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Carolina’s Frequent Fouler

Carolina’s Frequent Fouler

 Isaiah Hicks is one of the most puzzling UNC basketball players of all-time. Because he can do things most collegiate players dream about, like putting opponents on a poster as seen here: But Hicks struggles to stay on the floor because he does a lot of this: Isaiah Hicks has committed four or more fouls in 31 of his last 70 career games. That’s 44 percent. While UNC was en route to their run to the NCAA Championship game a…

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Four Factor Friday: February Forecast

Four Factor Friday: February Forecast

North Carolina is 20-4 overall and 8-2 in conference play as it heads towards a furious February schedule. UNC has only eight regular season games remaining, four on the road and four at home. In this edition of Four Factor Friday, we’ll take a look at how the Tar Heels perform when playing at home versus on the road or at a neutral site. And then we’ll try to explain what it means for the rest of the season. Let’s…

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Moses Malone-ing It

Moses Malone-ing It

Note: this post originally appeared at Carolina Data Desk, a data journalism initiative in the UNC Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media. In a recent interview, North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams remarked that this year’s team is “Moses Malone-ing it” on the offensive glass, suggesting that maybe the team’s offensive rebounding statistics are somewhat inflated by offensive rebounds coming off of missed easy layups. From my own experience watching games this season, this seems like a plausible phenomenon, with…

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Four Factor Friday: Board Games (Jan. 13)

Four Factor Friday: Board Games (Jan. 13)

North Carolina is 15-3 and 3-1 in ACC play as it prepares to host Florida State (16-1, 4-0 ACC) Saturday at the Dean E. Smith Center. After 18 games, this Carolina team is excelling in one of the Four Factors more than any previous Roy Williams UNC team. We’ll cover how the Tar Heels are keeping opponents off the offensive glass in this edition of Four Factor Friday. Rebounding Totals versus Percentages North Carolina has grabbed 530 defensive rebounds to…

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Four Factor Friday: Conference Concerns (Jan. 6)

Four Factor Friday: Conference Concerns (Jan. 6)

This edition of Four Factor Friday highlights some concerns after the first couple conference games. Carolina is 1-1 in the ACC and plays host to NC State Saturday night. In what might end up being the worst ACC loss under Roy Williams, UNC turned in a turd and Georgia Tech beat the Tar Heels by 12 in the league opener. Carolina followed that up with a fever-dream performance, escaping Clemson with an impressive 89-86 overtime win on the road. So what’s…

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Four Factor Friday: Non-Conference Recap (Dec. 30)

Four Factor Friday: Non-Conference Recap (Dec. 30)

It’s Four Factor Friday and as the Tar Heels head into ACC play, we’ll take a look back at the 14 non-conference games. What went well? Carolina is 12-2 overall. The Tar Heels are one of five teams that rank in the top 10 in both offensive (118.6) and defensive (90.5) efficiency according to Ken Pomeroy. The reason why is UNC’s performance across the four factors—the building blocks of efficiency. Here is how the Tar Heels shape up in those…

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UNC +/- Stats through 13 Games

UNC +/- Stats through 13 Games

With Carolina’s non-conference schedule almost completed (the Heels play Monmouth on Wednesday in Chapel Hill before traveling to Atlanta to tip off the ACC season against Georgia Tech), let’s take a look at the season-to-date +/- numbers. The usual +/- caveats apply here: 1.) this metric is very noisy, especially with a sample as size as 13 games (and certainly for any subsets of that sample); 2.) even the best/most impactful player only controls a small fraction of what occurs…

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Big-to-Big Passing

Big-to-Big Passing

After having just 11 big-to-big assists in the season’s first 12 games, Carolina connected on five such plays against Northern Iowa—most notably, the Meeks-to-Hicks pass for Isaiah’s thunderous dunk (Hicks also assisted Meeks twice, and one each from Maye-to-Jackson (as a small-ball 4 in the post) and Maye-to-Bradley). In UNC’s system, most big-to-big passes occur in one of two situations: 1.) high/low passes against the zone (see Syracuse) or 2.) big-to-big passes after a post entry (usually after the opponent…

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Transition Defense and Late-Game Execution

Transition Defense and Late-Game Execution

Welcome back for the third (and final) part of the Carolina vs. Kentucky series. Part I (Defending Malik Monk) and Part II (Jackson, Berry, and Guarding Ball Screens) are linked here in case you missed them. This one will focus primarily on UNC’s transition defense (and how UK’s transition opportunities were created) and Carolina’s late-game execution. Let’s start with a summary of UNC’s transition defense. Kentucky is one of the most dangerous fast-break teams in the nation. I posted this…

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