5 Things I Learned Against Purdue & NCSU

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After JHoo successfully reeled off the “10 Things I Learned” series throughout football season, many Sabre users wanted a similar set of articles for basketball season. While I don’t expect to be as successful as JHoo’s endeavors, I’m going to give it the ole college try. After each game week is completed, I’ll provide you with “5 Things I Learned” in an effort to look back at the previous week’s basketball games. With that in mind, let’s look back at N.C. State and Purdue.

Coach Dave Leitao’s club needs better execution in its halfcourt offense.

1. The Halfcourt Offensive Execution Needs Work. This one may be obvious to the basketball aficionados out there, but it really jumped out to me during last week’s games. Both Purdue and N.C. State did what I would expect a coach to do against Virginia by taking away the transition game. After all, UVa had run up and down the court with ease during a 4-0 start to the season and averaged 90.8 points per game.

Both opponents last week were having none of that, focusing heavily on defensive transition. NCSU sacrificed second chance points and offensive rebounds to make sure that two defenders rotated back on nearly every possession. Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds are without question two of the best guards in the conference and beyond, but it is hard to dribble drive through two and three defenders if they have already rotated back for transition defense.

“We wanted to make sure we were back in transition defense. It’s a tough thing. It’s a fine line. You want to get offensive rebounds, but for us it was more important that we didn’t give them fastbreak points and I think that’s certainly one of the reasons why we kept the game close because we didn’t give them those easy breaks,” State coach Sidney Lowe said. “I thought our bigs did a great job of getting back and protecting on that.”