Friday night’s game was absolutely too close for comfort, but at least it was a win. We’re still getting used to all of the new faces wearing Carolina blue-both on the floor and sitting in the coaching chairs, but the season rolls on. The Tar Heels have a big weekend coming up, but before they do they have to take care of business in Charleston. It might be a tougher ask than you think.
Let’s take a peek at what we’re looking for tomorrow night:
De-fense (clap, clap)...De-fense...
The defense on Friday night was horrible. Just terrible. Brown was able to run play after play one-on-one against Carolina and they also hit at a ridiculous 60% clip until the very end. It had gotten so bad that by the end of the game, it was clear that Hubert had told the team that no one was allowed to leave their man to help as Brown would easily pass it to the open player and just hit the shot. Brown eventually crumbled down the stretch, but better teams won’t, and Charleston is arguably a better team.
How so? The Cougars are coming off a 3-0 weekend in the Rising Coaches Classic, having beaten South Carolina State, Lipscomb, and Loyola Maryland-yes the same Loyola Carolina opened their season with last weekend. Three wins in three days is tough to do no matter what the competition, and now they are having one of the blue bloods of college basketball come to their gym. They are only shooting at about a 41% clip right now, but you know that’ll go up if the Tar Heels play the same level of defense they did Friday.
The fact of the matter is, the Carolina offense runs better when Leaky is on the floor. Don’t believe me?
Through 2 games, Carolina has an efficiency margin of +57.3 with Leaky Black on the court (40 min) and -21.6 with him on the bench (40 min).— Adrian Atkinson (@FreeportKid) November 13, 2021
The Heels have been 28 points/100 better offensively and 51 points/100 defensively with Black in the lineup.
This really is a case where the numbers tell you one thing and your eyes tell you another, because Black was up to his old tricks on offense, missing mid range jumpers, bouncing dunks off the rim, and generally being the person that Brown could risk leaving by himself so they could help on defense. However, he was on the floor when Carolina took the lead in the second half and didn’t leave it, so there’s something that he brings that the other options right now don’t. This is huge because it keeps Kerwin Walton on the bench, and essentially just makes the “four” and the “five” spots where they can rotate bodies around. Davis has shown that he’s not going to play guys just to play them, he wants to win, and right now Black helps them win.
Consider it a message to Justin McKoy and Kerwin Walton that they’ll need to step up to that level in order to see the floor more.
Three Point Shooting
If it weren’t obvious that Carolina has a new offense then the simple fact that they are shooting 40.5% from beyond the arc should make it so. They’ve already attempted 42 three-pointers, from every position, but what’s become noticeable is just how much the open space in the lane actually allows for this increase in attempts.
Carolina had a lot of bigs to service last year, and the result of that led to no space in the lane for drives, disabling Caleb Love from getting deep, pulling in the defense, and the threes just weren’t falling. Now, Armando Bacot can roam alone with a ton of room, and you saw the effect with Love driving, pulling the defense, and finding an open R.J. Davis to bury the shot. It’s not just that Carolina is trying more threes, it’s that the offense is actually designed to create more threes. If this continues to succeed, the modern college guard is going to start to salivate over coming to join Hubert in Chapel Hill, so we’ll see if this continues tomorrow night.