Rim defense once again issue for NC State in opening round defeat vs. Seton Hall

This season for NC State basketball can only be defined as a success. Despite going 0-2 in postseason play, including Thursday’s 94-83 loss to Seton Hall, so much went right for the Wolfpack and first-year coach Kevin Keatts in 2017-18.

However, there was a common theme in both postseason defeats: paint defense.

Up in Brooklyn, Jerome Robinson and Boston College took advantage of NC State at the rim. On Thursday of the NCAA Tournament, Seton Hall followed a similar path. According to Synergy Sports, the Pirates went 15-of-25 (60 FG%) on field goal attempts around the basket.

Desi Rodriguez, who dropped in 20 points off the bench, led the way in this department — going 5-of-6 around the rim, per Synergy.

Under Keatts, NC State puts a premium on running opponents off the three-point line; it’s something he referred to multiple times this season. It has some benefits, too: only 32.2 percent of opponent field goal attempts were three-pointers — a top 25 number nationally. Opponents of the Pack shot just 31.6 percent from downtown — No. 16 in the nation, per KenPom.

All of that is good stuff; however, there’s a cost, too. According to Synergy, opponents shot 60.3 percent and scored 1.23 points per possession on non-post-up attempts at the hoop. That ranks 317th in the nation, and 14th in the ACC. Against Seton Hall, it certainly didn’t help that NC State had to play long stretches without Omer Yurtseven

The 7-footer played just 14 minutes while saddled with foul issues, and blocked zero shots. It was just the fourth game this season Yurtseven didn’t block a shot.

Another part of the equation: NC State switches aggressively on defense. That, too, is a good thing — even if State doesn’t quite of the personnel to perfectly execute that strategy.


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