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Bad News for the Wolfpack

I would never be so brazen as to guarantee a win, but there are certainly some trends that point to a very positive outcome for the Heels on Thursday…

Personally, I am very interested to see what the Pack bring on Thursday.  On paper, their 15-5 (4-1) record looks nice.  But upon closer examination, one will see that they are 1-4 against teams in KenPom’s Top-75 and the ranks of their first 5 ACC opponents were: 159, 139, 188, 263, and 76, almost certainly (by rank, at least) the easiest opening schedule to ACC play, ever.  So it is entirely possible that their record is more a reflection of schedule than it is of actual performance.  But beyond even judging the Pack’s threat/worthiness as an opponent, here are some of the previously referred to trends that point to, perhaps, an even bigger edge for the Heels:

  • Since Roy has been back in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels are 22-2 in games that are preceded by at least 6 days off. (And they are 22-0 against teams not named, “Texas.”)
  • UNC, as we all know, is currently riding a 28-game winning streak inside the Dean E. Smith Center.
  • The Tar Heels have also won 10 consecutive games against the Wolfpack, and are 16-1 against their rivals under Roy Williams.
  • In what is probably nothing more than a statistical oddity, the Tar Heels are 8-0 under Roy in their 5th game of the ACC schedule.

Of course, for those who are more pessimistic by nature, you could certainly look at the trends listed above and come to the conclusion that all streaks must end, so Carolina is “due” to lose. (This is false because it assumes the teams are and have been of equal talent and coaching ability, which would thereby make the outcome something more akin to the toss of a coin; and even then, prior events should have no impact on the next “toss.”)  However, if the FSU game last Saturday represented a “Perfect Storm of Crap,” maybe it is possible that this coming game on Thursday will represent a “Perfect Storm of Awesomeness.”

As the adage goes: that’s why they play the games…

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41 comments to Bad News for the Wolfpack

  • LarryS

    I agree with the observations regarding State’s early schedule, and , obviously, sites like Pomeroy and Sagarin have put their wins in perspective, ranking NCSU slightly below Virginia Tech even though Tech has 3 more conf. losses.

    So, yeah, the Wolfpack has improved, but they could easily have a losing record over their last 11 games. Even with a better coach, and some pretty good players, they still have a ways to go to build a winning attitude and maybe get over some lingering bad habits. I will give them credit for a pretty good road win at Miami.

    Metrics and trends aside, I wouldn’t want to be playing the Heels at home in their first game after Strickland’s loss. They’ve had a few extra days to work on adjusments in practice, and they’ll likely be in stepped-up compensation mode. This will be a most interesting contest.

    On a side note, I don’t see how you keep FSU out of the Top 25 today (maybe displacing Illinois?). Even with a 13-6 record, they had a terrific week , beating 2 Top 10 teams by an average of 18 pts. (please inform Duke that they were one of two teams who had been beaten by an avg. of 18 pts.) , and I think deserve it.

    (I think this site is trying to tell me that I post too much - it’s really making me work for them)

  • BoyWilliams

    I’ve run these by the team & they’re all good with them:

    PG Butter / The Stilletto
    SG The Regginator / Hair-Trigger Hairston
    SF Black Falcon / J-Power (as in Watt=Joules/sec=power)
    PF J-Muppet / J-Mac
    C Z-Fed (i.e. The Federal Reserve — it was Z’s suggestion)

    Please use these from now on.

  • TheUNCFan

    Well, I have to give the Wolfpack credit where it is due. The new coach has taken last year’s team, minus its best player, and has them performing much better than last year. While it’s true they haven’t beaten the elite, top-tier teams, they also haven’t lost to mediocre teams like they used to (or win buzzer-beaters against cupcakes). I was not expecting this dramatic of a turnaround this soon. This ORU connection thing that State has going on is working, as unlikely as it sounded back in March.

    I think Sidney Lowe’s NBA experience was his downfall. He never emphasized the fundamentals or taught the game, because a pro player already knows that stuff. You don’t get to be a pro without it. But the college kids were asked to digest an NBA-style gameplan, put in new sets and defenses for each game, and lacked the muscle memory and fundamentals to pull it off. Lowe made the college game too complicated.

    Lowe also never quite figured out the talent dropoff in college - when you get beyond your top four or five players, you have three or four role players and the rest you never want in the game. In the NBA, everyone on the bench can hold their own or they wouldn’t be there.

    Funny how the clue train never showed up at Lowe’s station. Doesn’t take a genius to look at a PIR sheet for your team (and that’s an NBA stat!) and pick the top eight players.

    Well, that experiment is over and it’s time to turn the page. I don’t think State has the depth to win against an elite-eight level team. They’ve only got three elite players, a couple of good role players, and then they hold their breath when the subs come in.

  • gregrustin

    i do predict Roy will introduce a few wrinkle since he has added time to prepare from Thurs. maybe a point zone,3-2,box and one? I am SUPER THRILLED with this long line up. should be FUN.

  • faustus1500

    I would like to see Hubert playing some minutes in the post backing up Zeller. Word of advice to Barnes for the game against NC State…..Scott Wood shoots threes. That is all he does. Fight over screens every time.

  • carolinablue74

    Don’t underestimate the Wolfpack. As I posted in another thread, any team with a good inside-outside game can defeat this UNC team.

  • faustus1500


    Sidney Lowe was a terrible pro coach. His record was 79-228.

  • makeitWayne22

    Dont underestimate Roy’s hate for the Wolf pack as well. Its one of my favorite things about Roy. He HATES to lose to that team from Raleigh.

  • LarryS

    NCSU does have impressive overall balance, with all 5 of its starters averaging double-digit points, and, yes, on any given night UNC can be beaten maybe by someone on the level of State. But I wouldn’t go as far as saying “any” team with a good inside-out game can beat them.

    I assume their are several teams in the Top 50, heck maybe the Top 100, that have good balance, but things like talent, skill, and intangibles have to be the primary considerations.

  • carolinablue74

    If you go back and look at the games where guards have torched us, in a number of those games UNC won simply because of the size advantage in the paint (UNCA, Long Beach State). Teams that had good guard play gave this team fits, teams with both (or at least big men in the paint to neutralize the size advantage) beat this team (UNLV, UK, FSU).

  • LarryS

    Oh, I agree with the points you just made, but my points were, as you observed, UNC usually beats most teams with its size and skill advantage in the paint. And teams the caliber of UNLV, UK (whom we should have beaten), and FSU aren’t just ‘any’ team.

  • carolinablue74

    But the fact is there are plenty of mid-majors with a couple of big men to neutralize UNC’s size advantage and guards that are dead eye shooters out there. Most of them will bring their A game against UNC, and more likely than not may even beat this team. Before UNLV beat UNC, they were just another team, and neither them nor FSU have more first round or lottery picks than UNC.

  • “Before UNLV beat UNC, they were just another team”

    No, they weren’t. They were ranked #17 by KenPom (at the time) and were essentially playing on their homecourt. Just because some fans didn’t know how good they were doesn’t take away from the fact that they were, indeed, good.

  • LarryS

    I know UNLV wasn’t necessarily on the radar when they beat UNC (though they were only a 7-pt. underdog), but you can say that about many teams who turn out to be better than expected, and UNLV has certainly done well since. Same thing with FSU, they’re really only now beginning to hit their stride and relalize their potential.

    First round NBA-picks or not, those are two pretty good teams and I feel confident UNC could/will beat both of them if they play again.

    We could go round and round with this type discussion, by my main point is to take issue with the sort of absolute generalization that pretty much any balanced team can beat UNC. It’s going to take a pretty good one, and on a night UNC just doean’t have it going. Talent, size, and skill win the great majority of the time.

  • faustus1500

    ^actually, the biggest win by UNLV before the UNC game was well…….USC.

  • LarryS

    Outside of getting whomped at Wichita, UNLV’s two other losses were on the road to Top 25 teams. They’re pretty solid.

  • marcus62660

    I work with a bunch of NCSU grads and I always look forward to the Monday before our first match-up…it’s been the same conversation for 15 years. I’ve never been exposed to a more ignorant fan-base than NCSU engineers. They know everything, but everything they know is wrong. They always know our roster better than their own. This year, the highlight is listening to the loudest mouth explain how much better they are than last year because of the new coach, but he can’t remember the new coach’s name. Priceless entertainment.

  • makeitWayne22

    ^or how much better Lorenzo Brown is than Kendall Marshall, i had to tell my state friend to stop when that was brought up.

  • AZACCFan

    I think the rest of the season is quite simple.

    There is plenty of talent on the UNC team this year. There are adequate reserves barring more injuries.

    What has been missing is consistent effort.

    That is all. Effort in all respects and concentration rebounding and shooting free throws.

    If they simply do this and play up to their ability each game, the other issues will mostly take care of themselves.

    Ultimately effort and focus are up to the players.

    There are other good teams out there, but none that they cannot equal. I think the level of competition in the ACC is overall better than advertised earlier this year, which will benefit the team especially on the road.

  • marcus62660


    I always encourage my co-workers to tell me more about their team, because eventually one of them will say something so fantastically stupid that one of the other uninformed knuckleheads will try to correct him, which leads to another fantastically stupid remark. After eaves-dropping this morning, I’m pretty sure C.J. Leslie is their “senior point guard.”

  • LarryS

    “^actually, the biggest win by UNLV before the UNC game was well…….USC.”

    I would probably say Nevada.

  • AZACCFan

    From today’s ACC Roy Williams Teleconference:

    Is there anybody else that can run the point other than Stilman White? Is he your first option at trying to fill those three minutes per half?
    “Yes, there’s no question. We’ve had this before. Every team goes through some spots where you lose a key backup or even worse, a key starter. You just have to prepare for it. Larry Drew leaving last year left a big gap in our program because it’s hard to find a point guard in the spring. We knew that this could happen; it has happened. Now we have to deal with it. I may just decide to play a 2-3 zone the whole game and put Kendall in the middle and tell him never to foul. We’ll try to make sure

  • AZACCFan

    ^”he stays in the game without foul trouble.”

  • LarryS

    “I may just decide to play a 2-3 zone the whole game and put Kendall in the middle and tell him never to foul. We’ll try to make sure”

    Lordy, Lordy, what is this world coming to?

  • BuonRotto

    Way to jinx it, C. Michael! My wife and I will be at the game.

  • AZACCFan

    Marshall played almost 35 minutes per game in the 2011 NCAA tournament. They were not playing zone defense.

  • LarryS

    Marshall averaged 35 MPG for all the 16 games he played after Drew left last year….and he never had more than 3 fouls.

    It could be an issue, but I;m not that worried about it.

    He’s Still…the…man.

  • faustus1500

    It isn’t like Roy is opposed to playing zone to protect Marshall. He employed a zone to protect Felton in the National Championship game. Granted, it allowed Illinois to come back but Felton was able to stay out of foul trouble.

  • chapelhillfan

    State fans are the most ignorant in the nation. I just wish the football coaches hated to lose to State as much as Roy. I think this team will not only put its boot on State’s neck, but will stomp on it and break it. As much as this team’s effort and focus concerns me, I’m predicting an 85-58 beatdown.

  • HeelYeah

    I won’t be so bold as to think we will beat the “Wolpfack” by 20+ points, but I do think we will win. I think it will be a tough game though. State has some talent, Wood can hit the 3 ball, and they will be fired up for this game. While Gottfried may not be Dean Smith, he is certainly light years better than Lowe. State has been playing fairly well this year, and if the Heels don’t bring it they could be in for a surprise.

    That being said, we had better win. As long as we continue our futility against them in football, the bball team needs to keep the wolves at bay.

  • AZACCFan

    Scott Wood can shoot 3s.

    He does not like to shoot if he is guarded. If he is planted and open, he is very effective. He is a big guy as well.

    He might be able to hit a free throw ot two. Since he has not missed this year and now holds the ACC record for consecutive FTs.

    Maybe he could give out some pointers pre-game.

  • faustus1500

    ^Could you imagine if Henson shoot half as well from the line as Wood? I mean really! 50% would be a marked improvement.

  • LarryS

    “Duke at No. 6. Wait … Duke at No. 6?!? Either Duke lost to a good team at home Saturday, and Florida State deserves to be in the polls, or Duke isn’t that good, a close win at Cameron Indoor isn’t that impressive and FSU deserves to be ranked outside the Top 25. You can’t have it both ways. Naturally, the coaches poll does. The Blue Devils just lost to an unranked team on their home court. Their wins leading up to it — a near-escape over Virginia, two uninspiring road wins over Clemson and Georgia Tech and a home blowout of Wake Forest — hardly spoke to this team’s overwhelming excellence. Anyone who has followed this squad closely this season, and anyone who saw Saturday’s loss to FSU, knows it was hardly a fluke: This team doesn’t defend anywhere near as well as we’ve come to expect from Duke teams, and its offense, which has been very good, relies on perimeter play and can be slowed by good man-to-man defensive schemes. Like, oh, Florida State’s. Sorry, but until this team’s defense ranks better than No. 89 in adjusted defensive efficiency, it is not the sixth-best team in the country. Not even close.”

    Eamonn Brennan
    ESPN 1/23

  • Heel To The End

    ^this kind of crap is how dook gets #1 seeds that they dont deserve.

  • AZACCFan

    “This team doesn’t defend anywhere near as well as we’ve come to expect from Duke teams, and its offense, which has been very good, relies on perimeter play and can be slowed by good man-to-man defensive schemes. Like, oh, Florida State’s.”

    Yes the team in Durham can be beaten if they don’t get to shoot stand around 3s. Hope the UNC players keep that from happening.

  • LarryS

    This is certainly the weakest they’ve been, defensively, in many, many years. (They’re usually in the Top 10)

  • Heel To The End

    they have zero players that are as intelligent and/or crafty i guess youd call it, as theyve had the last 10 years, easy.

  • faustus1500

    The problem with Duke this season is that no one slaps the floor.

  • LarryS

    The last 5 times Duke had a #1 seed, they were #8,#4,#13,#1, and #4, respectively, in adjusted D.

  • chapelhillfan

    OK, perhaps I was delusional with my prediction. I’ll say this…if Carolina plays like its capable of playing, it will be a blow-out. If not, well, you get the point, one we have all made.

  • BeachHeel

    State’s best “big” man is 6-8. Overall they are a bit small. Not nearly as big and talented as we are up front; or in the back court for that matter. We should absolutely dominate the boards and the paint. With any reasonable defensive effort on the perimeter C.Michael’s prediction should be safe.

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