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Tale of the Tape: UNC-Providence

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Here is how North Carolina's first NCAA Tournament game versus Providence looks by the numbers.

North Carolina Providence
Seed #6 #11
NCAA Bid At-large Automatic
Record 23-9 23-11
Conference ACC Big East
Conference Record 13-5(T-3rd) 10-8(T-3rd)
KenPom Rank 26th 46th
Points per game 76.3 73.2
Adj. Offensive Efficiency(Rank) 111.2(52nd) 113.6(28th)
Adj. Defensive Efficiency(Rank) 94.4(19th) 101.1(96th)
Tempo(Rank) 70.9(18th) 64.9(253rd)
Offensive eFG% 49.8% 48,1%
Defensive eFG% 46.5% 48.9%
Field Goal % 46.3% 42.5%
3P FG% 33.5% 35.0%
Offensive Reb Rate 37.8% 35.5%
Defensive Reb Rate 68.7% 70.1%
TO Rate 17.1% 17.3%
FT Rate 44.5% 41.9%
KenPom win probability UNC 63%

Stats via KenPom and StatSheet

There is a lot of strength-on-strength and polar opposites in the numbers. It is Providence's 28th ranked offense versus UNC's 19th ranked defense. Providence prefers to slow it down, UNC prefers the faster pace. Both teams rebound well on the offensive end. Providence is #1 in the country in free throw shooting while the Tar Heels continue to toil 62.1% and 344th overall. That difference could be crucial because even in a game where both teams took 25 free throws each, if both teams hit their average it would be a net loss for UNC. Neither team is prolific from three though the Friars have two players shooting 36% from beyond the arc.

When UNC is on offense they will be face a slightly worse defense when you compare the two units. The issue for UNC is if Providence decides to employ much zone(as they did versus Creighton in the Big East Championship) it could create issues for the Tar Heels. After all slow-tempo games with UNC facing a zone defense and a team that can control the glass some is not ideal to say the least.

Providence also is #1 in another statistical area. Guard Bryce Cotton leads the country in minutes played. Cotton plays 96% of available minutes. And you thought Marcus Paige played a lot of minutes. UNC's point guard is only at 88% which is still a lot of minutes played yet Cotton exceeds it.

Regarding the schedule Providence played, the Friars' worst loss came at home against Seton Hall which is ranked 91st by KenPom. Providence and UNC shared three opponents this season. The Friars beat Boston College and lost to Kentucky and Maryland. UNC went 3-0 against those teams.