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UNC’s offense when it flows through Armando Bacot

Armando Bacot is beginning to look like an All-American. How has that affected UNC’s offnse?

NCAA Basketball: Jumpman Invitational-Michigan at North Carolina Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The two most recent wins against Michigan and Ohio State have shown that when Armando Bacot is fed the ball and scores, good things happen. The last eight games give us a bit of insight on how that anecdotal maxim is shaking out in statistical terms. You’ll of course remember that the four most recent games are all wins, and the four games prior are losses.

I apologize for the messiness of the line chart below, part of it is my fault (I’m not a data scientist and I’m not great with Excel) and part of it is the wild variance in 3pt % from Caleb Love and RJ Davis. Also, Armando Bacot sat the entire Virginia Tech loss, so don’t attribute the Red (Bacot’s FGA) and Orange (Bacot Points) lines to a drop in performance. He just didn’t play. And the Tar Heels suffered for it.

The first thing you should notice is that when Bacot takes more shots, his points total goes up. Duh? Well, this speaks to his efficiency. If you exclude the Indiana game (where he took a shot to his shoulder/chest and never looked quite right) and the Georgia Tech win (his first game back after sitting out the game at Virginia Tech), the space between attempts and points is remarkably consistent. They pinch in games where he was most feeling the effects of his upper body injury.

Now look at the absolute rollercoaster ride that is RJ Davis and Caleb Love’s 3pt% during these games. Some interesting takeaways:

· Both guards attempted three-pointers in every game, so they both contribute to attempts and percentage.

· Caleb has hit higher highs, but also lower lows (ignoring RJ’s 0-4 day at VaTech)

· Both guards shot entirely too many three-pointers against Iowa State

· They probably didn’t shoot enough treys at Indiana

Bacot has looked most dominant in the B1G wins against Michigan and Ohio State. This may be the model that Hubert Davis most wants to pursue heading into ACC play. You’ll notice that the three-pointers attempted by Love and Davis combined mirror Bacot’s attempts closely in those two games, plus the Citadel blowout.

Aside from a poor three-point shooting afternoon at Madison Square Garden (hometown jitters, perhaps?) RJ Davis shot 50% against Michigan and Citadel. Caleb will likely shoot at a higher volume (a design feature, not a bug) but RJ provides a higher floor for the Tar Heels.

Bottom line: Carolina needs to feed Bacot in the post and then let Love and Davis fire higher quality shots from downtown.