#9 NC State Wolfpack vs #8 Seton Hall
Gametime: 4:30 pm
Location: Witchita, Kansas (Midwest Region)
Seton Hall at a glance…
The Pirates finished the regular season at 21-11 overall and 10-8 (3rd place) in the Big East.
They are a big and physical team led by Desi Rodriguez (6’6 guard) who averages 18ppg and 5 rebounds per game while shooting 50% from the floor and 38% from 3. He is a unique style of score who is tough to stop (we profiled him a few days ago) But this isn’t a one-man show. Seton Hall boasts 4 guys in double figures. Myles Powell has come on strong during his sophomore campaign to average 15ppg while hitting 38% of his 3s. Khadeen Carrington is another big guard you have to watch for, in fact, he might be coming into this game the hottest. He has scored 113 points over the past 5 games. You also have to plan for Angel Delgado. The 6’10 senior big is very talented and very physical on the blocks. He was the top rebounder in the Big East this season at 11.6 per game. He also averages 13.3ppg.
By the numbers on offense…
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 a slight 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.
By the numbers on defense…
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)
Keys to the game for NC State…
- Play physical. This Seton Hall team is a true Big East group. They want to body you up and bang you down. The Pack can catch them off-guard by delivering that level of pysicality right back at them.
- Dictate pace. Seton Hall isn’t super quick, so NC State has the advantage there. This will allow them to use their full court pressure and traps to speed them up and wear them down. The Pack needs to get up and down on the Pirates, and that means winning on the glass and in the turnover column.
- Freeman’s Final Stand. Al Freeman has been delivering on the biggest stage all year long. He’s going to be looking to get hot. If he can early on, then the Wolfpack become a tough team to beat.
- Markell Johnson needs to score it. While I love seeing his assist totals, Johnson needs to diversify his approach. Teams are daring him to score it and he’s been hesitant to take shots. That has to stop. If NC State is going to make a run then Markell Johnson has to be able to keep defenses honest with his scoring.
- Ture Test for Yurt7. Omer Yurtseven has the whole nation watching. The knock against him has always been his physicality and his aggressiveness. Against Seton Hall, he’ll be able to put those questions to rest if he can battle on the blocks with Delgado. If Yurt gets beat on the boards and isn’t aggressive and finishing through contact, the Pack will be in deep trouble.
- How hungry are you? This team has beat the odds all season long. They have taken a team that was supposed to finish 12th in the conference and are now on the games biggest stage. You have to believe they’ll be ready. NC State will have a chance to come out and punch the Pirates in the mouth. If they do that then Seton Hall will have to figure out how to respond. They are a good team, but they’ve allowed adversity to take away focus at times. State will want to make it known early and often that they aren’t walking off the court without a victory.