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UNC vs. UNLV: Beyond the Box

Well, so ends UNC’s shot at an undefeated season.   That is about all this loss means to this season in a negative aspect, especially if the Heels can use this as a teaching tool going forward.  UNLV is a good team and given their schedule, it would not surprise me at all if they only have 2 or 3 losses heading into the NCAAT.  They also happened to play a great game on essentially their home court, so while there is no shame in the loss, overall, there certainly were some things that Carolina did poorly that need to be addressed.  We will examine these thing on the other side of the break.

Four Factors

Looking at the Four Factors on offense, there are really two things that stand out, eFG% and OR%.  It has been mentioned many times here, but it once again bears repeating: since Roy has been at UNC, there is no more telling indicator of whether UNC won a game than their eFG%.  When Roy’s Heels are above 50.0%, they win 94% of the time.  When they don’t, they are simply an average team (literally; win percentage: 53.1).  What is odd about this particular game is that usually when the Heels fail to hit the 50.0-mark, it is their 3-point shooting that is to blame.  However, last night they were done in by their inability to hit from within the arc.  While the 2PT% for the game was bad (42.1%), it fell to an abysmal 32.2% in the second half (for reference, UNC is shooting 52.8% from inside the arc for the season, and 53.8% in the first half). Look at any other stat you want, but if UNC hits just 50% of their second half twos (hardly heroic), they win by 4.  Of course, given that there are other areas of concern, maybe it is a (long-term) positive that they didn’t.

Now while the Heels performance from inside the arc can be viewed as a blip, their work on the offensive glass has been a trend for over a year.  In each of Roy’s first 7 seasons with Carolina, his teams all had an OR% over 39.1, which is elite.  Last season, this fell to 37.1, still decent, but no longer an area of absolute advantage.  This season, while only 6 games old, the Heels are collecting their own misses at a rate of just over 35%, which is average to slightly above average, and more concerning, yesterday was the 3rd time that they were under 30%.  There are really two reasons for this drop.  First, while Zeller, Henson and Barnes all did a decent job on the offensive glass last season, none of those players attack the offensive glass like Sean May and Tyler Hansbrough did, and while it would be easy to say that the current Heels should do that, don’t lose sight of the fact that there is a reason why May and Hansbrough are, well, May and Hansbrough.  The second difference between this group, and Roy’s previous teams is that the wings are not as effective on the offensive glass.  Wayne Ellington, Danny Green, and Jackie Manuel all averaged over 1.5 ORPG during their championship seasons (as did Marcus Ginyard in 2008), while none of Carolina’s current guards have shown an ability to do so.  Now, last year’s team was better defensively than either the 2008 or 2009 teams were, so it is possible that their staying back does prevent a percentage of opponent fast breaks.  However, given the importance of offensive efficiency in determining the both the success of Roy’s teams, and the likelihood of team becoming a champion (average Champion’s OE rank: 4.3; average Champion’s DE rank: 8.8), perhaps this is a trade-off that should be revisited.

As for the Heels’ defense, there is not a lot more to be added to what has already been said.  UNC clearly has a weakness guarding teams who have multiple players to can drive to the basket, as this prevents them from “hiding” Kendall Marshall.  Fortunately, few teams have three players as good at driving to the lane as Bellfield, Marshall, and Stanback; however, this is still something that UNC will likely have to deal with again.  When they do, some will argue that UNC should play more zone, but zone defense actually places more of a premium on guard foot speed than does man-to-man (Syracuse’s zone is always at its best when Boeheim has lighting quick guards like Jonny Flynn).  I think the real key is that Marshall needs to be more prudent with how “up on a guy” he gets, and against good shooters, his teammates (not named Henson) might want to be slightly less zealous with their help when Marshall does give up a blow by.  But then again, I am just an amateur.

Statistical Highlights

  • Well, at least the Heels snapped their streak of 3-straight games of shooting under 60.0% from the line.  I kid, I kid.  Obviously, UNC’s shooting at the line has not been good this season, but the biggest concern (for me) is that Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes are both shooting just under 66%, after both shooting over 75% last season.  Granted, this early in the season, we are talking about a difference of making less than 1 additional FT a game (each), so it is entirely possible, if not probable, that those percentages will normalize in time.  The Heels clearly have some weak FT shooters on the roster, but if Barnes and Zeller can get back to last year’s level, and Marshall (75%) and Hariston (83%) stay where they are, UNC will at least be able to field a (mostly) capable team in crunch time.
  • One positive from last night that should be mentioned was the Heel’s TO% of 12.7.  For now, one has to assume that the 2PT shooting was an aberration, so if UNC can continue to protect the basketball as well as they have been (4 straight games with a TO% under 17.5), they should continue to be fairly efficient on offense.

Beyond the Box: Player Impact Ratings (Glossary)


North Carolina has a great frontline.  Yesterday, they were far from great.  In fact, every other Tar Heel who played yesterday did so at a level that was at least on par with what they had averaged the first 5 games of the season (column on the far right), and in many cases beyond what they had produced.  Henson and Zeller, on the other hand, each had P.I.R. 15 points below their season average.  In most circumstances, UNC is probably good enough to withstand a bad night by one of the two, but when they are both bad, and the defense is porous, it can’t be much of a surprise when the result is a loss.

On the positive side of things, McAdoo, Hairston and Bullock were all terrific, and if UNC continues to get production like that off the bench (especially as those three gain experience), then the number of good nights in the future should far outweigh the bad ones.

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81 comments to UNC vs. UNLV: Beyond the Box

  • harrisonbarnes11

    We win by 8 at Rupp. Mark it down gentlemen.

  • BoyWilliams

    A blasphemous po-em entitled…


    You say Butter couldn’t guard your grandma?
    That Z couldn’t box-out a cat from a sandbox?
    That Strick couldn’t throw it into a ravine?
    That Barnes is about as fluid as a rusty machine?
    That Henson gets tossed like a doll made from rags?
    That Roy couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag?
    Well listen buddy, ya know what I say to you?!
    …Hmmm…When we lose, it almost all feels like it’s true.

  • 52bgJ

    “When they do, some will argue that UNC should play more zone, but zone defense actually places more of a premium on guard foot speed than does man-to-man (Syracuse’s zone is always at its best when Boeheim has lighting quick guards like Jonny Flynn)”

    Sorry to nit-pick CM, but not all zones are created equal. The beauty of the 3-2, is that it (unlike the 2-3 or man to man) uses positional double-teams to thwart penetration. Now, if you want to argue that the perimeter players have to be more active and alert because they have to drop in the post, and cover the kick outs, then ok, but that is not the same “foot-speed handicap” that is relevant to the 2-3. I still hate the 2-3 and the 1-3-1 because of that, and have never advocated such.

  • ^Yeah, I had the 2-3 and 1-3-1 in mind when I wrote that, which like you, I detest (unless you are talking about a 1-3-1 full court press, but that is a different beast).

    I could see a 3-2 working, especially with Dex at the point, and Bullock and Barnes on the wings. My only concern would be whether or not Henson would have enough restraint to stay on his block and not chase blocks. Perhaps JMM and Zeller would be the better low post combo.

  • 52bgJ

    I think KM would be fine, but I share your concern about Henson. Ironically, this team is built perfectly for it…would just love to see it tried, with more than a lip-service effort. It’s worth noting that the way UNLV played against our interior last night (the help-side interrupt the dribble) is what you get with the 3-2 as well.

  • partsman5521

    Did anybody here say to themselves last night that dook was going to kill us? We just laid a blueprint down for other teams to beat us. “Hack- a- shaq” Z and Henson to take them out of their game and dribble drive and dish to the open 3.
    Number 1 ranking and Henson a “defensive stopper” has gone to this teams head. Now that they are back down to earth, maybe we’ll see some better basketball…….

  • Robeytussin


    How about Yates today taking over the starting role for a playoff contender?

  • 52bgJ

    yeah Robey, HTTE mentioned it earlier. I thought at the time Yates landed in a good spot for him. Hope he does well.

    and to faustus from the other thread…hence forth Ryan Kelly shall be referred to as “Worm-Tail”…aka Peter Pettigrew.

  • liggonro

    Hope this loss teaches them a few things. One thing I am disappointed at is Kendall’s inability to shoot the ball. In these first three games he looks as bad as he did last year shooting the ball. You would think that would be something that a kid with his talent would have worked on during the off season. Right now I see no change, that and his inability to stay in front of the ball is going to be hurt us. Bright spot to me is Hairston. He’s a much better all around player than I originally thought.

  • Now that I’ve had nearly 24 hours to stew…err…think about the loss, I have a hunch that due to Henson’s ability to clean up bad defense at the top, the guards slacked a bit in staying in front of their man. Obviously some of that is skill, but when you have (what you think is an eraser) behind you, you’re more willing to let that guy slide by for a layup. It’s a stretch, but I wonder if we didn’t see a little of that last night.

    At the end of the day, this is NOTHING we have not seen for years. Nothing. Dook beat us twice last year using this formula. Kentucky did too. Ohio State would have as well. Especially with their 3 point shooting. I personally hate it. Then again, I don’t have the championships and wins to say a daggum thing about it…

  • 40yrheel

    maybe if roy loses 3 in a row he’ll change his ways?
    nah, i doubt it.

  • AZACCFan

    “I think the real key is that Marshall needs to be more prudent with how “up on a guy” he gets, and against good shooters, his teammates (not named Henson) might want to be slightly less zealous with their help when Marshall does give up a blow by. But then again, I am just an amateur.”

    I think this is right also. Marshall is a very smart basketball player. He just might have a couple ideas on how to play man to man or whether he could make it in a 3-2.

    I wonder what he would say.

    Hairston was a very bright point.

  • newtonbass

    The winning UNC formula is simple: Free throws and rebounding. It’s been that way for the 30 years I’ve been a fan. Nothing more, nothing less.
    I would say that I wish our current 1/2 court offense adopted more of Coach Smith’s “must pass” philosophy

  • BeachHeel

    Yes, auncfan, we have seen this movie before. Defenders running to the lane to help prevent a layup and then not being able to get back out on their man who is waiting to receieve a pass for a 3 pointer. When a team is shooting like UNLV was last night you never want to leave your man no matter if a layup is allowed. This is going to be particularly important against dook. Sometimes it is better to play up on a shooter enough to completely deny his shot and dare him to dribble penetrate, especially if you have John and Z waiting to wipe the layup attempt. I would love to see us play a match up zone. It would allow man to man coverage with John and Z always defending the basket. Last night, our bigs just needed to be WAY more aggressive and stronger with the ball. They settled for jump shots rather than being strong and taking it to the rim to draw the foul. They weren’t active enough off the ball and they weren’t active enough on the offensive boards.If they had been then we win, no matter if UNLV did hit 13 3′s.

  • AZACCFan

    Well at least now the UNC coaching staff knows what is coming for the rest of the season.

    Hopefully the players can figure out a way to keep from losing the same way twice this week.

    I would like to see Hairston playing sooner off the bench. He needs to be taking everyone else’s FTs as well.

  • AZACCFan

    Bilas on UNC:

    “UNC’s issues v. UNLV: guarding the bounce and pick and roll, being strong with the ball, shot selection. High degree of difficulty on shots.”

  • chaucer1350

    Every coach of a highly talented team - especially a young one - needs a loss to convince them of a few things. The best sign of a championship team continues to be growth over a season. If there’s a common thread to UNC’s championship seasons, IMO, it’s the team in question finding and refining a defensive identity along the way. Scoring’s never been an issue here.

    Everything kind of clicked wrong last night. Z got flustered. Barnes twisted the ankle. Henson started asserting himself for points rather than letting the points come to him (an inevitability at some point given his hot start). No one seemed sure what to do on defense. West coast game on the home floor of an excellent UNLV team.

    I’m not worried about it. Young teams need hard lessons sometimes.

  • faustus1500

    Rush the Court outlined perfectly what happened to UNC. It was the same thing which happened against Kentucky in the tourney and will happen all season.


  • 52bgJ

    ” particularly after collapsing against a drive”

  • gso_tarheel

    Our defense was a major factor in the UNLV loss. But I feel the biggest issue for this team is offense. I know, UNLV scored 90 pts. But in this game and in previous games this year (KY in Elite 8 also), our offense disappears for long stretches and generally becomes disjointed. This puts little pressure on the opponent (if we score like 2009 team, opponents are just trying to keep up with the scoring pace) and we cannot overcome defensive mitakes as easily.

    Putting offensive pressure on the opponent is Roy’s game. It works if you are great on offense…we are not consistently there yet. We are also not terribly athletic or strong on the inside. We have limited options for the 3 ball. And outside of KM, we aren’t a great passing team.

    If the offense can become consistently great, we will be looking at a NC. If not, Roy will have to show different looks on defense to give our less than stellar offense a chance.

  • dsteele23

    Where do u begin besides with the obvious…same thing that lost the UK game in the Elite 8. At some point don’t u as a coach make in game adjustments?? isn’t that coaching? Instead of already having a gameplan in place if a team starts doin what UNLV did with 3′s off penetration, u have no plan B? Its only 1 game and its early but wow! ADJUST! CHANGE! Wisc and UK could and very well may BLOW the Heels out! And how many 3′s does PJ have to hit before he is maybe the 1st sub off the bench and Not dang WATTS?

  • jumpman23

    Ok, I’ve tried to be objective in watching the first games, but it’s time to start PJ, NOW! I love Strick and he’d be great coming off the bench. We’ve got to have a shooter in the game at all times!!
    The other thing is something you learn in middle school ball-guard your man, but don’t let him kill you with the 3. I’d rather them get layups, than bury 3′s all night. Just in case we were wondering, a 3 is more that a 2. I don’t mind losing early but come on guys, not like this! Go Heels, beat down Wisconsin and KU!

  • AZACCFan

    UNLV wanted to win the game.

    UNC thought they deserved to win.

    Hope they learn and start every period going for it hard, regardless of the referees, fouls, or anything else.

  • chaucer1350

    Further down in Rush the Court’s eval:

    “This can be a very good thing. The 2005 team’s season-opening loss to Santa Clara had the eventual national champions on the defensive, playing catch-up all year against an Illinois team that nearly went undefeated in the regular season. The 2007 Elite Eight team lost to Gonzaga in November. Last year’s squad lost to Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Illinois, and Texas in a span of a month yet finished the season playing in the Elite Eight while all of these other teams were sitting at home. Roy Williams-coached squads, for a variety of reasons, often lose in the fall.”

  • dsteele23

    I’m with u Jumpman23 and it’s not b/c i don’t like or appreciate Dex…if he is gonna be your primary back up pg for now, maybe he shouldn’t start. I like Dex but he must try to score more often and keep the other teams guards on the go. ANd maybe he should guard the other teams pg more as well. But u can’t keep giving Justin Watts mins over McAdoo/Pj. Yes Watts is a senion but hey u gotta coach to win the game. No way with that shot PJ can’t get more shoots!

  • chapelhillfan

    Were I coach (and let’s all be glad I’m not), I’d give Watts about 1-2 minutes in the first half to recognize his hustle and senior-status. Otherwise, he’s not playing except in bad foul trouble or in blow-outs.

    Z and Henson . . . and especially Z . . . have to be stronger with the ball. I’m so tired of seeing Z establish excellent post position then either get stripped because he brings the ball down low or throws up some crap because he either takes too long or is bullied off his position. Z works best when he catches and shoots.

    I’m not ready for Hairston to start but two or three more games like the last two and it gets harder and harder to keep him on the bench.

    I agree 100% that offense was a big problem against Vegas.

    Finally, why are any of you wasting your breath about how Roy defends the 3? Since the invention of the three-point line in college basketball, inferior teams know they can be in a good fight with Carolina if they can get dribble penetration and hit a high percentage of their three-point shots. If that happens and Carolina is off on the offensive-end, then there is a good chance of an upset. Roy is not going to change. He will not go zone. He will not double or face-guard hot shooters. He will not force guards who penetrate to make shots versus kick-outs. He will stubbornly stick to the same basic defensive game plan and play the percentages. 95% of the time, he is right and all is well. Two national titles reinforces his theory. But, 5% of the time, like Friday, he gets burned and frankly looks heavily out-coached when it happens. But, that’s what you get with Roy. I don’t like the general lack of in-game adjustments any more than you guys do, but stop wasting your breath over it . . . it will not change.

    One final thought…our full-court press is atrocious. We do a great job of doubling the initial pass into the corner. But, we have to have some defensive rotation or the press is easily broken. I’d rather see a three-quarter or half-court press if that’s the best we can do full-court.

    I am disappointed with the loss like you guys but this happens to Carolina like clock-work. Sometimes teams needed to have their ego smacked down a bit. We’ll see now how tough and determined this team is. Roy has a lot to “coach them up on” and their egos should be sufficiently deflated. I’ll worry if we lose both games this week.

  • jumpman23

    Justin Watts is a great kid, but he should be with Blue Steel and that’s about it. PJ can flat out ball. JMM is a skilled big man that played tougher than Henson/Z Saturday night. Dex is a great defender and decent point guard but he can’t shoot. The game plan is simple, pack it in on D against us, dare us to shoot, kill us with the 3 and win. We better get this thing figured out quick or there will be alot more L’s.

  • dsteele23

    I somewhat agree with chapelhillfan…however, the job of a coach is to do just that! COACH, TEACH!! and to put your team in the BEST position to win a game! not making adjustments within a game is not great coaching. Nobody expects Roy’s “philosphy” to completely change, but dang within again u adjust to whats goin on at that time! same as with your rotation…PJ is a terrific and willing shooter. Keep him out there man

  • Heel To The End

    CM and i went back and forth on basically glass half full or half empty on the 3pt defense.
    there’s no denying we have 2 titles in 6 years.
    there’s no denying we win a large percentage of games.
    having said that, i dont think there’s any denying we have several games that are closer than they need to be, and then games we flat out lose.
    winning a large percentage of games in the NCAAt isnt going to win you the NCAA title. you have to win all of them.

    last year, we almost lost to Long Beach, because we played help D on a team that had shooters, ball handlers, and a short front line.
    we got 6 steals, forcing all of 12 turnovers. and squeaked out a 5-pt victory. how did the help D help? 31 3s means long rebounds, and lookie there, you got outrebounded by Long freakin Beach 12-7 on the offensive boards.

    i’ve already discussed UK. FOUR guys that shot 35%, and we left them open and our help D helped to the tune of 14 turnovers, and 54.5% from 3, the equivalent of shooting 82% from 2! what did they actually shoot from 2? 44%.

    go back 2 games…Washington Huskies. barely beat them.
    a ball handling team with shooters. gave up the equivalent of 79% shooting from 2, and got 13 turnovers out of the help D.
    they actually shot 43% from 2. and we got outrebounded both overall and on the offensive boards.

    i will concede that the defensive philosophy works most of the time. but please please take note of what type team you are up against. does anyone think Long Beach came into the game saying, “we need to pound the ball inside”? no. they got here and said “wow, theyre going to let us do what we want to do anyway? we dont have to worry about our 6’8″ center trying to score inside? fantastic!”
    i dont think Tyler is really taking offense by it, but what message are you sending that he needs help guarding his man inside, when his man is 5 inches shorter? have the guards stay on their men and make entry passes more difficult. anything wrong with that?

    many many times i have commented on a game thread that a team has more points out of their total shooting 3s than they do from shooting 2s.
    its a pattern. its a gameplan now for opponents.
    last January, VT made 10 2pt baskets for the game. TEN!!
    they made only 8 FTs. and we BARELY won the game. 64-61. @ HOME. thats ridiculous. because you gave 33 pts on the perimeter.
    as coach, in game, why are you not saying, either we’re playing great interior D,or they just dont have it today, or both, so lets stop with the help now and play straight up.
    and dont give me the well they were bad inside because of help. all they have to do is kick out for 1 successful 3 out of 3, and presto, they got the point equivalent of 1.5 possessions.

    obviously, if you do all the other things well, youre much more likely to win. and i’m REALLY not that annoyed at losing to UNLV. but i’m already frustrated that the recipe for failure has not been changed here.
    as i have said year after year…this isnt 1986. the players today have shot the 3-ball their entire life. they LIKE to shoot it. they WANT to shoot it. and if you let them shoot it uncontested, you will turn 30% shooters into 45% shooters.

  • BeachHeel

    I understand how some could think that PJ should start ahead of Dex, but shooting is not everything. Dex is the only player we have who displays the necessary level of intensity and toughness. If the rest of the starters, particulary the front line, played with his level of aggression, strength, and tenacity we would be unbeatable. We need Dex to guard the other team’s best perimeter player. Having PJ and Reggie to come off the bench is a great “problem” to have. Both of them can play both the 2 and 3 spot, and should play a lot of minutes, including all of those that Watts is currently getting. The rotation should only go 8 deep and the minutes will shake out.

  • Heel To The End

    i think the problem most are having is the starting lineup has Barnes as your top 3-pt man on the floor at 33%, and we really dont want him opening the game shooting 3s.
    so its different than having Wayne start or Donald Williams start.
    you dont have nearly as big a perimeter threat for the first 7 or 8 minutes of the game.

    of course, part of the solution to that, and to my above problem, would be for Henson and Zeller to stop bringing the weak tot action. punish the opposition’s front line.

  • BeachHeel

    Bingo, Heel To The End. We must take note of what kind of team we are playing. Some teams are recruited and built primarily to score from the outside (see dook). When we play such a team we only do them a favor by leaving their shooters wide open to help inside. In such games we MUST stay on the shooters, deny the kick out, and force the dribbler to either challenge John and Z at the basket or make a much more difficult pass to a covered shooter. There is a reason so many guards have their career nights against us. It is easy to do when your man has left you all alone and wide open to help inside.

  • faustus1500

    I don’t know. PJ has shown intensity as well. I like Dex but this is college basketball, you need your guards to be able to score. Can anyone tell me the last time a team who won the National Title with a starting backcourt averaging a combined 13 points or less?

  • AZACCFan


    You have a lot of this pretty clearly laid out. From following these guys closely it seems that making changes is very difficult for the coaching staff. I know Williams is on the top of the totem, but there has to be a collective as well.

    Every field changes over time. Woe be unto any of us for not adapting.

    As far as letting the freshmen play more, step back for a minute and see that they are already playing way more than is typical for a Williams coached team.

    I would like to see Hairston play more and maybe start soon against the right team. At the first opportunity, insert him with a mission to score and play great defense.

    The time out stuff is a bit hypocritical because Roy is constantly monkeying with what happens on the floor via substitutions. He actually often does this too much. When a time out would suffice.

  • gso_tarheel

    “Can anyone tell me the last time a team who won the National Title with a starting backcourt averaging a combined 13 points or less?”

    That would be an interesting stat to see. I just glanced over the starting backcourts of the last 10 national champs. They are pretty impressive. Our 2012 backcourt would definitely be an outlier in this group.


  • makeitWayne22

    LOL at the blueprint now being shown. Its the same blue print every year. Blueprint to beating dook, switch screens and hammer the post.. Not every team can do that thou.

    UNC’s problem is that enjoyed Vegas a lil too much, and ran into a team that wanted to whoop them.

    John, stop shooting, it was fun but its over. Tyler, be a man, and Dex take a seat bc PJ would of won that game if Roy didnt sub him out everytime he started rolling.

    PJ is exactly what the starters are missing, a guy that can make a bunch of shots from the outside.

  • AZACCFan

    PJ is also tough. Hansbrough no lie.

  • dsteele23

    I totally 1000000% agree with makeitWayne22…u must have a 2 guard that is a good and especially WILLING shooter! Period. I love Dex to death, but for the sake of this particular team why start a guy that u want to use as the primary back up PG? makes no sense right? what if Dex get 2 quick fouls? then what? Marshall play 40 mins? It’s not the same as with that piece of trash that quit last year, but maybe that line up change shoulda been experimented with in the off season and go from there…just a thought. I mean i real SHOOTING guard in your starting line up sounds like a no brainer. oh well

  • You guys do realize that Strickland has the BEST ORtg AND eFG% of any of the 5 starters, right?

  • Heel To The End

    i do now.
    i like Strickland. i like what he brings. but at 0-0 on 3s, there is going to be a fan element that has a problem.
    our starting 5 has attempted 25 3s on the year. combined.
    heck, we give that many up on any given thursday.
    you cant stretch the court. you invite teams to do what *I’VE* been preaching for 2 days now…you invite them to guard your strength. in this case, the interior.
    but i like what he’s doing this year, and he’s very good on D.
    and i really dont know how good PJ is, in comparison.

  • The thing, for me at at least, is that I’ve always believed that it is easier for a jump shooter to make an impact in limited minutes than it is a defender. Strickland’s primary role is to defend the team’s best ball handler, you can’t do that from the bench. However, PJ and Reggie can very easily come in in spot minutes, hit a few quick Js, and have a huge impact on the game, without exposing any of their liabilities on defense.

    I also noticed that Strickland, going back to last year, has now gone 12 straight games without taking a three. I wonder if Roy instituted the “Jackie Manuel” rules? (Although he did hit a couple of 18′footers on Saturday.)

  • faustus1500

    C. Michael,

    I think we all agree that Strickland is a likeable player. The issue is his pairing with Marshall. We know that Marshall can’t sit. We need another player pick up the scoring slack. Once again, does anyone know the last National Champion which had a starting backcourt which averaged such few points?

  • dsteele23

    I totally agree with faustus1500 b/c thats what i been saying since last season. Yes Dex is awesome in many ways, but heck if the other teams have one guard outscoring our starting backcourt um where’s this great permiter d? and again my point also is Dex is your primary back up to KM right now. so his mins at 2G should go to Bull/PJ. I could deal with Dex if he consistently asserts himself driving and drawing fouls etc, but he doesn’t! he’s perhaps the most athletic guy on the team yet offensively doesn’t use it enuf. He doesn’t have to make a 3 to score 16-18 pts. Coming out of HS he was known as a scorer! Can we please see it from game to game dude?

  • ^^The 2005 Tar Heels’ starting backcourt (Felton and Manuel) averaged 18 ppg, combined. Or for a more apt comparison, Felton/Manuel/McCants averaged 34 ppg, while Marshall/Strickland/Barnes are averaging 30, and Marshall’s assist numbers will likely dwarf Felton’s.

    And UNC is currently scoring 88 ppg (5th in the nation). It’s not like offense has been a problem this season.

  • AZACCFan

    Strickland has improved hugely from the beginning of LAST season. I think starting him is great and keeping him in as long as things are going in the right direction. Having Hairston and Bullock as off the bench shooters could be key.

    Strickland just isn’t the best 3 point shooter. He has other skills though which neither of the other two have.

    Strickland is also doing well bringing the ball up and in the limited time he has played without Marshall.

  • dsteele23

    C.Michael i see your above point..just pointing out something tho. Dex has WAY more ability to score than he is doing. Period. Its great to play D as well as he does, however u must make the guy guarding u play some d as well. This team is nowhere the scoring machine as the 09 team for instance. Roy even states that, but it can be. Roy should sort of adapt more to what the current team has and lacks esp with his sub pattern(usual problem) Watts can’t be your 1st bench option! Instead of just throwing 3 or 4 new guys at a time maybe sub in PJ/Reg for dex and give him a blow then throw him back in for KM 2 get a breather u know? Just seems that would make alot of sense based on the way this team is structured thats all

  • “Dex has WAY more ability to score than he is doing.”

    Agree completely, and I won’t be surprised if he ends the season around 10-11 ppg, which for a 4th option, isn’t bad.

    As for the substitution pattern, I think we will see more of the “single player subs” as the season progresses, but the wholesale substitution pattern is a hallmark of Roy’s early season strategy. Once UNC gets into conference play, it becomes much more of a rarity.

  • Heel To The End

    just as an interesting trivia question from faustus, i’d bet it hasnt happened in at least 30 years.

  • AZACCFan

    80 points should win most games at any point in the season.

    Except when the other team has 90.

  • dsteele23

    ^^ C.Michael this is true…yet this season with the schedule being like it is, maybe its time to treat it like mid season. Wed nites game is NO sure win at all even at home. Mins should be earned not given just b/c u are there or been there u know.Nothin against Watts, but u have WAY BETTER options! this is just a really nervous time b/c by next Mon could be with 3 losses already! I’m confident but i’ve seen no game to game overall improvement this season! Not 1 really impressive win. I mean Tenn St? Shoulda beat SC by 50 with all the turnovers they had…its early but its no time to play around esp with a team that went to the Elite 8 and adding 2 All American freshmen.

  • faustus1500

    C. Michael,

    Strickland and Marshall average a combined 13.1 points a game. Jackie Manuel only played 21 minutes a game in ’05. The 2005 backcourt worked because defenses had to respect Felton’s ability to score.


    I will look into my own question afterwork. I have a feeling that the 1981-82 team somewhere on this list.

  • Heel To The End

    ^Jimmy Black and MJ not score 13? i dont think so.

  • faustus1500

    ^they definitely combined for more than 13 a game. Lol I am just saying they might be a lower scoring tandem. I know the answer to my question will probably take me back to 1950s.

    Just looked up the actual numbers for Jordan and Black: they averaged a combined 21.1 points per game.

  • teddyjackeddy

    Not sure I understand Reggie’s great grade. I think we need more than 0 points for him to be effective.

  • ^Bullock had 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 assist in 19 minutes. That is pretty productive.

  • 40yrheel

    if dex sits, who plays defense?

  • partsman5521

    Everybody here has flipped out. (Me included). Didn’t we have this same discussion last year about substitutions? I’ll bet everyone here, that Dex is doing exactly what Roy is telling him to do. If they play (Roy’s) way, they don’t need Dex to score. When the players play Roy’s way, it’s a beautiful game to watch. Up tempo,fastbreaks,rebounding, etc. When they do the complete opposite of what I believe they are coached, Then it’s the ugliest game to watch. last year in the beginning of the season, I wanted Roy’s head. Later on during their run, I couldn’t believe the things I said. And we here won’t either. I’ll bet everyone on this blog that come wednesday night, after the win, we will have forgotten everything we said about Unlv.

    Trust me…….

  • Heel To The End

    i’m told that on ESPN, Gino Gaudio just telestrated all the Heels in the lane while the ball is being shot from 3, in the UNLV game.
    why in the world we would feel the need to pack the lane vs UNLV is a mystery to me.

  • faustus1500


    Who is flipping out? We know what the issues are. No one is saying this isn’t bad team. We just believe it takes a few tweaks to turn this team into a champion.

    Ok everyone this is my research on back-court scoring and winning championships:

    UNC current season: Marshall 4.8 + Strickland 8.3 + Barnes 17.3 = 30.4

    2011- UCONN Walker 23.5+Napier 7.8+ Lamb 11.1= 42.4
    2010- Duke Scheyer 18.2+Singler 17.7+Smith 17.4= 53.3
    2009- UNC Lawson 16.6+ Ellington 15.8+ Green 13.1= 45.5
    2008- Kansas Chalmers 12.8+ Robinson 7.3+ Rush 13.3= 33.4
    2007- Florida Green 13.3+ Brewer 13.2+ Humphrey 10.3= 36.8
    2006- Florida Green 13.3+ Brewer 12.7+ Humphrey 10.9= 36.9
    2005- UNC Felton 12.9 + Manuel 5.5 + McCants 16.0= 34.0
    2004- UCONN T. Brown 6.3 + Gordon 18.5 + Anderson 11.2 = 36.0 (Anderson transitioned to becoming a starter during the season)
    2003- Syracuse McNamara 13.3 + Duany 11.0 + Edelin 9.0 = 33.3
    2002- Maryland Blake 8.0 + Dixon 20.4 + Mouton 11.1 = 39.5
    2001- Duke Williams 21.6 + Dunleavy Jr 12.6 + Duhon 7.2 = 41.4
    2000- Mich State Cleaves 12.1 + Bell 11.5 + Peterson 16.8 = 40.4
    1999- UCONN El-Amin 13.8 + Moore 6.8 + Hamilton 21.5 = 42.1
    1998- Kentucky Turner 9.3 + Sheppard 13.7 + Edwards 9.2 = 32.2
    1997- Arizona Bibby 13.5 + Simon 18.4 + Dickerson 18.9 = 50.8
    1996- Kentucky Delk 17.8 + Anderson 9.4 + Mercer 8.0 = 35.2
    1995- UCLA Edney 14.3 + O’Bannon 13.6 + 10.5 = 38.4
    1994- Arkansas Beck 8.8 + Dillard 8.9 + Thurman 15.9 = 33.6
    1993- North Carolina Phelps 8.1 + D. Williams 14.3 + Reese 11.4 = 33.8
    1992- Duke Hurley 13.2 + Davis 11.2 + Hill 14.6 = 39.0

    As you can see, this years UNC team is 1.8 points per game less than the lowest championship team over the past twenty years (1998 Kentucky). While we know the 53.3 points per game for Duke in 2010 is an anomaly, it doesn’t diminish the general trend regarding the importance of backcourt scoring when fighting for National Championship.

  • BeachHeel

    The scoring from Barnes, Marshall, Strickland will be higher by the end of the year. We are coming off a few games where they barely got 25 minutes each. Secondly, many of these championship teams depended heavily on back court scoring because their back court was stronger than their front court. Our strength this year is our front court. Thirdly, the statistic listed does not include back court bench scoring. Whether a player starts or not, his points count just the same. If you have no capable scorers on the bench then naturally the starters will have more minutes, thus more points. Some teams rely on their back courts to do most of the scoring and others rely more on the front court. It is total points per game that matters, and as has been mentioned, scoring really has not been a problem this year. I think the back court scoring stat would be more telling if it included all back court scoring, including back court points off the bench.

  • Kinne

    After the loss, I am now kind of glad we got the shocker loss out of the way early in the season. There might be others along the way, but to get an attitude check before the key games is a good thing.
    Things I hope to see improvement on against Wisonsin:
    1. perimeter defense
    2. rebounding
    3. free throw shooting
    4. toughness inside
    5. all around intensity, and a fast start

    Bright spots were obviously JMM and PJ they are bringing good things to the team. Another is Dex, his shot has greatly improved and he is still a defensive beast.

    Zeller and Henson need to box out, they just look up as a shot goes toward the rim. Another thing, Henson needs to stay home on the block attempt sometimes to mix it up. On offense we sometimes just stand still and watch the post try to get position.

    But I expect a bounce back game and a strong outing from the Heels, keep in mind that Wisconsin can SHOOT THE BALL they are lights out from behind the three point line.

  • gso_tarheel

    Regarding backcourt scoring, take Barnes out and compare only point guard and shooting guard combined averages. It is not even close - KM and Dex are way behind.

    This may or may not mean anything. But it does highlight what we all have known - your backup backcourt and your starting frontline better be scoring machines. The problem is, as good as our front court is, they are not going to overwhelm other high-end front courts (e.g. KY) with their scoring. So our backcourt backups (PJ and Reggie) MUST score a bunch - it is not an option for this team.

    Also, some have said offense is not a problem for this team. I think it is the major problem. Roy’s systems requires that the team be an offensive juggernaut. I suspect we have only been scoring points because of a high # of possessions and weaker competition overall. But just the eyeball test says we are inconsistent and too predictable at times.

  • makeitWayne22

    About last game, there was a point that PJ got rolling hit 2 huge shots, and then was subbed out to watch the starters lose the game.

    Those are the games that frustrate me with Roy, when the starters arent playing and he still stick with them when PJ is playing well.

    When the 2 guard doesnt shoot its 4 on 5 on the offensive end.. Thats what happened against UNLV.

    All dex shoots is layups so i hope his FG% is high, but come ACC no one will respect his shot and double the paint. PJ is a scoring machine folks, not like lesile, a real force that needs hes spot with the starters.

  • chaucer1350

    This team will sink or swim on its ability to forge a defensive identity over the course of a season. It will be able to win 8 out of 10 games based on sheer talent and 9 out of 10 on talent and effort. That 10th game is the issue, and that one is going to require cohesive team defense - same as any other program out there that every won it all.

    We make this stuff way too complicated sometimes.

  • makeitWayne22

    If they lose at home to Wisconsin than ill worry, bout losing a holiday tourney game in Vegas, after thanksgiving, i can see that.

    I dont know if you have been to Vegas, but the women are very distracting and i didnt play for the Number 1 team when i went there…. LOL

  • Heel To The End

    Barnes may not be able to go. that will be added fuel for the other guys to step up, should that be the case.

  • Asheville Heel

    I love the kids on this team but like all teams we have flaws. KM is great running the team but he is a sub-standard defender. That is our biggest flaw and could prove fatal. Dexter has to play because we have no one else capable of staying in front of a quick guard. Stillman White has better on the ball skills than KM. The reason I mention “fatal’ is because Roy’s rigidity with his defensive tatics of ball help inside mandate that the ball must be stopped out top. If the opposing team’s PG is constantly getting into the lane at will and collapsing our perimter defense (like UNLV and Caintucky) teams will kick and rain 3′s on us as usual. That’s the book on UNC and a slow PG is a killer in that scheme. We will win a lot of games but can we win it all? I hope so but we must overcome ourselves defensively to have a shot.

  • Heel To The End

    mercy, Roy was testy on his radio show last night. well, more than usual. he’s always testy.


  • 52bgJ

    there are VERY few guards (much less a slow one) who aren’t at a severe disadvantage going one on one against a good ball-handler/penetrator…but keep on bangin that head!

  • faustus1500


    Even teams which win titles with string frontcourts needed strong backcourts to help take the pressure off them. There is a reason why college basketball is considered a guards game. Most of these teams had strong scoring backcourts. Carolina will experience slow offensive starts to games if the starting backcourt can not pick up their scoring. Teams will dare UNC to score to shoot from outside by doubling down on Zeller and Henson.

  • jumpman23

    C. Michael,

    I took your word for it until I could check the stats myself, BUT here we go; the stats don’t lie:

    PJ-Mins-76, PPG-9.7
    Dex-Mins-174, PPG 8.3

    PJ-3 PTFG 14-29 for 48.6%
    Dex-3 PTFG 0-0 (that’s right he hasn’t taken ONE 3PT!)


    PJ has the lowest minutes (excluding Watts) of all the 9 man rotation, yet he is the LEADING 3 PT Shooter on the TEAM! As a matter of fact, PJ/REG have combined to make 24 of the 34 3PTFG NC has made this year!

    Which would you rather have starting, a lock down defender that is a great guy/teammate or a lights out shooter that is not a liability on defense? Seems pretty simple to me-score more than the other team, you win.

  • faustus1500


    I think I can live Marshall be slow on defense. Henson is a major shotblocking presence. Zeller is great at taking charges. Guards will have to be very aware of that of they want to go into the lane. I think the issue whenever UNC double downs. Defensively, I know that Henson, Zeller, and Barnes are competent. A good example is how Moser did against Henson. He had great numbers but I believe he still shot under 33% from the field. The perimeter guys need to be more worried about open threes.

  • dsteele23

    I love Dex I really do, but for this type of team we keep sayin Defense defense, yet guards on the teams we play are scoring pretty well! I mean one guard on a team is outscoring your starting backcourt there’s a problem. Who is dex “stopping” then? Not sayin he doesn’t play great D b/c he really does, but he’s not holding guys to his 10ppg he is scoring. We haven’t even played a great backcourt yet and giving up too many points. How can u not be worried to death that WISC and UK wont win goin away if UNLV could? Clearly we didn’t work on or change what beat us last yr. Coaching 101 is teaching, motivating and making adjustments. Where are these being displayed when u the same thing beats u? The kids gotta play but u gotta put them in better positions to win. Line up goes on a run, let it be..

  • dsteele23

    jumpman23 I totally agree with the point u just made! Dex is awesome, but for the way this team is made maybe he can’t be your starting 2G. We have yet to jump on any team out the gate and completely dominate. UK,OSU, etc sure have. Y? b/c the best 5 are on the court longer for the way the team is built and before u know it, BLOWOUT. We haven’t had a dominant 1st half this season even against scrubs. Slow starts are a problem…do this tomorrow night againsta tough team and it could get embarrassing in the Dean Dome..and my God do that Sat and UK won’t even play the 2nd half

  • Cpump35

    Until PJ is up to speed defensively he won’t play over Dex. Dex can defend quick PGs. PJ may be able to defend quick guards but he still gets lost on occasion. Over the course of the year I bet you’ll see Dex’s minutes come down and PJ’s go up.

  • 52bgJ

    well, we’ll see won’t we? I maintain that a good guard (which we’ll see lots of) can break your defense down. there’s definitely some slack in the rope that can be tightened up, but given the choice of a rope or a chain, I’m taking the chain.

  • Asheville Heel

    ^ We will see some great guards and they have an even bigger impact on UNC than other teams that don’t sell-out on help defense. We all know that Roy harps on defense but his philosophy is really to out-athlete and out score the other team with a higher pace and more possessions. So, maybe we should play the best scorers and push even more. Now someone just convince Ol’ Roy to change and I’m in.

  • 52bgJ

    Me too AH, but I always like having Plan B when Plan A isn’t working

    btw-any chance of getting tickets to the Warren Haynes throw-down at this late date?

  • makeitWayne22

    again with this dex plays defense…

    no one was playing D against UNLV, so why not have some shooters out there. Dex cant stop the dribble drive kick game, he cant. So when the inside bigs are strugglng the heels cant score bc dex and kendall dont shoot.

    Kendall drops 8-15 dimes a game, so hes can stay, only one stop left and its dex.

    Dex is an average defender, that gets exposed just like everyone else on the team, but can not shoot like PJ. PJ was dropping NBA 3′s in rythm in vegas, i thought he was the best player out there.

    So again if no one is playing D, whats the point of dex playing those minutes, bc he didnt stop anyone from getting in the lane.

    Against S. Carolina PJ had 19 ptsin what 15 minutes, dex cant do that….

    Im not talking about dex starting over lesile mcdonald, im talking about PJ Hairston, a stud, that is prolly the best shooting freshman 2 in the country. Dex cant hang with him

  • dsteele23

    This is DEFINANTLY not the same as the issue we had with that piece of trash drew, but this team offensively needs a spark. PJ has def shown that. so even if he doesn’t start, he needs to be the 1st reserve up for Dex unless fouls are an issue with a big guy. Dex is the primary backup PG for now so heck his mins at the 2 should go down for Bull/PJ. Shooters need shots period or teams will sag and get physical with Z/Henson which they don’t do well against.

  • Asheville Heel

    52bgj, the “jam” sold out in 60 minutes. Tickets would have to come from the event sites. Just don’t tell Roy

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