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Tale of the Tape: UNC-Wake Forest

Here is how UNC matches up with Wake Forest in the ACC opener for both schools.

Grant Halverson
North Carolina Wake Forest
Record 10-3 10-3
ACC Record 0-0 0-0
KenPom Rank 21st 84th
Points per game 80.1 75.6
Points per possession 1.09 1.06
Offensive Efficiency(Rank) 111.8(42nd) 103.3(180th)
Defensive Efficiency(Rank) 93.3(18th) 95.9(37th)
Tempo(Rank) 72.2(27th) 70.0(79th)
Offensive eFG% 50.3% 49.8%
Defensive eFG% 43.6% 43.8%
Field Goal % 47.4% 45.1%
3P FG% 34.6% 33.8%
Offensive Reb Rate 37.4% 34.6%
Defensive Reb Rate 68.5% 73.6%
TO Rate 17.3% 17.2%
FT Rate 52.9% 47.2%
KenPom win probability UNC 64%

Stats sources: KenPom and Statsheet

Somewhat surprisingly these two teams have some really similar numbers, besides the record of course. Both teams are solid on the defensive end and do a great job limiting opposing teams eFG%. Both teams also struggle at the free throw line. UNC is 332nd from the free throw line shooting 62.4%. Wake Forest is just three spots behind at 61.9%.  And like UNC, the Demon Deacons get to the line as a decent clip. Taking all of that into consideration for a conference opener on Sunday night, there is at least a decent chance this is game is going to be weird, ugly and an absolute toss-up.

A couple of numbers that really jump out concerning Wake Forest's defense is offensive rebounding rate allowed and opponent's three point shooting. Wake is 19th nationally limiting opponent to just 26.4% on offensive rebounds while opponents are shooting just 28.1% from three against the Demon Deacons. The rebounding number is probably a bigger concern for UNC than the three point shooting defense simply because that is not a focal point of the Tar Heel offense.

The caveat with Wake's numbers is their schedule has been really weak. KenPom has Wake's non-conference strength of schedule at 314th versus 116th for UNC. The Demon Deacons have played five teams ranked in the 300s by KenPom with a fifth opponent ranked 260th. KenPom does adjust the efficiency numbers to account for the strength of the opponent but the point remains. Wake's 10-3 is not the same as UNC's 10-3. For the record, UNC and Wake also share two common opponents. Wake has wins over Richmond and UNC Greensboro by ten and eight points respectively.