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UNC Basketball: Stock Report - Week 5

Only one match-up last week, and UConn was a measuring stick game where the Heels came up short

NCAA Basketball: Jimmy V Classic-North Carolina at Connecticut Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

UNC only had one game last week—against UConn at Madison Square Garden—as the schedule slows down for exams. The Tar Heels had an early test of their own against the defending national champions, and although they came up short, there was plenty to be proud of while still having loads to work on before going to Atlanta to face Kentucky.

One game makes the stocks very volatile, so some perspective is needed here. Let’s dive in to our Week 5 stock performances.

STOCK UP

Harrison Ingram: The Stanford transfer has made his presence felt all season, and against UConn, he was one of two Tar Heels that had top performances. RJ Davis led all scorers with 26 points (thankfully beating out Cam Spencer) and Ingram balled out efficiently, but with just two standout performers, Carolina drowned in UConn’s quality.

Ingram has such an interesting mixture of talents. He’s strong and can bruise down low, he can make plays from the 4-spot (look at the first highlight from the clip below, Ingram tears down a rebound in traffic, starts the break, and delivers a perfectly lobbed pass to Bacot channeling his inner Tyler Zeller for the dunk)...

... and he has a quality shot—evidenced by his 3/4 shooting from three (46.3% on the season!)—but he struggles from the free throw line, shooting just 1/3 against the Huskies, and just 62.2% so far this year.

The great Mark Titus has said many times that shooting 46.3% from three is too high—it means you’re not shooting enough! We may have reached that point with Ingram.

Last season, Carolina fans made the mistake of likening Pete Nance to Brady Manek. They’re different players. Harrison Ingram is different from both of those guys as well, but he may be able to occupy some of the spaces Manek did opposite of Bacot. Look at this sequence when UConn went to a 1-3-1 zone, and Ingram feinted a dive before taking up a good shooting spot on the wing:

That’s repeatable behavior, and Ingram has the stroke to hit that shot at a high clip.

STOCK DOWN

Armando Bacot: Harsh rating, but when compared to last week’s bull run, it’s expected.

UConn was a tough match-up for UNC in general and Bacot in particular. The Huskies were +10 in rebounding, and Bacot was the only real contributor on the boards, pulling down 13. UConn didn’t have any player with double-digit rebounds (partly because Bacot harangued WWE Intercontinental champion Donovan Clingan into four fouls), but they had four players with at least 5 boards. Carolina didn’t have any except Bacot.

It was always going to be fine margins against the defending national champions, and UNC needed Bacot to be more of a factor scoring. Instead, Bacot went 4-12 from the field, and had a down night at the line, shooting just 5-10. This comes after last week’s Stock Up performance where I brought his free-throw shooting in for particular praise. His shooting at MSG took his season FT% below 80% (78.6) for the first time this year.

Kentucky doesn’t have any rebounding monsters, and they don’t have the elite size that tends to bother Bacot. He’ll likely be banging with the likes of Tre Mitchell (6’9”, 6 rpg) and Aaron Bradshaw (7’1”, 2 rpg), so it’s imperative that Bacot dominate that match-up.

Cormac Ryan: Carolina is a better team with Cormac Ryan in it, period dot. This game against UConn did not flatter the grad transfer, though.

RJ Davis and Harrison Ingram were a combined 7-12 from 3-point distance. So why did UNC collectively shoot 35% 3P% on 20 attempts? Ryan was 0-6. Carolina desperately needed a few of those attempts to go in.

For the Tar Heels to reach their ceiling, Cormac Ryan needs to shoot from distance at about a 35% clip and average 13 to 16 ppg. Elliot Cadeau has started driving to the hoop, but is still way more of a facilitator than scorer. Ryan needs to open up the floor for RJ Davis to drive and Bacot to operate on the block.


It was just a one-game sample size, but whose stock had the most movement in Week 5? Who do you think is due for a breakout or retreat against Kentucky? Let us know in the comments!