UNC vs Wake Forest Preview

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 29: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts to a call during their game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the Dean Smith Center on January 29, 2012 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The No. 6 North Carolina Tar Heels (18-3, 5-1), are looking to improve their record to 19-3 as they head to Winston-Salem to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (11-10, 2-5). In what used to be a game that Wake fans all around used to get excited about, a relegation of sorts has taken place, much like the rest of the basketball hype over the past two years.

Nonetheless, it is Wake Forest vs North Carolina, and I'm sure the students that haven't attended a game yet this year (or in their life) will venture out to get all the good seats and support North Caro....errr the Deacs.

UNC opened as a 16 point favorite, and I actually expected it to be much higher, although with Stilman White backing up the GREAT Kendall Marshall, a back door cover is very much in the cards.

Late tip tonight at 9, so it will be very much the R-rated crowd, as will most of the play on the court be as well in all likelihood. Hopefully Roy Williams will allow his players to play all 40 minutes before removing their masculinity in the locker room.

Click through the jump for actual statistical analysis about the game.

Category Offense Defense D-I Avg
Adj. Efficiency 114.1 13 87.9 11 100.4
Adj. Tempo 74.6 5 66.8
Four Factors
Effective FG%: 52.1 64 44.9 34 48.9
Turnover %: 17.3 20 19.5 232 20.7
Off. Reb. %: 40.5 8 27.3 21 32.4
FTA/FGA: 38.8 116 17.3 1 36.5
Miscellaneous Components
3P%: 36.3 94 32.7 106 34.3
2P%: 51.4 55 42.4 16 47.7
FT%: 64.6 291 69.2 194 68.8
Block%: 6.0 11 14.8 19 9.3
Steal%: 9.1 120 10.1 141 9.7
Style Components
3PA/FGA: 22.5 341 37.2 304 32.9
A/FGM: 58.8 55 49.0 72 53.6
Defensive Fingerprint: Inconclusive
Point Distribution (% of total points)
3-Pointers: 19.0 333 35.9 8 27.5
2-Pointers: 61.6 10 52.4 166 52.1
Free Throws: 19.4 219 11.7 345 20.4
Strength of Schedule
Components: 103.5 30 99.1 94 100.4
Overall: .6099 56 .5000
Non-conference: .5832 93 .5000
Bench Minutes: 29.9% 204 31.2%
Experience: 1.43 yrs 243 1.65
Effective Height: +4.8 2 0.0
Average Height: 79.2" 1 76.5"

The biggest problem that the Deacs face by looking at the numbers is obviously the height and rebounding of the Tar Heels. UNC ranks 8th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage @ 40.5% (they grab nearly 41% of all their misses).

North Carolina ranks first in the country in points per game and rebounds per game. Both of which are inflated by their tempo (74.5, 6th in the NCAA), but make no mistake, the Heels are quite good at what they do.

They do a slightly worse job on the defensive boards, but given the nature of Wake on the offensive rebounding (26.5%, 315th in the country), I don't think that will be a worrisome number for the Heels tonight.

The Heels do a great job of protecting the ball, despite the shockingly high turnover rate of Kendall Marshall (Marshall's 30.1 rate is much higher than any Wake player that plays significant time, the closest is Nikita Mescheriakov at 22.3).

Marshall makes up for it with his assist rate of 43.2, which is good enough for 6th best in the country.

Once again, the Deacs do not generate a lot of steals/turnovers at all (19.5%, 232nd in the NCAA), so the Heels are strongly favored in that area once again as well.

The only one of the Four Factors that the Deacs are favored in when UNC has the ball is FTA/FGA rate. To put it in laymen terms, Wake doesn't foul that much, and UNC doesn't get to the line that much.

On the other end, not so shockingly, UNC's opponents hardly ever get to the line, and in fact they lead the country in defensive FTA/FGA rate at 17.3. So even though Wake does a very good job of getting to the line on offense (43.1, 42nd in the country), they are at a large disadvantage because UNC always plays 8 on 5 (in all seriousness, UNC is very disciplined on defense and that's why they don't foul a lot).

To say that the Deacs have been struggling offensively would be putting it quite kindly for Jeff Bzdelik's squad. Shooting under 40%, and having more turnovers than assists in most of the games in-conference is not a recipe for success, and is rather one for disaster.

Against the fast tempo of UNC, the Deacs are going to have to slow it down, be efficient, and protect the ball if they want to have any chance to win (I'M LOOKING AT YOU TONY CHENNAULT).

It would also be nice if we could get any offensive production at all from Ty Walker and Carson Desrosiers.

If Chase could play like he did against Clemson in crunch time instead of floating around the perimeter all game, then he could be potentially a large threat as well.

I would assume that the starting lineups will be the same for both teams. Wake could switch in Carson Desrosiers for Nikita to start the game, but that wouldn't really do much in my opinion based off of what we saw on Saturday against Clemson, and especially last Wednesday against FSU.

UNC Projected Starting Lineup:

Kendall Marshall

Reggie Bullock (taking over for the injured Strickland)

Harrison Barnes

The Lesser Zeller

Stretch Armstrong (John Henson)

Wake Forest Projected Starting Lineup

Tony Chennault

CJ Harris

Travis McKie

Nikita Mescheriakov

Ty Walker

Here's a look at UNC's roster, as well as their stats on the year:

Harrison Barnes 21 26.3 17.5 4.6 1.0 1.2 0.4 1.9 .491 .735 .450
Tyler Zeller 21 26.4 14.8 9.3 1.1 1.1 1.2 1.9 .560 .767 .000
John Henson 21 28.1 14.2 9.9 1.5 0.6 3.3 1.3 .531 .455 .000
Reggie Bullock 21 20.0 8.6 4.4 1.0 0.6 0.1 0.9 .450 .778 .404
Dexter Strickland 19 24.3 7.5 2.1 2.1 1.3 0.2 1.4 .570 .667 .000
P.J. Hairston 21 13.7 7.4 2.1 0.9 0.4 0.2 0.9 .341 .857 .326
Kendall Marshall 21 31.3 6.0 2.8 9.7 1.3 0.2 2.8 .438 .667 .282
James Michael McAdoo 21 13.6 5.4 3.6 0.3 0.7 0.2 1.0 .410 .596 .000
Justin Watts 21 5.7 1.3 1.4 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0 .458 .462 .000
Stilman White 17 4.5 1.1 0.5 0.8 0.1 0.0 0.2 .267 .444 .300
Desmond Hubert 16 5.4 0.8 1.9 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.4 .500 .091 .000
Jackson Simmons 17 1.9 0.5 0.8 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 .364 .250 .000
David Dupont 16 1.4 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 .250 .500 .500
Patrick Crouch 17 1.7 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.5 .222 .500 .000
Stewart Cooper 16 1.4 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.2 .667 .333 .000
Totals 21 -- 85 46 19 8 6 13 .480 .646 .365

Final Thoughts

UNC is clearly the more talented team, and also playing their best basketball of the season in the three games after the FSU embarrassment. They have started hitting threes, and have the inside game to compliment it. Even though Stickland is out for the year with a torn ACL, and a lack of depth at the point is a big problem, the Heels are still a strong national title contender.

Obviously the same cannot be said of Wake, who has struggled mightily since entering conference play. This is a tough stretch for the Deacs and they need to keep their heads up before they reach the more manageable part of the schedule with home games against the lower part of the conference.

UNC will take care of this game pretty easily, but I think that the Deacs may be able to manage a back door cover if they play hard the entire game. Not a lot of moral consolation, but this game is just a huge mismatch on paper and will likely be one n the court. I hate to be so negative, but that's what I see. Hopefully I will get proven wrong by the guys on the hardwood.

I'll take UNC 87-62, but hopefully Wake will keep at least the first half interesting.

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