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Roy Williams Talks Three Point Defense

A nice rundown from the N&O's Andrew Carter on defending three pointer vs Duke. Roy Williams described grading UNC's defense versus Duke from the first game.

You can read the full article here. Carter summarizes Roy's description of 23 of Duke 36 three point attempts.

So to summarize … among those Duke’s 36 shots from behind the 3-point line, Williams counted:

- Four that came as a result of dribble penetration and passes out to the perimeter.
- Five that came after a UNC defender went under a screen, instead of over it.
- One that came when a Duke player made a “big-time” shot when UNC correctly defended the player.
- Four that came on what Williams described as a “stare-down.”
- Two that came after a staggered screen at the elbow.
- Two (or three) that came after double screens across the top of the key.
- One that came after Seth Curry lost Kendall Marshall after Curry made a nice cut.
- One that came after Tyler Thornton’s fake pass faked out the UNC defense, leaving Thornton open.
- Two that came after the center threw it diagonally across the court to a forward.

That only accounts for 23 of the 3-point attempts, of course. But, as you can see, defending the 3 against Duke isn’t as easy as it might sound.

The basic point? Duke gets three pointers using a variety of methods. Roy even says there isn't a common thread and there is no single solution to defending Duke's threes. That being said, the Tar Heels need to do a better job in certain aspects of their three point defense. There has been frequent discussion on this blog of UNC players going under screens as opposed to over them. By Roy's accounting here, it happened five times versus Duke. Obviously Roy is not teaching them to go under screens, it is the reaction of the player in that moment. Getting around screens and closing out without fouling would cut into some of Duke's three point shooting.

Roy also mentioned "stare downs" and unless the player is Austin Rivers or Seth Curry, it probably makes sense to close out and not worry about the drive. With Curry and Rivers, their driving ability has to be respected but that doesn't mean you aren't aggressive and force them to put the ball on the f loor from time to time. Tyler Zeller and John Henson can make life very difficult in the paint, even for players who can hit shots like Curry and Rivers. The downside there is a potential for foul trouble which UNC cannot afford.

The bottom line is make Duke earn every shot with a solid team defensive effort. It is not as much about one match-up as it is all the Tar Heels on the court trusting their teammates and helping at the right moment. Whatever the case  don't let it be a situation where Duke gets open shots because of poor defense. UNC should defend the perimeter aggressively. If Duke has to really work for every shot, that also could lead to fatigue and tired legs later in the game. Make them earn it. Every. Single. Time.