhaps recognizing that this year's squad had the pieces to provide a more balanced attack. Since they've gotten into conference play, though, Rice has reasserted himself at the offensive end, taking a team-high 28.5% of the shots. In their first five conference games, they've essentially been a three-pronged attack, with Rice, Rakim Sanders, and Joe Trapani providing the bulk of the production.


Tyrese Rice (6-1, 190) --

Rakim Sanders (6-5, 225) -- A big drain on the offense in 2008, especially in conference play where he shot 46.6% while taking over 25% of the shots; couple the poor/bulk shooting with a 25.0 turnover rate and you've got a hell of a possession killer. He's cut down a bit on the turnovers, though they remain an issue for him, and he's making more shots inside the arc and from the free throw line. He's also getting it going from outside after a slow start, and has been the team's best three-point shooter in ACC play.

Corey Raji (6-6, 214) -- The ACC's third best offensive rebounder and the only guy under 6-7 to crack the top 20. He is not so good at the defensive end, though--much like BC in general. He is struggling to hit his twos in conference play, but he should come around. Has the lowest TO% on the team.

Joe Trapani (6-8, 218) -- For some reason, I keep wanting to call him Joe Timpani. Also, I feel that a timpani roll should precede every one of his free throw attempts. Trapani transferred to Boston College after a strong freshman debut at Vermont in 2007; he immediately became one of BC's primary contributors and transitioned smoothly during the pre-conference slate. If his first five ACC games are any indication, however, he may not be ready to handle a big workload against major-conference competition.

Josh Southern (6-10, 242) -- An efficient--abeit infrequent--scorer in 2008, he's slumping badly so far this season. He's shooting under 30% in conference play and his rebounding has been non-existant.


In a rotation that's been shortened of late, Reggie Jackson (6-3, 193) and Cortney Dunn (6-8, 234) are the only guys seeing significant time. Apparently just doing this college basketball thing for the free meals, Dunn is using a microscopic 4.8% of BC's possessions.

Boston College Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate17.7317
Off Reb Rate35.6284
Boston College Defense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate18.8281
Off Reb Rate35.4258

Boston College's defensive numbers in ACC play last season:

DefEff (Rk) eFG% (Rk) TO% (Rk) OR% (Rk) FTR (Rk)

111.1 (11) 50.2 (7) 15.4 (12) 36.1 (9) 32.7 (3)

They were terrible and they remain terrible. Conference foes have posted a collective 109.7 OFF EFF against the Eagles and have totally pulverized them on the glass, grabbing 43.6 of their own misses.

So here, finally, is a break for the Wolfpack. Their FG% D is nothing special, they don't force turnovers, and their defensive rebounding is, as noted, awful. (This is another opportunity to beat a dead horse, which, in the case of rebounding, I never mind doing. The Eagles rank 26th in OR% and 258th in DR%--remember, every rebound needs an adjective.)

The Pomeroy Predictor likes BC by five.

Bunting Talks About Recruiting Puff Thomas, AJ Davis

In addition to revealing that he's working on a book (great news for Chuck Amato, no doubt), John Bunting offered a couple of stories from the recruiting trail to the ACC Sports Journal. Re: Puff Thomas:

James Webster was the recruiting coach on Thomas. Isaiah was the son of a preacher. He had a great family. Rev. Thomas was very dynamic. Webster and I actually attended a service that Reverend Thomas conducted. People were getting charged up during the service and sometimes they would get up and take off and run around. At one point I felt like getting up and running around myself, it was so exciting.

I remember when the offering plate got passed, I think I put a $20 bill in there and I looked over and Webster’s writing a check. I was wondering to myself, “I wonder how much he’s writing that for,” and “I wonder if this is NCAA legal?”

That explains the church's new James Webster Children's Biblical Studies annex.

Re: AJ Davis:

I think we had him all the way, for close to a month as a commitment. When it got down to the final weekend, we had already had him over for an official visit. We were trying to get him over for one more unofficial visit.

That weekend was the weekend of the Super Bowl. Starting on Friday afternoon, we couldn’t find him. I don’t think he was at school so the high school coach didn’t know where he was. There was no record of him being there. Saturday we couldn’t find him. Sunday, the day of the Super Bowl, we couldn’t find him. Signing Day is coming up on Wednesday.

Monday comes around, we can’t find him. Tuesday … he has disappeared. He has gone off the radar screen. We have no idea where he is, we can’t find him and obviously we are worried sick about what’s going on.

We came to find out, this was the infamous Chuck Amato “Come to me” signing over the telephone to A.J. and getting him over on campus. We later found that A.J. possibly went off campus with either other recruits or other players, to watch the Super Bowl at some undisclosed location. We were hot that all of that had taken place and now we’re going into Wednesday morning, Signing Day. Of course his scholarship papers never showed up for us. They showed up over in Raleigh.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Duke 73, NC State 56

Box Score

NC State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate31.4
Off Reb Rate50.0
Four Factors
Turnover Rate13.2
Off Reb Rate32.3

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
Duke 73 60.5 120.7 92.6
NCSU 56 60.5 92.6 120.7

-- Duke shot 88.5% in the second half, allowing them to score infinity billion points (give or take) per possession in the final 20 minutes. We're somewhat to blame for a lazy defensive effort (which I thought was awful all night; they just happened to miss their open shots in the opening period), but it was also typical Duke doing their hey we're playing State so let's get preposterously hot and make Steven want to hurt puppies thing. And I love puppies!

-- With the Wolfpack down three and the game clearly slipping away, Tracy Smith finally blew some shit up in the form of a bucket and a foul; unfortunately, he missed the free throw and failed to spark anyone else on the team, as NC State shot 1-10 and committed five turnovers over the last eight minutes. Three consecutive turnovers between the 5:07 and 4:08 marks decisively shifted the answer to the question "are we doomed?" from "most likely" to "holy god yes please let this end."

-- Those last eight minutes reminded me of this game.

-- The turnover percentages in our first four ACC games: 27.8, 23.6, 28.6, 31.4. Ken Tysiac noted this last night:

How bad was N.C. State's start? Thanks to three straight turnovers by Farnold Degand to open the game, the ball didn't cross the 3-point arc on the side of the court the Wolfpack was attacking for the game's first 2 minutes, 12 seconds.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Liveblog! NC State @ Duke

Liveblog -- Always Crush Me Edition

See you at 8.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Previewing Duke

2009 Scouting Report/Schedule
2009 Game Plan
2009 Stats
2009 Roster

Duke Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate18.128
Off Reb Rate33.8131
Duke Offense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate19.8116
Off Reb Rate40.713

No one is quite sure when it happened, but we know that at some point earlier in the decade, Coach K put his master plan in motion. That plan: build a cracker-powered juggernaut of epically honky proportions. Though they are not yet satisfied, it would seem that the Blue Devils have reached their goal. Led shrewdly and with great petulance, this self-congratulatory bunch has hugged it out straight to the top of the Pomeroy Ratings. High five, dudes!

Excessive ass smack and chest-bump-heavy celebration, atta boys and let's goes, floor slaps and hand claps--these are the pillars of success in the time of K. I cannot imagine anything more loathsome.


Nolan Smith (6-2, 185) -- Surpassed Greg Paulus on the depth chart, and it's easy to see why: he's much better off the dribble and doesn't need to hand check constantly in order to stay in front of his man at the defensive end. He's become someone the Blue Devils rely on to score--he takes 22.6% of the shots when he's on the floor, which is the third-highest workload on the team.

Jon Scheyer (6-5, 185) -- Driving the lane with his mouth agape, Scheyer accidentally swallowed a disoriented hummingbird in Duke's November 23rd game against Montana, which earned him a strongly-worded reprimand from PETA.

Gerald Henderson (6-4, 215) -- Both his FT% and 3FG% are way up in 2009; his new-found three-point accuracy has been particularly important for a team that's struggled from outside to this point. Henderson is one of just two Blue Devils shooting above 33.3% beyond the arc.

Kyle Singler (6-8, 235) -- Building on a fine freshman campaign, Singler has improved in a number areas to become one of the more diverse contributors in the ACC. He's rebounding better at both ends, getting to the line more often, dishing more assists, while maintaining the scoring efficiency he displayed a year ago despite increasing his involvement in the offense.

Brian Zoubek (7-1, 280) -- He remains as foul prone as ever (7.1/40min) but otherwise appears to have taken a step forward. In a bigger role, Zoubek is shooting 62% and would be the ACC's leading offensive rebounder if he had enough minutes to qualify.


Greg Paulus (6-1, 185), Lance Thomas (6-8, 220), Elliot Williams (6-4, 180), and David McClure (6-6, 215) round out the guys averaging double-digit minutes.

A look at Greg Paulus's interesting career path:

      %Min   %Shots   Ast%   TO%   3FGA/FGA   3FG%
2006 80.5 11.9 26.1 32.8 36.3 31.4
2007 80.0 20.3 23.5 27.1 53.0 45.0
2008 69.1 19.4 19.9 17.2 70.3 42.3
2009 43.4 16.5 13.0 19.5 80.3 33.3

He seems like more of a two-guard these days, and it isn't uncommon to see him playing alongside Nolan Smith, with Smith handling the point duties. As he's transformed from distributor to more of a three-point specialist, not surprisingly, both his assist and turnover rates have declined.

Lance Thomas does not contribute often, but he's scoring more efficiently than at any other point in his career, and he's managed to avoid killing a lot of possessions with turnovers. He is every rebound needs an adjective personified--very good at the offensive end, terrible at the defensive end.

Duke Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate24.517
Off Reb Rate33.8216
Duke Defense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate24.230
Off Reb Rate30.376

Defensively, the Devils are doing what they always do: they stick to opponents like Karl Hess-approved glue, utterly depriving them of three-pointers, or anything else, really. And they don't foul (apparently). In terms of effective height, this is one of the taller Duke teams in recent memory, and their 2FG% defense is outstanding. They force plenty of turnovers--Singler, Scheyer, and Smith all rank in the top 300 in steal percentage.

In three conference games, this is what State's offense has done:

OffEff   eFG%    TO%   OR%   FTR
91.7 44.2 26.7 35.8 39.9

A struggling offense--perhaps the ACC's worst here in early conference play--going up against what might be the ACC's best defense is about as lopsided as it gets.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes Duke by 22.

Timely Floor Slap Keys Duke Victory

After a Georgetown rally, Duke answered, as it always does, with passion:

“I thought Greg that was by far his best performance this year,” Krzyzewski said. “What he showed was fight. He was playing really good defensively, he was attacking, and he was playing with emotion, huge boost. We don’t win the game without Greg today. No question about that.”

Midway through the second half, Paulus scored five points in the middle of a 15-3 Duke run that pushed the lead, which had been dwindled down to four by Georgetown, up to a 16 point advantage for the Blue Devils.

The senior point guard followed up a running floater in the lane with a 23-foot three, slapping the floor repeatedly after to fire up the Blue Devils on the defensive end.

With Duke on the horizon (also on horizon: agony!), this seems a good time to revisit the Hustle Pyramid:


Saturday, January 17, 2009

NC State 76, Georgia Tech 71

Box Score

NC State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate28.6
Off Reb Rate40.0
Georgia Tech
Four Factors
Turnover Rate28.6
Off Reb Rate44.4

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
GT 71 77.0 92.3 98.8
NCSU 76 77.0 98.8 92.3

-- Naturally Georgia Tech picked today to hit its outside jumpers and free throws. Naturally. I was so sure we were toast when Lewis Clinch hit a couple of threes late that I flipped over to watch the end of the Maryland/FSU game. Credit to the guys for a strong late rally, and this time, they finished.

-- I propose we play with ultimate frisbee rules from here on. No dribbling under any circumstances.

-- Note photo credit. I was wondering what Ken was doing perched up on the shot clock all afternoon.

-- I'm sure Tech was feeling pretty good when Brandon Costner fouled out, but little did they know that this played right into our hands. You don't want to wake the flaming tattoo.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's not quite the war eagle...

...but still, a parrot doing the wolf howl: that's awesome.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Previewing Georgia Tech

2009 Scouting Report/Schedule
2009 Game Plan
2009 Stats
2009 Roster

Georgia Tech Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate21.0179
Off Reb Rate34.4107
Georgia Tech Offense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate22.1236
Off Reb Rate37.154

        2008    2009
2FG% 51.5 49.1
3FG% 37.2 30.6
FT% 70.1 57.8
Led by their strong shooting, the 2008 Jackets finished the year ranked 33rd in adjusted offensive efficiency. They were the third-best shooting team in ACC play, behind Maryland and Duke. Whether by way of graduation or regression, however, they've lost their ability to score efficiently and are in the process of coming to terms with a grim new reality full of clanks and thuds.


Here at least, Tech's been able to stave off the precipitous decline they've seen elsewhere thanks largely to Gani Lawal and Alade Aminu. Both have stepped up their involvement considerably while also carrying over their efficient scoring.

Graduated: Jeremis Smith, who made 56.1% of his 205 two-point attempts in 2008, and D'Andre Bell, who shot 51.8%.

Oh, Great Timing: Zach Peacock didn't play a lot last season but was a significant part of the offense when he was on the court, taking 24.3% of the shots while maintaining a 55.4 2FG%. He's still that involved this season, and getting more minutes to boot, but his effectiveness is way down: he's made just 48.9% of his twos.


Graduated: Anthony Morrow: 81-181 (44.8%); Matt Causey: 36-85 (42.4%).

Style Crisis: Maurice Miller shot well from outside as a freshman in 2008, but he started 2009 in a terrible slump and then got hurt, basically leaving the Jackets without their three most reliable outside shooters from a year ago. Miller is back now and, encouragingly, hit all three of his three-point attempts against Duke.

Hewitt's club needs the additional threat, because at this point, it's about the most one-dimensional team in the country; not only do the Jackets shoot poorly from three, they hardly ever bother to attempt them--21.5% of their field goal attempts come from beyond the arc, a proportion that ranks 339th. That sure simplifies the opponent's defensive game plan.

Which brings me to Lewis Clinch:

       3FGA/40   3FG%
FR/SO 6.7 43.9
JR/SR 7.3 31.4

As someone who has been a good three-point shooter in the past but is admittedly hurting the team of late, can you afford to ask him to scale it back a bit? Someone has to try to keep the defense honest.


"You have got to be kidding me. That's three airballed free throws this half."

*sheds single tear; urge to kill rises exponentially*

"No, you know what, no, Gani, go to the goddamn locker room. You see this?
You see what you've done? That was so fucking awful, I'm eating my own
goddamn tie just to get the bad taste out of my mouth."

Georgia Tech Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate21.8124
Off Reb Rate35.2265
Georgia Tech Defense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate21.3150
Off Reb Rate29.758

Like Florida State, they're big. Time to find out if we learned anything.

I'm curious to see what happens when two teams that "don't know how to win" play each other. I hope the universe doesn't implode.

Familiar Struggles

Replace Paul Hewitt with Sidney Lowe and Lawal with a player of your choosing:

“That’s who we are,” coach Paul Hewitt said. “Right now we’re not good enough to win those type of games.”

Hewitt spoke with disgust about the turnovers.

“I thought the majority came from us being soft with the basketball,” he said. “We were very timid. They trapped us, bumped us a little bit, and the ball squirted out of our hands or we rushed a pass.”


“We just gave it up toward the end,” Lawal said. “When it’s crunch time, we’ve got to man-up.”

Those comments came after Georgia Tech committed 28 turnovers in College Park and blew a double-digit second half lead. Maryland shot 34.9% and rebounded just 25% of its numerous misses...and still won.

Prior to Tech's game against Duke last night, Coach K offered this backhanded compliment:

“What I see with them is how many offensive rebounds they’ve gotten. I think a missed shot for them is actually a part of their offense. They have those three big kids that go to the boards and do such a terrific job on the boards. I think they’re one of the best rebounding teams in the country.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

FSU 78, NC State 65

Box Score

NC State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate23.6
Off Reb Rate31.4
Four Factors
Turnover Rate17.7
Off Reb Rate39.3

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
FSU 78 67.7 115.2 96.0
NCSU 65 67.7 96.0 115.2

Sidney Lowe:

"Tracy and Dennis had played a lot of minutes. You're looking for your veteran guys to come back in and finish the game. As most teams do, bring your guys back in to finish the ball game. That's what we were looking for. It didn't happen."

That's neither reasonable nor fair under the circumstances, but I guess Sid was just continuing the point he'd been making to Costner and McCauley as they sat on the bench in the second half.

We lost the game, but let's talk about the real tragedy here: over the course of the ESPNU telecast, I was compelled to buy a ShamWow, a Save-A-Blade, the Big City Slider, binoculars, and a laptop stand. Damn you, Billy Mays!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Previewing Florida State

2009 Scouting Report/Schedule
2009 Game Plan
2009 Stats (pdf)
2009 Roster

Florida State Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate21.8228
Off Reb Rate33.4147
Florida State Offense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate23.9300
Off Reb Rate36.862

After enduring the ugly affair that was NC State/Clemson, I flipped over to Duke/FSU hoping for something that was at least mildly entertaining, if not competitive. Instead, I got a game that was every bit as unpleasant to watch, as the two teams combined to shoot 24% in the first half and scored 33 points between them. (The UNC/Wake game on Sunday was so contrastingly beautiful, I nearly cried.)

I should have known better, because the Seminoles haven't done anything pretty all season. Now that Isaiah Swann, Jason Rich, and Ralph Mims are gone (along with the inimitable Matt Zitani), Florida State has little in the way of reliable contributors outside of Toney Douglas. They've transformed from one of the shorter teams in the conference to one of the tallest, and while that's paid dividends at the defensive end, their reliance on leftover spare parts and an unremarkable group of freshmen hasn't been so good for the offense, which is the ACC's worst.

Their shooting down across the board--inside, outside, from the line--and their turnover rate is awful. They're grabbing more offensive boards and drawing fouls more frequently with their forward-heavy lineup, but that's done little to compensate for those other deficiencies.


Toney Douglas (6-2, 200)
-- Out of necessity, Douglas's usage is way up in 2009--he's taking 30.2% of the shots, which is the highest figure in the ACC. And he's handled it about as well as anyone could expect. While there can be no doubt that he will carve us up, the good news is that the players to whom he dishes the ball aren't likely to make us feel too bad about it.

Jordan DeMercy (6-7, 208) -- Taking only 12.8% of the shots, which is good since he's shooting 43.7% and sports a turnover percentage north of 36%.

Chris Singleton (6-9, 220)
-- The bright spot among FSU's freshmen, Singleton has already established himself as a solid contributor. He's a versatile inside/outside scorer and a good offensive rebounder. The TO% is a little high, and his two-point shooting isn't where it needs to be, but in the context of this team, both figures are acceptable.

Ryan Reid (6-8, 235) -- It's astounding that Reid is third on the team in minutes. His usage is modest, but it's way up from the previous two seasons, and it's killed his scoring efficiency. He is and has always been a turnover waiting to happen.

Solomon Alabi (7-1, 241) -- The team's best rebounder and a big time shot blocker.


Derwin Kitchen (6-4, 180)
, Uche Echefu (6-9, 225), Luke Loucks (6-5, 205), and Deividas Dulkys (6-5, 195) are the bench players who average double-digits for Leonard Hamilton.

The Noles could really use a big senior season from Uche Echefu, but instead, his two-point shooting and rebounding have fallen off, and he's been somewhat lost in the shuffle of forwards.

Kitchen, a juco transfer who sat out the first nine games, has been pretty good since getting himself into the lineup. Taking 23.1% of the shots--second on the team to Douglas--Kitchen is shooting 56.4%, which is a team-high. Florida State desperately needs that sort of contribution.

Florida State Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate22.674
Off Reb Rate34.1227
Florida State Defense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate23.163
Off Reb Rate34.3211

Although they probably aren't good enough offensively to get themselves into the NCAAs, the Seminoles play legitimately outstanding defense, and that's going to present them with a lot of winnable games in conference play. It won't be pretty, but they'll be in games. Take a look at what they've done against the top 30 offenses they've faced:

        AvgOffEff    OffEff vs.FSU
Cal 114.5 98.8
Florida 117.1 85.7
Pitt 116.4 83.8
Duke 114.3 98.0

All four usually shoot comfortably above 50%; none did so against Florida State. Only three FSU opponents have managed to shoot 50% or better, and only three opponents have managed better than a point per possession--none above 1.07.

FSU's disruptive D ranks in the top 25 in both steal percentage (22) and block percentage (6). Needless to say, they're going to be a big challenge for the Wolfpack.

(Check out James's take on the game also.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Clemson 63, NC State 51

Box Score (pdf)

NC State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate27.8
Off Reb Rate35.9
Four Factors
Turnover Rate13.9
Off Reb Rate27.8

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
Clem 63 64.8 97.2 78.7
NCSU 51 64.8 78.7 97.2

The Pack held Clemson to its lowest eFG% and OR% of the season, and the Tigers scored less than a point per possession for just the third time in 16 games. So there's that.

There's also this:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Liveblog! NC State @ Clemson

Friday, January 09, 2009

Hangover Theater Starring Ray Dungeon

The liveblog action kicks off bright and early, as Ray Dungeon battles his arch-nemesis, Score Fluently.

In other Dungeon-related news, when I googled that name, I found this:

Chicago is a main character in the book Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover, a former Chicago private investigator.

In this debut novel, Chercover introduces us to private eye Ray Dungeon.

He’s a disillusioned newspaper reporter turned gum shoe who takes us on an action-packed guided tour of the fictitious Chicago Outfit.

And you can bet Ray fucking Dungeon gets results.

(Turns out the character's name is actually Dudgeon, though. I'm a little bummed.)

Ferguson Will Play Saturday

Per the Herald-Sun (bugmenot):

Lowe said Friday that banged-up guards Courtney Fells, Javi Gonzalez and Trevor Ferguson expect to play in the Wolfpack's ACC opener at No. 12 Clemson.

Fells and Gonzalez have been battling ankle injuries, while Ferguson broke the ring finger on his left hand last month against Marquette.

Lowe said Farnold Degand will start at the point Saturday, but he expects to play multiple point guards simultaneously against the Tigers' high-pressure defense.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Previewing Clemson

2009 Scouting Report / 2009 Game Plan / 2008 Scouting Report
2009 Schedule / 2009 Stats
2009 Roster

Clemson Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate19.8101
Off Reb Rate39.49
Clemson Offense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate19.8109
Off Reb Rate39.926

Clemson's offense hasn't had a problem moving on without Cliff Hammonds and James Mays. Hammonds was an efficient scorer but the Tigers didn't lean on him for a lot of production (he took a modest 17.5% of the shots). Mays, meanwhile, was a valuable contributor at the defensive end but shot poorly and turned the ball over a lot at the offensive end; his offensive contributions are easily replaced and surpassed by Trevor Booker, who is now the go-to guy in the post.

Forwards* %Min %Shots 2FG%

Mays 56.9 20.8 50.0
Booker 65.2 19.1 56.8
Potter 38.7 17.5 46.1
Sykes 35.5 15.1 57.3

Forwards* %Min %Shots 2FG%

Booker 70.4 22.7 59.2
Sykes 54.8 19.2 60.0
Potter 47.9 15.1 44.4
Grant 35.5 12.5 81.6
(*Minimum 30% minutes played.)

A more efficient allocation of two-point attempts to the forwards who do the best job making them has helped the Tigers improve their 2FG% from 49.7% in '08 to 55.1% this season, but their weak schedule is partially responsible as well.


Demontez Stitt (6-2, 175) -- Not a lot went right for Stitt as a freshman last year--he turned the ball over often while combining poor shooting with too-frequent shooting. But he did a good job getting himself to the line, where he shot better than 76%. Looking at that FT%, if was a fair bet his outside shooting would come around, and it has (slightly). (Though his FT% is under 66% so far; maybe he doesn't have any touch after all.)

In 2009, Stitt is taking a much more appropriate 15% of the shots, down from 19.5%, and his efficiency has gone up with the decrease in workload. He continues to maintain an excellent FT rate--in fact, his is the highest among the starting five--but turnovers remain a problem.

Terrence Oglesby (6-2, 190) -- In 1+ seasons, Oglesby is averaging 12.4 3FGA/40min while hitting 40.8% of them. Scary outside shooter man. DO NOT WANT.

KC Rivers (6-5, 215) -- It's astounding how well he takes care of the ball year after year:
Rivers  TO% (Rk)
2007 11.6 (40)
2008 9.9 (17)
2009 8.1 (12)
How's he do that?

Trevor Booker (6-7, 240) -- Booker always seemed like a guy who could handle an above-average workload, and he's proving it this season. His TO% is down and his FT% up, two improvements he may not be able to maintain going forward. But he's always been a high-percentage scorer in the post, a good rebounder at both ends, and a great shot-blocker.

Raymond Sykes (6-9, 220) -- Best used in small doses since he turns the ball over a lot and is just not a skilled offensive player in general.


Jerai Grant (6-8, 220), David Potter (6-6, 205), Andre Young (5-9, 160), and Tanner Smith (6-5, 205) should all see time. None of them are likely to make anything but occasional contributions at the offensive end.

[Update: Quick addendum:
Young 11.6
Smith 9.0
Occasional is definitely not the right word to describe their contributions. Thanks for the correction, Tigers fans.]

But enough of that; there's anagrams to get to. Clemson might be the most anagramically awesome team in the ACC. For example:

Terrence Oglesby: Beer Gone, Let's Cry.

Demontez Stitt: Ditz To Test Men. Every Friday night, man.

Raymond Sykes: Yaks Syndrome. (Pray your cat does not get this.)

Andre Young: Ray Dungeon. When I think of Ray Dungeon, I think of a cross between Indiana Jones and Max Power. Dynamic, isn't it? Unassuming college student by day, swashbucklin', treasure-huntin', power-couplin' hero by night. If Andre Young doesn't use this alias when he checks into hotels, I'll be very disappointed.

Karolis Petrukonis: A Porkier Slut Oinks. I mean, this anagram right here...I'm awed.

Clemson Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate24.327
Off Reb Rate35.5276
Clemson Defense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate25.819
Off Reb Rate36.7267

In our first game against Clemson last year, we turned the ball over almost 37% of the time; in the second meeting, about 24%. Is there any reason to expect us to avoid death by turnover margin this time around? Alas, no.

Pomeroy Predictor likes the Tigers by 14.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bad Day For ACC's Creamy Center


Boston College
Four Factors
Turnover Rate21.8
Off Reb Rate40.5
Four Factors
Turnover Rate15.0
Off Reb Rate20.7

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
HU 82 73.3 111.9 95.5
BC 70 73.3 95.5 111.9

Four Factors
Turnover Rate26.4
Off Reb Rate40.8
Morgan State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate25.1
Off Reb Rate35.4

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
MSU 66 79.7 82.9 81.6
UMd 65 79.7 81.6 82.9

Brent Sutter has an inherent understanding of win probability.

Well, maybe not, but I'd never seen this before:

Already trailing by three by the time his club was awarded its first power play of the evening, head coach Brent Sutter got creative. He pulled goaltender Scott Clemmensen in favor of an extra skater, and the move paid off.

Carolina forward Justin Williams was slapped with a roughing call following a scrum in front of Hurricanes' netminder Cam Ward at 11:18, and Sutter brought Clemmensen to the bench with under eight minutes left in regulation.

The Devils capitalized on the improvised 6-on-4 advantage when Martin took Patrik Elias' cross-slot pass at the left dot to break up the shutout at 12:12. Martin's third of the season was his first goal in 20 games.

The Canes were called for another penalty shortly after that goal, and Sutter pulled the goalie again; didn't work the second time, and the Hurricanes got a couple of long-distance shots at the empty net that missed. Sutter won't always be so lucky with this strategy--that's if he ever does it again--but it strikes me as the kind of smart aggression that we should see more often in this situation--past the 10:00 mark in the 3rd, late in the game but not at the obvious goalie-pulling point, down multiple goals, on the power play. In terms of win probability, I suspect the potential gains are worth far more than the potential losses.

As Sutter said, "what'd we have to lose?" Marginally speaking, very little. Go from down three to down four--big deal. But get one back, as they did, and you've closed the gap and still have a good amount of time (in this case, almost eight minutes) to work with.

You'll work well here, Springthorpe.

Steve Springthorpe, who comes to Raleigh from Fresno State, is the new women's soccer coach, and clearly, this is a man who knows the score:

“I’m extremely excited and thankful to Coach Fowler to believe in me and I’m grateful for this opportunity to come to an institution the caliber of NC State University,” said Springthorpe. “Everyone I met on my visit showed how truly great the athletic department is and I look forward to the challenge of competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”

He already knows the proper buttons to push. The use of "Coach Fowler" resulted in an immediate five-year addition to the length of his contract.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Wilson Doesn't Need Surgery


NC State quarterback Russell Wilson underwent an MRI this week that confirmed team doctors’ diagnosis of a knee sprain during last week's Bowl. Wilson, a first-team All-ACC performer, suffered a tear of his posterior cruciate ligament late in the second quarter and did not return to action after halftime. He had passed for 186 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 46 yards prior to the injury.

The injury will not require surgery. Instead, Wilson will be confined to several weeks of limited activities, followed by functional rehabilitation.

Please no injuries ever again ever.

Pizza Bowl    Yds    Yds/Play   TOP
1st Half 269 6.4 15:42
2nd Half 94 3.8 10:02

Monday, January 05, 2009

Athletics department to release "major statement" re: Kay Yow.

Link. (Here's another.)

This afternoon (Monday), NBC17 Sports Director Penn Holderness spoke with Mark Kimmel, Sports Information Director for North Carolina State women's basketball, and was told that in the next two days the school will release a major statement regarding Head Coach Kay Yow's role for the rest of the season.

Coach Yow has been suffering from an extremely low energy level while continuing to fight a recurrence of breast cancer, something she's been dealing with since 2006. Yow has missed the last four games since falling ill on the team's road trip to New York.

Kimmel says as of Monday afternoon, coach Yow has not been hospitalized, and she remains at her home while making regular visits to a clinic for treatment. Be sure to check out for the latest updates as the week progresses.

Best wishes, Kay.

Trevor Ferguson Ahead Of Schedule. Maybe.

Ken Tysiac:

Guard Trevor Ferguson, who has missed the past three games with a broken left hand, is returning to practice today and might play in N.C. State’s next game Saturday at Clemson, Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe said Monday.

The left hand is Ferguson’s non-shooting hand, and he will wear a pad to protect it.

“We’ll have to see how it feels tomorrow and then how comfortable he is with that pad in terms of handling the ball, shooting the ball,” Lowe said during Monday’s ACC coaches teleconference.

Without Fergie, we have, not surprisingly, taken far fewer threes:

             3FGA/FGA (Rk)   3FG%
FergiePlays 33.6 (148) 34.9
FergieOut 18.6 (343) 50.0

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Florida 68, NC State 66

Box Score

NC State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate29.3
Off Reb Rate38.1
Nick Catharsis
Four Factors
Turnover Rate19.5
Off Reb Rate31.0

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
UF 68 61.4 110.7 107.4
NCSU 66 61.4 107.4 110.7

-- If you'd shown me the Pack's four factors prior to the game, I'd have said we'd won comfortably, even with the bad TO%.

-- Three losses. Three losses in the final minute. Does that strike anyone else as cruel and unusual?

-- For my purposes, I'm going to assume the possessions were split evenly between the two halves. In that case, the Pack turned the ball over 40% of the time in the second half. State managed 15 FGAs and 14 FTAs in the 2nd; Florida, meanwhile, got 25 and 18, respectively.

Liveblog! NC State @ Florida

Friday, January 02, 2009

Liveblog On Saturday

Pack/Gators, 4PM. BYOB.

Previewing Florida

2009 Scouting / 2009 Game Plan / 2008 Scouting Report
2009 Schedule / 2009 Stats
2009 Roster

Florida Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate18.436
Off Reb Rate35.380
Florida Offense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate18.139
Off Reb Rate37.263

Last season, Florida was the second-youngest team in I-A, and they're among the youngest again in '09--there are only two upperclassmen in Billy Donovan's rotation. Considering all the new pieces that Donovan has had to integrate in these post-title years, it's impressive that the Gators have hardly missed a beat offensively. They finished 13th in adjusted offensive efficiency in 2008 and they're currently 9th this season.

Outside of Duke and Carolina, this might be the best offense we see all season, with the sort of good shooting/ball security combination that is very bad news for NC State. The Pack's defense forces a turnover just 15.9 percent of the time (which ranks 339th nationally), and we can't even force mistake-prone teams to make mistakes. Give a team that shoots this well the luxury of not having to worry about any sort of disruption from the opposition and, well... we are really screwed. (Jinx jinx jinx jinx.)


Nick Calathes (6-6, 194) -- His usage is down a bit this year, which may be partially responsible for the increase in his shooting percentages. His assist-to-turnover ratio is better than 2:1, and his assist rate ranks 24th. He is excellent at drawing fouls, which is a big part of his game.

Walter Hodge (6-0, 170) -- More one-dimensional in terms of shot selection than he was last season; he's a low-usage three-point specialist, and a very good one. The lone senior on the roster.

Dan Werner (6-8, 230) -- Here is what you should not do: do not think about where we might be right now had Dan Werner and Chris Wright stuck with us. Werner, like Wright, has developed into a solid contributor on a good team. His shots are split about 50-50 between twos and threes, though he's never shown any touch from outside prior to this season. He is, however, quite good from inside the arc, much like the Gators in general. Since he's so frequently looking to score from the perimeter, he doesn't get to the line very often.

Chandler Parsons (6-9, 213) -- Another inside/outside guy. He should maybe cut back on the three-point attempts: after shooting 32.4% from outside last season, he's at 31.3% so far this year.

Alex Tyus (6-8, 220) -- Tyus is doing his best to ease the pain caused by the departure of Marreese Speights; in fact, as far as impressions go, this is a pretty good one:

                %Shots   eFG%     OR%     DR%   FTRate    TO%   %Blks
Speights ('08) 27.1 62.4 12.8 26.4 37.6 15.9 5.9
Tyus ('09) 24.5 64.8 13.2 18.4 32.4 11.1 4.0
He's not the dominant rebounder Speights was, nor is his offensive workload as large, but he is making an admirable go of living up to a difficult standard. It'll be interesting to see how he holds up in SEC play.


Erving Walker (5-8, 161), Ray Shipman (6-5, 212), Allan Chaney (6-8, 231), and Kenny Kadji (6-10, 245), all of whom are freshmen, round out the rotation.

Walker is the sixth man and takes an average proportion of the shots, most of them threes. There are lots of three-point threats on this team, and Walker certainly qualifies.

Chaney and Kadji give the Gators a couple more big bodies they can hurl at us when necessary; both are good offensive rebounders.

Florida Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate19.5246
Off Reb Rate29.337
Florida Defense 08-09
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate24.344
Off Reb Rate33.6173

While Florida's offense survived the post-championship turnover, the same can't be said for its defense. Their FG% defense took a major nose dive last season, both inside and out. In conference play, the Gators allowed 1.1 points per possession, which was the third-worst mark in the league.

Their defensive rebounding is down in '09--this was a near-inevitability once Speights went pro--which would be a huge cause for concern were they not compensating with takeaways. As it stands, their defensive rebounding is worrisome but not crippling. (Yet.) That TO rate looks like a pretty significant key for them going forward.

Pomeroy's Predictor says our defense provides little resistance for the Gators, who breeze to 75 points in 63 possessions and win by 11.