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Tale of the Tape: UNC-UCLA

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Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Tar Heels vs Bruins

North Carolina UCLA
Record 8-2 8-3
Conference ACC Pac 12
KenPom Rank #11 #38
Points per game 85.3 80.4
Adj. Off. Efficiency(Rank) 118.1(3rd) 112.8(21st)
Ad. Def. Efficiency(Rank) 96.3(50th) 99.4(107th)
Tempo(Rank) 73.3(51st) 70.6(143rd)
Offensive eFG% 54.8% 51.9%
Defensive eFG% 49.3% 47.5%
Field Goal % 49.5% 47.2%
2P FG% 54.6% 51.3%
3P FG% 36.8% 35.8%
FT% 71.9% 69.6%
Offensive Reb Rate 35.7% 35.2%
Defensive Reb Rate 75.8% 70.2%
TO Rate 14.9% 17.7%
FT Rate 34.1% 37.1%
3PA% 28.6% 26.2%


Statistically these two teams are somewhat even both in numbers and style. Both teams have legitimate interior scoring threats and perimeter player who can hit threes. However neither team leans heavily on three point shooting. UCLA, despite having a pair of 37% or better three point shooters and a third at 33% takes fewer threes than UNC does. UCLA's 3PA% is near the bottom nationally at 26.2. UNC is slightly better at 28.6 and the Tar Heels are hitting 36.8% from three while UCLA is at 35.8%.

This is clearly a battle inside the arc and for UNC, that could be an issue with Kennedy Meeks out nursing a bone bruise in his knee. The interior defense for the Tar Heels hasn't been good and the due of Thomas Welsh and Tony Parker will put strain on Brice Johnson, Isaiah Hicks and Joel James to adequately defend without committing fouls. Parker draws 5.8 fouls per 40 minutes and has a free throw rate of 50.9%. Parker also shoots below 50% at the line. Fouling Parker isn't a terrible thing except without Meeks, UNC has five fewer fouls to give unless Luke Maye gets more minutes.

While UNC's defense has struggled, UCLA actually sports a worse defensive efficiency rating at 99.4. Looking ath specific games, UCLA hasn't allowed many teams to play extremely well on the offensive end but really haven'y shut teams down either. Aside from Cal State Northridge's 65.8, UCLA's "best" defensive game from an efficiency standpoint is Pepperdine's 93.3. Seven of 11 UCLA opponents have topped 100 in offensive efficiency and Monmouth actually won versus the Bruins with an OE of 99.1. All of this is to say UNC has little excuse for not having a solid offensive outing against this team.

In fact, if the defense is going to struggle then UNC's first, best hope is to play high level offense. The weapons are certainly there and if the offense is balanced, then the defensive struggles can be mitigated.