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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Basketball Season Wrap-up

2010 Stats from KenPom.com:

CategoryOffenseDefenseD-I Avg
Adj. Efficiency:105.6[109]92.7[47]100.8
Adj. Tempo:65.5 [249]67.3
Four Factors
Effective FG%:48.3[190]46.3[57]48.9
Turnover %:19.9[144]19.9[207]20.4
Off. Reb. %:32.5[187]33.8[228]32.7

2009 Stats from KenPom.com for comparison:

CategoryOffenseDefenseD-I Avg
Adj. Efficiency:113.4[30]101.4[172]101.1
Adj. Tempo:64.1 [266]66.5
Four Factors
Effective FG%:53.8[24]48.0[117]49.1
Turnover %:21.5[234]16.6[332]20.4
Off. Reb. %:36.3[57]33.1[187]32.9
FTA/FGA:37.8[137]28.3 [17]36.4

So another year of Wolfpack basketball has come to a close. It's somewhat tough for me to say definitively whether or not this was a positive season or a negative one.

Positives: We saw the increased effort and improved chemistry we all thought (and hoped) we would. This team started the year strong and finished the year strong (for the most part). The improved effort and chemistry yielded strong improvement on the defensive end (up 125 spots in the defensive efficiency ratings from a year ago) and in the steals department (up 116 spots). The team won two games in the ACC Tournament and nearly advanced to the ACC Finals, and won enough at the end to secure a NIT bid, where they won on the road against a higher seed in the first round. The win against Duke at home was a great highlight of the year.

Negatives: The seven-game ACC losing streak. Not beating a down UNC team in either meeting when the Virginias and Miamis were closing the deal. The offensive efficiency, rebounding and shooting percentage numbers were all down from 2009. In a relatively down year for the ACC, the Pack still finished only one game out of last place. The last-second heave from Florida. *shudder*

Overall, I think this year was a step in the right direction, but not as big a step as it could have been or probably needed to. The chances were there for the Pack to elevate its standing in the league and the program's perception nationally, perhaps to even play themselves into the NCAA bubble when the tournament field was so weak, but they could not. The guard play was still suspect at times but the turnover percentage decreased, so it was improved in some areas but not in others. The final loss against UAB was just plain ugly from start to finish.

Bottom line: It's all about 2011.

This season was meant to be a bridge from the turmoil and strife of 2008 and 2009 to the future of Harrow, Brown and potentially CJ Leslie. In a lot of ways it was. Not much was expected of the team, and in some ways they exceeded those expectations. And you have to like how the team responded at the end of the year to play its way into the postseason.

But when you step back and look at what could have been--with the close losses to Florida, Arizona and blown chances against UNC--it could have been much more satisfying. And exceeding extremely low expectations isn't exactly an accomplishment. It's merely averting disaster.

Next season is put-up-or-shut-up time for the Lowe era in year five. There are no two ways about it. Fair or unfair, I think it would take some extenuating circumstances for Sidney to keep his job if State does not make it to the NCAA Tournament.

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