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NC State Game Preview

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When: Tuesday @ 7:00PM ET

Where: Littlejohn Coliseum 

TV: RSN

Line: Kenpom has Clemson favored by 10, with an 83% chance of winning

NC State comes to town on Tuesday night.  When I think of NC State, I think of a team with great individual talent and terrible coaching.  NC State has all the ingredients needed to be a very good team.  They have an inside scoring presence (Tracy Smith), rebounder/bruiser (Richard Howell), electric point guard (Ryan Harrow), and outside shooting (Scott Wood).  So why is this team underachieving for the 5th straight year?  Sidney Lowe.  He may be a nice guy, and he has proven to be a good recruiter, but the guy is not a good basketball coach.   He does not get his guys well prepared during the week, doesn't hold them accountable for their play (turnovers and shot selection), and the result is a talented team that never seems to put it together.  NC State’s roster consists of a two 5 stars (PG and SF) and three highly rated 4 stars (PF, PF, SG).  Right there you have a starting 5 of guys that most everyone in the country wanted coming out of high school.   I say we do NC State fans a favor and help put a nail in Lowe’s coffin.

How are we going to do that?

Mix up the defense.  Teams that don’t practice well don’t adjust well to different looks.  Play some man-to-man, but throw in a 2-3 zone here and there.  Beating a 2-3 zone involves ball movement and finding the right spots on the floor.  If you aren’t used to practicing against it, players tend to dribble too much and over penetrate, which leads to turnovers.  Scott Wood is a deadly 3-point shooter, but other than him, I would force NC State to beat us from deep while in the zone.

Limit turnovers.  NC State has quick and athletic guards and wings.  We saw what happened against UNC when you turn the ball over in the open floor.  NC State’s guys will be able to take advantage the same way.  Make NC State beat us with their halfcourt game (which I don’t think they can), but not by giving them free points.

Stop relying so much on the 3-point shot.  The last 2 games we have taken 29 and 26 3-pointers, respectively.  That is bad for 2 reasons.  1) We are not a great 3-point shooting team and 2) the more 3’s we shoot the less opportunities we have to get to the foul line.  We need to play smart and aggressive without jacking up 3’s early in the shot clock.  Get Devin Booker and Jerai Grant involved and see if we can get Tracy Smith in foul trouble.

I expect this to be a close game, but a game Clemson should win.  NC State is 0-4 on the road so far this year.  Statistically, we stack up pretty evenly against NC State in the 4 Factors to Winning.