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Previewing North Carolina

2008 Scouting Report / 2008 Game Plan
2008 Schedule
2008 Roster


UNC Offense 07-08Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%53.653Turnover Rate18.429Off Reb Rate42.38FTM/FGA30.923

The big question heading into '08 was "can they replace Brandan Wright?" They didn't really need to, though. Deon Thompson hasn't come close to matching Wright's efficient production, but the Heels once again have one of the best offenses in the country. The guys who carried the offense in 2007--Hansbrough and Ellington, namely--didn't go anywhere, and both are in the midst of career years. Toss in Danny Green, who is the best sixth man in the country and among the more under-appreciated players around, and, yeah, there are no problems here.

The Tar Heels shoot well from everywhere--inside, outside, the free throw line--and when they do bother to miss, they give themselves a lot of second chances. A big reason we were able to upset them last year, aside from our 69.8% shooting, was because we kept them off the offensive glass. That'll be a huge key again since we obviously won't be forcing them to turn the ball over. They're plenty good with just one shot at the basket on a given possession, thank you.

Starters:

Ty Lawson (5-11, 195) -- He's more involved in the scoring this season, averaging 20.7 pts/40 min, but his assist rate is down a hair (but still fantastic) and his turnover rate is up.

Wayne Ellington (6-4, 200) -- As far as shooting guards go, there's none better. He's become more versatile, scoring more often from inside the arc, and he'll rarely turn the ball over.

Marcus Ginyard (6-5, 218) -- Ginyard is doing his usual thing--providing some intermittent scoring, grabbing offensive rebounds, playing good defense.

Deon Thompson (6-8, 240)
-- A bigger role in the offense has hurt his shooting, but he's improved his rebounding while cutting his turnover rate.

Tyler Hansbrough (6-9, 250)
-- What follows is an excerpt from My Will, My Way: The Tyler Hansbrough Story by Jimmy Dykes. Available from ESPN The Publisher this May.

College basketball is a game of passion. And Tyler Hansbrough's game is passion. It's fitting that a kid from the Show Me State wasn't content merely to talk, or try or attempt; he did. He worked tirelessly. And he showed everyone. Talent matters, sure. But what's more important is that desire, that will to succeed. Tyler Hansbrough has always had the Drive. He's also become best college basketball player in the game's long and storied history. Which is hardly coincidental.


Bench:

Danny Green (6-6, 210), Alex Stepheson (6-9, 235), and Quentin Thomas (6-3, 190) compose the bulk of the bench.

Green:
 ORtg eFG% %Poss %Shots Pts/40
2006 106.8 50.5 23.5 27.0 19.5
2007 111.5 48.7 18.8 20.1 15.3
2008 126.8 58.7 22.4 24.4 24.1
It's nice to see him getting significant minutes without having to take a club to one of Marcus Ginyard's knees. (Call me, Danny. If it needs to be done, it needs to be done.) He's definitely making the most of them, even if the shooting percentage is unsustainable.

Quentin Thomas's assist rate is down from an astounding 11.5-per-40-minutes in 2007 to a modest 7.8/40 this year. I blame his no good teammates. When QT makes an exquisite pass--which he does as a matter of course--and you're wide the hell open, the least you can do is make the basket! You missed that shot from the elbow on purpose, Thompson, I can tell. Resentment isn't healthy, and it's counterproductive. It's not Quentin's fault that he rules.


UNC Defense 07-08Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%47.386Turnover Rate23.0104Off Reb Rate28.021FTA/FGA23.28

Pomeroy says Carolina 82, State 63.