With all four of NC State’s losses coming on the road thus far this season, it’s worth examining what falls apart when the team gets on the bus. When the Wolfpack plays on an opposing teams court, they don’t lose because they turn the ball over more or fail to box out more than normal. From a defensive perspective, NC State relatively holds their opponent to roughly the same shooting percentage, creates around the same amount of turnovers and keeps their opponents off the offensive glass at the same rate. The glaring difference between NC State’s excellent production at home versus on the road can be broken down in two categories: poor shooting and the free-throw line.
NC State’s effective field goal percentage on the road is 50.9%, compared to 59% at home. NC State is ranked 12th nationally in effective field goal percentage, but the dominating ability to put the ball in the hoop isn’t translating on the road. While you might expect your numbers to dip slightly on the road, the Wolfpack’s offensive efficiency drops from 120.3 at home to 105.8 on the road, which is more than a dip…it’s a dive in the deep end without floaties.
The Wolfpack is one of the best teams in the country at getting to the free throw line, ranking 34th nationally in free throw rate (42.6). At home, NC State lives on the line, posting a 47.8 free throw rate. The high paced offense that the Wolfpack runs equals trips to the free throw line. A low free-throw rate on the road equals a failure to get out on the break, resulting in trying to win within the half-court offense, which isn’t the Wolfpack’s bread-and-butter.
While NC State might be good at getting to the free-throw line, they are actually great at not allowing their opponent to get to the charity stripe, ranking 15th nationally in defensive free throw rate (25.9). A big factor of the Wolfpack’s struggles on the road, is a result of the loss of defensive composure, putting their opponents on the free-throw line, resulting in an increased defensive free throw rate of 36.3 in away games. The result is foul trouble for the Pack, which is the achilles heel to their lack of depth.
The Pack’s ability to improve upon each of these areas will play a big role in whether or not the wheels come off the bus on the road tonight against UVA.