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Tale of the Tape: UNC-Pitt

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

A statistical view of UNC's match-up with Pitt

North Carolina Pitt
Record 16-7 20-5
ACC Record 6-4 8-4
KenPom Rank 27th 15th
Points per game 75.8 72.6
Points per possession 1.07 1.14
Offensive Efficiency(Rank) 109.8(77th) 114.2(28th)
Defensive Efficiency(Rank) 93.1(12th) 93.4(15th)
Tempo(Rank) 71.7(16th) 63.7(312th)
Offensive eFG% 48.7% 50.9%
Defensive eFG% 44.9% 45.5%
Field Goal % 45.6% 46.4%
3P FG% 31.8% 34.5%
Offensive Reb Rate 38.4% 37.7%
Defensive Reb Rate 69.0% 71.3%
TO Rate 17.5% 16.2%
FT Rate 45.2% 46.3%
KenPom win probability UNC 56%

Stats sources: KenPom and Statsheet

The numbers that stand out the most are how close both these teams are on the defensive end. UNC is 12th in the country and 2nd in the ACC in defensive efficiency. Pitt is 15th and 4th respectively. UNC and Pitt are one of only four teams in ACC play to average under 100 in defensive efficiency. In ACC play UNC is first in 3P FG% defense, Pitt is fourth while the Panthers are 2nd in defensive turnover rate while UNC is fourth in forcing turnovers. Looking at the sheer numbers, this sets up to be a defensive battle of sorts.

A defensive battle could favor Pitt which technically has the better offense though the Panthers have struggled a bit of late scoring points, especially looking at their games against Miami and Virginia Tech. Pitt also plays a slower tempo which has proven to be an issue for UNC this season. Given the inconsistency of UNC's offense a slower tempo against a solid defensive team is not the best scenario for the Heels. Then again that was the exact scenario UNC faced when Clemson came to Chapel Hill and that game was one of the Tar Heels' better offensive games of the season.

From a strength of schedule standpoint, Pitt has not necessarily played a rigorous schedule outside of the ACC and is 0-5 against teams in the KenPom top 30. Pitt's best win is beating KenPom #37 Stanford back on November 26th. In ACC play Pitt's best wins are over Clemson, Maryland(twice), Miami and NC State. UNC's wins in ACC play are of similar quality with the overall difference being UNC does have three top 30 wins although those were over two months ago. In essence, one of these teams is getting a top 30 KenPom win in ACC play and their first quality win of any kind since before Christmas. The winner of this game will also be in sole possession of fourth place in the ACC and a much coveted bye in the ACC Tournament.