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Previewing North Carolina

Scouting Report / Game Plan
Season Stats (pdf)
Schedule
Roster

UNC Offense 06-07Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%55.713Turnover Rate19.453Off Reb Rate41.09FTM/FGA27.396
Last season, Carolina's offense was hindered by a lot of turnovers, but that's not been a problem in 2007. The Heels are also shooting at a higher percentage and grabbing more offensive rebounds. It's frightening.

Is there any reason, short of an off day from the Heels, to think we can slow this offense down? No. What they do well offensively, we do poorly defensively. The good offensive rebounding teams we've played have generally had their way with us on the glass, and Carolina is as good as it gets in this area. They'll be hurling fresh players at us all afternoon (not one Tar Heel averages over 30 min/game), and we're going to wear down. In conference games, NC State's opponents are grabbing 39.4% of their misses.

The best way to slow the Heels would be to force them into a lot of giveaways, since that deprives them of field goal attempts and offensive rebounding opportunities. Unfortunately we have neither the personnel nor the inclination to pull this off.

Starters:

Ty Lawson (5-11, 193) -- Struggling with turnovers in conference play (his TO% is over 35.0; he's got just two more assists than turnovers), but he continues to display an impressive shooting touch and he has quick hands at the defensive end.

Wayne Ellington (6-4, 195) -- Shooting 41% from three on the season, 33% in conference play. He takes the highest proportion of the team's shots when he is on the court, and those attempts are split about 50/50 between twos and threes. Interestingly, in conference play, Ellington's assist rate (21.4%) is nearly as good as Lawson's (25.5%)

Reyshawn Terry (6-8, 232) -- Terry turns the ball over a lot, and his shooting hasn't been there in ACC games. He rebounds well, though.

Brandan Wright (6-9, 205) -- How is it that they can have three freshmen who are this good? Doesn't seem fair. Wright is the best of the bunch: he scores efficiently, rebounds pretty well, doesn't turn the ball over too often, and blocks a lot of shots. The main chink in his armor right now is free throw shooting--he's hitting 55.3% (that's almost 10% lower than his FG%) on the year and only 44.1% (15-34) in conference games.

Tyler Hansbrough (6-9, 245) -- His field goal percentage is down a bit in 2007, but he is otherwise the same player he was last season. Much of his value comes from his ability to get to the line, which is exceptional. It's hard to avoid making a snide remark about officiating here.

Bench:

Roy Williams has such a glut of talent on his bench, it's ridiculous. It's almost a shame, because players like Danny Green (6-5, 210), who I really like, only get 15 minutes a game. In ACC games, Green is averaging 21.1 pts/40 min and 8.9 rebs/40 min; having that coming off the bench is one hell of a luxury. Tyler Hansbrough is the only Tar Heel averaging more pts/40 in conference play.

I want to talk about Quentin Thomas (6-3, 185), because although he doesn't play a lot, he is an assist machine when he is on the court. Thomas has logged 72 minutes in conference play and has 27 assists in that time--that's 15.0 assists/40 minutes! Ty Lawson only has 28 assists and he gets twice as much playing time. Thomas's in-conference assist rate is 49%, meaning he assists on one out of every two baskets his teammates make while he's on the court. Against Miami on Wednesday, he had 8 dimes in 11 minutes...that's absurd.

There is, however, the matter of turnovers, as Thomas is nearly as generous giving the ball to the opponent as he is giving it to teammates. His turnover rate in conference play is over 40%--just terrible. So it's an exciting ten minutes when he's out there, that is for sure.

Wes Miller's (5-11, 190) outside touch has abandoned him (28.1% from three this year), so he is essentially useless. I have no idea what justifies giving him 12 minutes a game. Must be that Selfless Senior Leader status (Frasor's injury may also have been a factor).

We'll be seeing Marcus Ginyard (6-5, 218), Alex Stepheson (6-9, 225), Deon Thompson (6-8, 245), and Bobby Frasor (6-3, 208) too.


UNC Defense 06-07Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%44.723Turnover Rate22.1147Off Reb Rate28.822FTA/FGA25.29
When we played Duke, the Blue Devils had the top-ranked defense in the country, but now it is the Tar Heels with that distinction. People don't talk about Carolina's defense that much (unless they're talking about how Roy is unhappy with their defensive effort), but it is fantastic.

How well we shoot on two-pointers will determine how effective we are at the offensive end. Duke's great defense held us to an off night from inside and we were never in the game. We don't have the three-point shooters to make up for a poor 2FG%, and we simply prefer not to take very many threes. If Carolina makes us similarly inefficient from inside (and the Heels interior D is every bit as good as Duke's), we're doomed. We're probably doomed regardless, but with our strong suit dispatched by our despicable foe, we're like even more doomed.

Predict-O-Meter says: there will be wincing. A lot of wincing.