Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse, a survey of fans across college sports. Each week during the college sports season, we will send out polls to plug in fans to each team. Tar Heel fans can sign up HERE to join FanPulse.
We are nearing the close of the college football season as far as UNC goes, with their final game taking place December 27th in the Military Bowl against Temple. This means that fans can start to turn most of their attention to basketball, which currently seems to be a sore spot among the fan base. As confusing as that sentence may seem, the data never lies, as the confidence in the basketball plummeted in this week’s FanPulse survey.
To add context to this data, we began collecting data from fans at the beginning of the college football season. Between UNC football and basketball, 25% is the lowest level of confidence that our readers have had for either team. These results tell us a few things:
1.) Our readers have a lot more forgiveness for the football program, which is understandable: this is year one of a rebuild of sorts under Mack Brown.
2.) Three losses in four games is a terrible look, despite the fact that all three losses were to teams that have reached the AP Top 10.
3.) The ball not going into the basket creates some dark, miserable times in Tar Heel Nation.
To defend UNC, college basketball has been a lot of chaos without any team really proving to be definitive Final Four contenders. Sure, there’s teams like Kansas, Ohio State, Gonzaga, and despite the quantity of losses, UNC that have taken some respectable L’s to quality opponents or are undefeated altogether. However, there are teams like Duke, Kentucky, Virginia, Michigan, and Louisville that have taken some head-scratchers. To put it bluntly: college basketball is pretty drunk this year.
On the other hand, UNC’s issues are disturbing to say the least, and they definitely shouldn’t be ignored. While it’s hard to scoff at losing against really good teams, the way they’re losing these games is a tough issue to navigate. Players that have been designated as threats to knock down shots are shooting at terrible clips, which is making it easier for teams to focus on the Heels’ strength which is getting the ball into the paint.
Many analysts have tried to break down what is causing the issue but truthfully, it’s a fairly complicated issue. There’s a lack of ball screens being set, the primary and secondary breaks are almost non-existent, and even when players are open they’re just not knocking down shots. Cole Anthony’s been stifled because of this, as well as Armando Bacot and Garrison Brooks at times. It’s not particularly a fun time at the moment, and so there’s a bit of understanding in the survey results.
As far as I’m concerned, this team just hit a really bad part of the schedule while trying to figure out how to remedy some of their issues. Any team that is trying to better their shooting percentage shouldn’t be going against Ohio State and Virginia in back to back games, as that is some cruel mischief created by the Basketball Gods themselves. I’d expect things to at least look a little better against Wofford if for no other reason than the level of competition will be significantly easier as far as defense is concerned. Maybe seeing the ball go into the hoop (hopefully) against a 284th-ranked defense according to Kenpom will help boost this team’s confidence and get things back on the right track.
What do you think of this week’s survey results? Do you feel better about this team than the survey implies, or if you agree with the results, who do you think will be key in getting things back on the right track? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, if you haven’t yet sign up for FanPulse by following the link at the beginning of this article.