Previewing Maryland at UNC
Using a last-second basket from Alex Len, the University of Maryland beat North Carolina State Wednesday night. With the victory over the #14 Wolfpack, the Terrpains (14-3 overall, 2-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) are now heading to Chapel Hill, to face the North Carolina Tar Heels (11-5 overall, 1-2 in the ACC) tomorrow.
North Carolina started their season with victories over Gardner-Webb, Florida Atlantic, Long Beach State, and Mississippi State (a 95-49 demolishing of the Bulldogs at the Maui Invitational).
Playing the Bulldogs of Butler the day after the Mississippi State win, UNC suffered their first loss of the year (82-71). In that loss, Butler raced out to a 35-18 halftime lead. Butler was able to get to the foul-line 25 times, and made 12 of their 25 attempts from beyond the arc. UNC was out rebounded 36-27.
As one would expect, the Tar Heels rebounded on Day 3 of the Maui Invitational, with a blowout win over host Chaminade.
Following the trip to Hawaii, the next stop on UNC’s schedule was a visit to Bloomington, to face #1 Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Down 9 at the half, the Tar Heels were bullied in the 2nd half, with Hoosiers ultimately winning by 24 (83-59). Indiana won on the boards 44-34, and was 8 of 20 from 3. UNC was 1 of 8 from 3, and shot just 38% from the floor.
December started with wins over UAB, East Tennessee State, and East Carolina.
On the 17th, the Tar Heels went on the road and lost Texas 85-67. The Longhorns, who went into that game struggling, helped force UNC into 18 turnovers. UNC got to the foul line 32 times, but were just 3 of 19 from 3. Overall from the floor, they shot 31%. UNC did win on the boards 43-40.
Coming home to Chapel Hill, UNC grabbed victories over McNeese State, and #20 UNLV before and after Christmas. The 79-73 victory over the Running Rebels had 5 UNC players scoring at-least 12 points. The Tar Heels got to the line 33 times, helping to off-set their 37-30 loss on the boards. UNC also had 12 steals in the game, and made 51% of their shots.
ACC play started with UNC unable to follow-up on the UNLV win, and losing at UVA, and vs. Miami. In the loss against the Cavs, the teams were pretty much equal on the boards, and UVA was hot from 3 (8 of 14).
North Carolina is coming off of a Saturday win at Florida State (77-72). UNC won both halves, with PJ Hariston leading the way with his 23 points. The Tar Heels dominated on the glass (34-18), and made 48% of their shots.
7 North Carolina players are scoring at-least 7.3 ppg.
James McAdoo, (Sophomore, 6’9, 230 lbs, Forward) averages 14.4 ppg, and 8.1 boards.
Reggie Bullock, (Junior, 6’7, 205 lbs, Forward) averages 13.5 ppg, 5.8 boards, and shoots 47% from 3 (5.4 attempts).
Hariston, (Sophomore, 6’5, 205 lbs, Guard) averages 12.3 ppg, and shoots 34% from 3 (5.9 attempts).
Nationally, the Tar Heels are:
10th Points Per Game (79.7)
3rd Rebounds Per Game (43.2)
4th Assists Per Game (18.3)
96th FG % (.452)
232nd Scoring Defense (69.4)
114th Turnover Margin (1.3)
North Carolina is 54th in the KenPom ratings, and is 41st in RPI.
1) There is a perception that UNC is down, but the wins over UNLV, and FSU; show this is a team capable of beating good teams. Their rebounding, and assists per game, are very good, and similar to the strengths of MD.
2) UNC’s scoring defense shows there are points to be had. Gary Williams had good success against Roy Williams, because he had MD push the ball back up the court after UNC scored. It will be interesting to see if MD is able to have similar success in transition tomorrow. Coach Turgeon and MD lost all 3 of their games against UNC last year, but of course the Tar Heels were one of the Nation’s elite teams, and MD had less athletic talent last year, than they have this season.
3) Maryland’s win over NCST means more, if they are able to get this road victory vs. UNC.