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Thirty-Six Versus Seven

That's the number of free throw attempts by UNC and Clemson respectively in Sunday's game, and a few folks find that suspicious. (Ah, Duke fan complaining about calls - you're my favorite one of all.) So how does a team get to the line 31 fewer times than their opponent?

Well first of all, it helps if you miss the front end of all of your one-and-ones. That'll cut back on your trips to the line. But the foul count was in UNC's favorite 31 to 14. But I could have told you there was going to be a discrepancy going into the game. And it's not because I've been donating unsequential bills to the ACC Referee Children's College Fund, either. Remember this table?

Clemson fouls. A lot. They play an agressive, turnover-generating defense, and like the other such defenses in the league - Duke and Florida State - they send their opponents to the line pretty often. UNC, however, doesn't generate many turnovers - they're second to Boston College in not doing that - and consequently rarely sends opponents to the line. Pair that with a concerted strategy of not fouling during Clemson's collapse, despite the color commentary crew arguing it would be a good idea, and UNC's inability to consistently shoot from outside (there are more fouls on plays in the paint than behind the arc) and it's not really a shock the foul total was so lopsided.

I'll give you a hint. The games this week against Virginias Tech and Original Recipe? UNC's opponents are again going to outfoul them. Virginia Tech plays a similar defensive style to the Tigers, and foul even more often. Virginia is just bad, and fouls heavily as a result. Now if there are ridiculously large margins against N.C. State or BC, you might have a case, but with Clemson, it's no harm, no foul.