The #9 seed NC State will tip-off against against #8 Seton Hall on Thursday in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament at 4:30pm. Vegas and KenPom both pick the Wolfpack to lose, and ESPN’s BPI agrees, giving the Pirates a 58.9% chance of victory.
What are we to make of this? Well, let’s take a look at the numbers to see if they agree.
NC State holds the slight edge in adjusted offensive efficiency (116.4 compared to 116.3). The Wolfpack ranks 24th in offensive efficiency, while the Pirates rank 26th.
That makes these two teams seem super close offensively, but further analysis gives the Wolfpack more of an edge.
When you look at the Four Factors that lead to wins, NC State has the offensive advantage in two of the four.
- They shoot the ball better than Seton Hall (Offensive Effective Field Goal Percentage 53.3%, compared to 52.8%).
- They take better care of the ball than the Pirates (Offensive Turnover% 16.9%, compared to 17.9%).
- Seton Hall has a lot of height down low, and grabs offensive rebounds more often than NC State (Offensive Rebound%: SH 34.2% compared to NCST’s 33.6%).
- The Pirates get to the free throw line more often than the Wolfpack (Offensive Free Throw Rate: NCST 34.5 compared to SH 33.9). On the plus side of this issue, Seton Hall ranks 262nd in the nation in free throw percentage.
That still looks pretty even offensively, but when you look at some of the more specific offensive stats, the Wolfpack’s offensive advantage gains a little bit more traction.
On paper, Seton Hall is the stronger defensive team in this matchup. Their adjusted defensive efficiency is 99, compared to NC State’s 101.3.
When you look at the defensive Four Factors that most often lead to wins, Seton Hall holds the advantage in three of the four…
- Seton Hall holds their opponents to a lower shooting percentage (Defensive Effective Field Goal Percentage: SH 49.9% to NCST’s 51.5%).
- NC State does a much better job creating turnovers (Defensive Turnover%: NCST 20.6% to SH 17.9%).
- Seton Hall does a better job at boxing out, preventing their opponents from grabbing offensive rebounds (Defensive Offensive Rebound%: SH 28.5% to NCST 31.9%)
- Seton Hall does a better job keeping their opponents off of the free throw line (Defensive Free Throw Rate: SH 28.9 to NCST 32.6)
When you take a look at some of the more specific defensive stats, Seton Hall continues to have the defensive edge.
A true comparison doesn’t just compare offensive and defensive stats, but compared strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few that are noteworthy:
- Seton Hall isn’t responsible with the ball, ranking 141st in Offensive turnover percentage, while NC State specializes in taking the ball away, ranking 46th in defensive turnover percentage.
- NC State is atrocious at blocking out offensive rebounders, ranking 307th in Defensive OReb%, and unfortunately Seton Hall ranks 29th in offensive rebounding percentage.