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ACC Butterfingers

NC State’s total vs. UNC is astounding

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NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at North Carolina State
Jan 17, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack guard Dennis Smith Jr. (4) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Pitt Panthers at PNC Arena. 
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

NC State is a puppy of a team.

In part that’s a result of having six newcomers among its top eight scorers, hardly unique to the Wolfpack but a barrier to cohesion nonetheless.

In part that reflects domination of the ball by freshman Dennis Smith, Jr., an exceptional guard who alternates between assisting teammates and leaving them in limbo as he hunts his own shot.

There’s also the matter of chronic failure to feed post players in a traditional offense, and an enduring indifference to playing stout defense.

All of which has left NC State one of the ACC’s major disappointments midway through the season.

Oh, and there’s another significant factor contributing to the Pack’s current malaise: Turnovers. Through Jan. 15, NC State stood 13th in the ACC in turnover margin, with 1.44 more turnovers per game than opponents. In league competition the disadvantage is even worse -- 3.6 more per game than rivals.

En route to that distinctive statistical profile, the Pack compiled what’s so far a season-leading 26 turnovers in a debacle at Chapel Hill on Jan. 8. That was one of 10 times this year an ACC team mishandled the ball 20 or more times. Yet no one other than Mark Gottfried’s club had more than 22 turnovers in any given outing.

Keep in mind that, by at least one measure, a turnover is worth about 1.5 points to the opposition. That makes a 20-turnover performance a stiff challenge to overcome.

Most Team Turnovers in a Game, 2017 Season
TOs Team Result Opponent
26 NC State L @ North Carolina
22 Boston College W Auburn (N)
21 Boston College L @ Duke
21 Boston College L Kansas State (N)
20 Boston College L @ Syracuse
20 Florida State W Iona
20 Virginia Tech W @ VCU
20 Miami W Columbia
20 North Carolina L @ Georgia Tech
20 Virginia Tech L @ NC State

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