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Tale of the Tape: UNC-Syracuse

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Heels vs Orange

North Carolina Syracuse
Record 14-2 10-6
ACC Record 3-0 0-3
KenPom Rank #11 #69
Points per game 87.8 70.8
Adj. Off. Efficiency(Rank) 120.4(2nd) 107.0(90th)
Ad. Def. Efficiency(Rank) 97.6(65th) 97.6(66th)
Tempo(Rank) 74.2(22nd) 66.2(320th)
Offensive eFG% 54.5% 49.5%
Defensive eFG% 49.4% 46.2%
Field Goal % 50.0% 41.8%
2P FG% 55.7% 46.7%
3P FG% 34.1% 35.4%
FT% 74.7% 67.1%
Offensive Reb Rate 39.0% 33.0%
Defensive Reb Rate 73.7% 63.9%
TO Rate 15.0% 17.6%
FT Rate 34.6% 37.6%
3PA% 26.2% 43.4%

There are a number of reasons this game is problematic for UNC. Many of those aren't necessarily related to the numbers but the one that is often crops up with discussing UNC's defense. Syracuse relies heavily on three point shooting attempting 43.4% of all shots from beyond the arc. The overall 3P% is a modest 35.4% but as we've seen all season, versus UNC teams tend to operate well above average from the perimeter.

I wouldn't expect this game to be any different since that's what the Orange do. Syracuse has three players who have topped 100 three point attempts this season in 13 games. Former Duke player Michael Gbinije has shot 116 threes hitting 40%. Trevor Cooney is at 36% on 112 attempts and Malacahi Richardson has made 33% in 101 attempts. Freshman Tyler Lydon is also plenty dangerous at 42% on 45 attempts. The trio of Gbinije, Cooney and Richardson come in at 6-7, 6-4 and 6-6 respectively making them a tough cover, especially for Marcus Paige, Joel Berry and Nate Britt.

A year ago, UNC kept Syracuse three point shooting largely in check. Cooney attempted 13 threes and made just four. Gbinije was 3-7 while Richardson was not part of that team yet. That came was in Chapel Hill not the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome. In that respect the expectation should be a hot shooting night for the Orange, at least in the early going.

On the flip side, UNC will be facing a zone defense that will test the Tar Heels excellent 15.0 TO%. The Orange have a defensive TO% of 20.7 and UNC has had some sloppy play of late from Joel Berry and Nate Britt running the point. Berry did not face the Orange last season as he was out nursing a groin injury. Britt did and dazzled the world with 17 points on 4-5 shooting from three. UNC will need some of that from Britt, Berry, Paige and Justin Jackson to possibly mitigate any advantage Syracuse might glean from three.

On number that really benefits UNC is the offensive glass. UNC is pulling down 39% of of its misses and the Orange, likely due to the nature of the zone defense is 327th in defensive rebounding rate. In that respect, UNC can probably clean up misses and keep the overall efficiency up providing turnovers don't prove to be an issue.