Ok, here are another list of my "on the money" predictions of UNC's Tournament run. Actually, on second thought, lets review the USC game. The Heels' shooting percentage was lower than the Trojans as expected, but the offensive rebounding more than made up for the difference, the Heels gathered 19 of their own missed shots, allowing them to attempt 16 more FGs and make up the difference in FG%. Now, on to Sunday's regional final.
When the Hoyas have the ball - this is the interesting side of the matchup, and (statistically at least) strength versus strength, UNC 3rd vs G'town 2nd. The individual breakdowns are almost mirror images, with UNC's weakest Defense being TO's caused, while the Hoyas are a tad sloppy with the ball (224th), the same is true with steals, UNC 81st, G'town 283rd. Maybe Wes and Marcus can have "active hands" tomorrow.
When the Heels have the ball - here is the mismatch, UNC 3rd vs. G'town 18th. While the Hoyas Offensively rebound well (7th) they keep their opponents off the Offensive glass as well as the Trojans, ok not that bad, but they are 157th. The same is true of TO's, the Hoyas are 249th at forcing TOs, which means that the only way they end possesions is with a missed basket (and hopefully UNC be pulling in most of their own misses.
One more point, I don't want any of you thinking that this is an Offense vs Defense matchup (Colts/Bears), or an Offense-fast vs Offense-slow matchup as CBS/Billy Packer might suggest it is. The Heels are a much more balanced team and should have an edge because of it.
Thats all well and good, BUT - there is one factor that I haven't mentioned that likely carries the MOST weight of all, and you may just heard about it from Billy Packer. That factor is TEMPO. The Hoyas' correlation between pace and OE is -.44, bold and double starred. That means, when the game goes faster, the Hoyas' offense get markedly less productive. The Hoyas have only lost 1 game they have played at a tempo below their average (59.5 poss/game), in which they allowed Pitt an OE of 136.7. The Heels don't NEED to play fast to win, but it will make it easier to do so. If the Heels force turnovers as those seem to be a Hoya weakness, and convert those TO's into fast break points, then look for another Tar Heel trip to the Final Four. Now I'm not saying the Heels can't win a slow game, but the offensive goliath of Georgetown will be a lot easier to beat if the Heels get the possessions up above 70. Above 70 poss, the Hoyas are 1-1, 99.6 OE, and 45.4 eFG%, the Heels are 22-5, 115.5 OE, and 55.7 eFG%. Also, the Heels' DE improves to -1.6 to 90.6 (these are unadjusted figures). Sorry, that was a lot of numbers to throw at you all at once, but to me it says: if the game is fast (read > 68 poss) UNC has a good chance of winning, if its closer to around 60 poss the odds move closer to even, and may even favor the Hoyas. Anyways, this posting is happening much further in advance than the USC one, so please feel free to add or disagree in the comments.