Why NC State Busted Your Bracket
If there was an NCAA Basketball Combine Championship, the favorite to win the tournament this year would be North Carolina State. The question that automatically follows is: They would have better test numbers than Kentucky? When it comes to the tests for speed, agility, reaction time, and power, the Wolfpack would likely even edge out the Wildcats. Just how athletic are the Wolfpack?
Brett Brungardt, founder of BAM (Basic Athletic Measurement), has the numbers. BAM is the official testing provider of the NBA. BAM tests the college draft class every year at the Chicago combine and the best seniors at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (PIT). Over the last five years, BAM has also collected numbers at NCAA schools. BAM has a simple goal: administer standardized, reliable, valid tests, using the latest technology. “As the gold standard of athletic testing,” Brungardt says. “a key piece of the process is our extensive database.” Over the last seven years they’ve compiled a large and diverse database from around the globe, ranging from elite to youth athletes.
NC State Head strength and conditioning coach, Bob Alejo, is also a numbers guy. He was the strength coach for the Oakland A’s during their “moneyball” days. The last three years, he has hired BAM to test the NC State team. Testing is directly linked to athletic development. You’ve got to verify that your methods are achieving the results you want. Alejo’s goal is to help every player achieve his athletic potential. Having both NC State’s number and the NBA’s last five draft classes, gives BAM a unique data set to compare how NC State stacks up against the best of the best.
“When you look at the numbers,” Brungardt says, You can see that on average NC State tests (an objective measurement of athleticism) better then an NBA draft class. This is remarkable. This is a credit to Alejo and Coach Gottfried (and their staff).
Here’s how the numbers break down:
NBA draft class: 28.35 inches.
NC State it’s 28.66 inches.
NBA draft class: 34.17 inches
NC State: 34.94 inches
¾ Court Spring
NBA draft class: 3.35
NC State: 3.30
NBA draft class: 3.13
NC State: 3.01
4-Way Agility Drill
NBA Draft Class: 11.26
NC State: 11.34
What does NC State’s unprecedented collection of high scores mean when it comes to winning and losing games? This is always the question with data. Can you make the data meaningful? We all know that games are won and loss by how players perform on the court under pressure. In the data-driven sports world, we also know that uber-athleticism can level the playing field, even create havoc on the court. When NC State combines their athleticism with smart basketball and makes open looks, they can beat the best. They’ve already beat a who’s who list this year: Duke, LSU, North Carolina (on the road), Louisville (on the road), and now Villanova.
Moving from data to the pure eye test, the simple joy of watching the game, NC State’s athleticism deserves some attention. When they play Louisville on Friday, every now and then, just watch NC State move, take in the game from the lens of movement, like a ballet. Watch the wolf pack jump, break down court in a sprint, move side to side, stop and go, change directions. See how Louisville moves with them. Can they hang? Does NC State’s athleticism create havoc? Then go back and watch the game like a normal fan: the decision-making, the execution. Then with NC State, watch for moments when it all comes together. How long can the athleticism and the execution be sustained? Will it be enough to get by Louisville again?
As Kentucky pushes for a perfect season, it is clear that there may never be another team like them. As the Wolfpack pushes into the next round, in their own unique way, there may also never be another team them. Yet, it could all come to end this weekend.