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Tale of the Tape: UNC vs UCLA

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Here is how the two opponents in the loser's bracket stack up.

North Carolina UCLA
Conference ACC Pac 12
Record 3-1 4-1
KenPom Rank 26th 23rd
Points per game 83.7 89.2
Adj. Off. Efficiency(Rank) 106.2(40th) 108.3(16th)
Ad. Def. Efficiency(Rank) 91.1(24th) 92.9(43rd)
Tempo(Rank) 74.7(7th) 72.5(17th)
Offensive eFG% 48.8% 53.0%
Defensive eFG% 39.0% 47.5%
Field Goal % 45.7% 47.0%
3P FG% 26.7% 39.2%
Offensive Reb Rate 43.0% 38.5%
Defensive Reb Rate 63.4% 72.7%
TO Rate 16.8% 14.2%
FT Rate 48.8% 44.0%

With the loss to Butler and UCLA's falling to Oklahoma, one of the Top 25 match-ups in the Battle 4 Atlantis will occur in the loser's bracket. UCLA led against Oklahoma late but the Sooners closed out the game on a run to secure the win.

With only four and five games respectively in the books for these two teams, the sample size is still on the small side though there should be far less volatility in the numbers. The one number that sticks out for both teams is tempo. It is pretty rare for UNC to face a team that operates anywhere near the same zip code UNC does in terms of tempo. UNC is 7th nationally in tempo and UCLA is 17th. The tempo for both teams is so fast, KenPom is actually predicting an 80 possession game between UNC and UCLA which is a rarity. Most teams try to rein in the pace against UNC but UCLA may be content to run with the Tar Heels. The danger for UCLA is as much as a team likes to push the ball no one really pushes it the way UNC does.

That being said, UCLA is rating out better offensively through five games with a higher offensive efficiency, eFG%, overall FG% and shooting 39% from three. Then again UNC's defensive numbers are actually solid. UNC has held its first four opponents to 34.6% shooting from two. UCLA is over 50% from that range. Of all the things that went wrong against Butler, the defense wasn't part of it save the lack of defensive rebounding. Butler shot poorly and turned the ball over as much as UNC did. Had UNC finished the defensive possessions out with rebounds, the result would have been much different. If the pattern of forcing teams to shoot poorly holds true, UNC will need to resolve those defensive rebounding issues.

Speaking of the rebounding, UNC's -17 in rebounding margin and Butler's 52% offensive rebounding rate was so universally bad, it is possible it really was an outlier. The instances where UNC gave up 29 offensive rebounds or posted a rebounding deficit that wide are all associated with seasons like 2010, 2002 and 2003. This team should easily be better than those which leads to the possibility UNC rebounding woes against Butler are isolated to one bad game. UCLA certainly offers  test to that theory. The Bruins have the size to match UNC and has a respectable 72.7% defensive rebounding rate.

For the most part the numbers point to an even game to the point KenPom is calling this a 50/50 games with a nod to UCLA predicting a one point win.