North Carolina Tar Heels
Atlantic Coast Conference (32-2, 14-2)
Big Wins: 11/24 vs BYU (73-63), 1/6 at Clemson (90-88), 3/8 at Duke (76-68)
Bad Losses: 1/19 Maryland (80-82), 2/6 Duke (78-89)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2007, Elite Eight loss to Georgetown
Coach: Roy Williams (45-17 in 18 NCAA appearances)
Ty Lawson, Sophomore, Guard, 12.4 ppg, 5.3 apg, 1.8 spg
Wayne Ellington, Sophomore, Guard, 16.7 ppg, 2.2 apg, 4.3 rpg
Marcus Ginyard, Junior, Guard, 7.6 ppg, 2.1 apg, 4.6 rpg
Deon Thompson, Sophomore, Forward, 8.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Tyler Hansbrough, Junior, Forward, 23.0 ppg, 10.3 rpg
Danny Green, Junior, Guard, 11.6 ppg, 2.0 apg, 5.1 rpg
Quentin Thomas, Senior, Guard, 3.3 ppg, 3.0 apg
Alex Stephenson, Sophomore, Forward, 4.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
North Carolina averages nearly 90 points per game, which is second in the nation. Coach Roy Williams will push the ball at every opportunity and he has the depth to do it. Experience was a problem last year, but the backcourt duo of sophomores Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson have a year in the NCAA Tournament under their belt and have taken the Tar Heels to another level.
This is not a team that is simply running and gunning and taking bad shots. They are getting to the basket and feeding the big men, most notably Tyler Hansbrough who is good for at least 20 points and ten rebounds a game. UNC has six players who can easily score in double-digits on any given night and an off night for anybody, even Hansbrough, will not result in a poor showing for the team.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Turnovers can be a problem, but considering UNC will always push the tempo it is understandable. Now that Lawson and Ellington are sophomores, it was expected that the turnover numbers would go down a bit, but that has not been the case. Yet, it is still a product of the system and North Carolina will get more easy baskets pushing the tempo than they will give up off turnovers. The team also lacks a consistent three-point shooter. Ellington, Lawson and Danny Green can knock them down, but the team as a whole does not bother to take many shots from beyond the arc. That is more of an advantage than an Achilles heel for this team since they do so well getting to the basket.
Who To Watch:
This team works around Hansbrough and the fact that the guards have not forgotten such things is a big bonus. In many cases, especially with an up-tempo style of play, the big man will get left out of the picture while the guards run around all day. UNC and Coach Williams will not allow that to happen and Hansbrough will get plenty of touches under the basket. His frontcourt counterpart, Deon Thompson, has done a decent job at the power forward position his first year as a full-time starter. While he can score, Thompson’s best asset is adding a shot blocking presence on the defensive end.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 89.7 (2nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 72.8 (259, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.3 (16, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.1 (90, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (262, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.5 (68, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.1 (12, 2)
Rebound Margin: 11.7 (1, 1)
Assists Per Game: 17.0 (18, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.6 (189, 5)
Joel’s Bracket Says: National Champions
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