Here is a brief look at what Arizona basketball fans can expect to see in tonight’s game (11-22-17) against N.C. State. This report was put together from viewing N.C. State’s game on 11-16 against Presbyterian. N.C. State won 86-68.
#11 Markell Johnson (G) 6’1″ So.
#12 Allerik Freeman (G) 6’3″ Grad.
#15 Sam Hunt (G) 6’2″ Grad.
#2 Torin Dorn (G) 6’4″ RS Jr.
#1 Lennard Freeman (F) 6’8″ Sr.
Bench: #14 Yertseven, #3 Batts, #10 Beverly, #5 Hicks.
Offense: N.C. State ran a pretty basic 1 in 4 out offense for most of the game. #1 Freeman and sub #14 Yertseven anchored the post. These post players either camped out on the low block or came up top to set a high pick and roll, which worked quite effectively against Presbyterian. The offense was heavily dependent on this high pick and roll for its offense. If not there, they relied on dribble penetration to create offense. N.C. State did not shoot the ball well from the perimeter in this game–1 of 13 from 3.
Defense: N.C. State played a full court man to man defense the entire game. It wasn’t overly aggressively but they did look to trap when favorable. They rarely guarded the in-bounder and looked to help make it difficult to find the open man to get the ball in to. In the half court, State played a basic pack-line defense that was very aggressive in helping/collapsing to the ball. They mostly fought through screens but occasionally switched. Often times, when an opposing player got into the lane or near the rim there would be 3 or 4 defenders swarming to help, leaving the opposite side of the court’s offensive players open.
Pros: N.C. State only had 8 turnovers and was able to get 13 steals and 22 turnovers from Presbyterian. They shot just under 80% from the foul line which leads me to believe they simply had a really bad night shooting 3’s but can indeed knock down perimeter shots at a decent percentage. This is a veteran team in today’s college basketball landscape.
Cons: 7.7% 3-point shooting–1 of 13. Out-rebounded 31-28.
Overall: N.C. State is an undersized but talented and athletic team. #1 Freeman and #2 Dorn were just that in their game against Presbyterian…their number 1 and 2 players. #1 Freeman is a physically imposing and athletic post player while #2 Dorn is very active helping on the offensive glass and creating shots. All of their guards seem interchangeable in their athleticism and ability to dribble/drive. They subbed frequently and #14 Yertseven, when not setting a high ball screen, camped almost permanently on the low block. N.C. State runs 5 or 6 total guards in and out of the game and all of them are athletic and aggressive.
Keys for Arizona: Exploit size advantage. UA should be able to out-score and out-rebound N.C. State in the paint. These teams will match up pretty well athletically and I’m not sure UA will have any advantages there. Both teams will go 8 or 9 deep. N.C. State did a good job of spreading the floor on offense and Arizona’s defense will have to be able to keep these guards in front of them while working around perimeter ball screens. #1 Freeman in particular will need to be watched because of his ability to quickly roll to the basket after setting a perimeter ball screen.
Outcome: I give Arizona the edge in this game. I’ll be curious to see if N.C. State full court presses the entire game as they did against Presbyterian. Cartwright, Trier, and Barcello seem capable of handling the press as long as they can avoid being trapped. But, as is the case with all full court traps, there are easy buckets to be had if they can pass or dribble through it. The interesting match ups will be the undersized but aggressive #1 Freeman against Deandre Ayton or Ristic, and the athleticism of both teams perimeter players. Prediction: Arizona 89 N.C. State 74.