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Previewing North Carolina

2009 Scouting Report/Schedule
2009 Game Plan
2009 Stats (pdf)
2009 Roster

North Carolina Offense 07-08Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%53.049Turnover Rate18.752Off Reb Rate42.41FTA/FGA38.0128North Carolina Offense 08-09Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%53.039Turnover Rate17.727Off Reb Rate40.017

In conference play:

 Off_Eff (Rk) eFG% (Rk) TO% (Rk) OR% (Rk) FTR (Rk)
2008 113.8 (1) 51.0 (7) 19.4 (6) 43.0 (1) 37.3 (6)
2009 109.7 (1) 46.8 (7) 19.5 (5) 42.4 (1) 42.2 (3)

Offensive efficiency and shooting in particular are down league-wide, from 104.4 and 50.2%, respectively, to 101.2 and 47.2%. The Heels are no exception to the decline. Carolina shot the ball well in the non-conference portion of the schedule, but they've shot well under 50% in four of six conference games. Their main issue is two-point accuracy, which has dropped considerably of late:

 2FG% 3FG%
Non-Conf 56.5 38.7
In-Conf 44.4 35.0

That being the case, it's fair to assume that the forwards aren't getting it done in the paint, and that is indeed true. Deon Thompson, with a 34.0 2FG% against ACC opponents, is off to a terrible start and Ed Davis, at 45.5%, hasn't been much better. Even Sir Studly is making a mere 44% of his twos.

But UNC has consistently grabbed offensive boards in bunches--twice they've grabbed 50% of their misses (BC, FSU)--and with a low TO% and high FT rate, they're cashing in second opportunities. It's telling that despite their issues shooting the basketball, they've yet to be held under a point per possession by an ACC opponent.

Obviously, defensive rebounding is a huge key for the Pack--true in any game, but especially so in this one. We really, really can't afford to give second chances to a team that has talent out the ass--not if we're to entertain any thoughts of keeping this thing close.


Ty Lawson (5-11, 195) -- Scoring with great efficiency from everywhere on the court. His outside shooting has gotten better with each successive season, as have his turnover and free throw rates. His assist rate ranks in the top 15 nationally.

Wayne Ellington (6-4, 200) -- Taking a team-high 25.3% of the shots in ACC play, with those shots split about 50-50 between twos and threes.

Danny Green (6-6, 210) -- Normally this is the part where I lament the fact that Green isn't getting as much playing time as he deserves, which, along with recognizing Quentin Thomas's hidden awesome, had become an annual tradition. But now that Marcus Ginyard is out of the way, Green has been free to make the contributions he's been capable of making for years. Had he gone anywhere else, we'd be talking about a multi-year starter who's earned multiple all-conference nods. For all the talk of Ginyard's defensive impact, Green's steal rate has always been comparable, and he is a much better shot blocker. And he's always been the far superior player at the offensive end.

This is what Green did against the ACC as a freshman, compared to this season:

 ORtg %Poss %Shots eFG% Pts/40 Rebs/40 Ast/40 Blk/40 %Min
FR 107.9 23.4 27.0 50.5 19.5 9.8 2.8 2.7 38.3
SR 118.8 20.7 21.7 53.2 19.2 8.3 4.2 2.8 72.1

Deon Thompson (6-8, 245) -- No Tar Heel starter has struggled like Thompson in conference play, who has an offensive rating below 90 and has seen his role decrease as a result. In addition to poorer shooting from the field, he's also gotten worse at the line, and his rebounding is down as well. But he has at least done a good job of minimizing turnovers.

Tyler Hansbrough (6-9, 250) -- Despite not earning a single free throw attempt against FSU last night (mind blowing!), Hansbrough is still averaging 12.6 FTAs/40 in ACC play and is earning three FTAs for every four field goal attempts.


Roy Williams has maintained a tight rotation in league play--Ed Davis (6-10, 215), Bobby Frasor (6-3, 210), Larry Drew II (6-1, 180), and Will Graves (6-6, 245) have played in all six games, but only Davis and Frasor average double-digit minutes.

Whenever I see #11 on the floor, I think, "hey, it's QT time!" and then I quickly realize it's Larry Drew, and a little part of me dies. Apparently 11 was not retired during the off-season--an oversight of Blylevenesque proportions, if you ask me.

Collectively, Frasor, Drew, and Graves are shooting 27.1% from three. Frasor, a noted White Sox enthusiast, has really struggled in what little action he's seen; his 39.5 eFG% is a team-low.

Ed Davis should be an excellent low-post contributor in the future, and he's already the team's best rebounder at both ends as well as its best shot blocker.

North Carolina Defense 07-08Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%48.290Turnover Rate20.7179Off Reb Rate28.722FTA/FGA25.711North Carolina Defense 08-09Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%44.735Turnover Rate22.0106Off Reb Rate31.095

In conference play:

 Def_Eff (Rk) eFG% (Rk) TO% (Rk) OR% (Rk) FTR (Rk)
2008 99.0 (3) 48.2 (2) 18.7 (8) 29.7 (2) 27.3 (1)
2009 97.6 (4) 45.2 (3) 18.9 (9) 36.6 (5) 28.1 (4)

The Pomeroy Predictor likes UNC by 14. That seems a bit generous to the Pack.