Tar Heels just need average perimeter shooting to win, space out the floor

By R.L. Bynum

After Carolina made 47.1% of its 3-point attempts in the last two victories, there was a misconception among some fans that the Tar Heels have to shoot that well to keep winning.

The reality is that average shooting from outside the arc has created enough spacing to help UNC win all season.

Carolina has won all 10 games this season when it has shot at least 34%. If UNC was shooting at that percentage all season, that would only be good enough for seventh in the ACC. That’s certainly better than the Tar Heels’ 31.2% for the season, which is last in the ACC, but it’s not overwhelmingly good.

UNC is 1–4 when it makes less than 20% of its 3-point shots.

Whatever the percentage, the Tar Heels are better off if they can make enough so that defenses respect their perimeter game and don’t sag back on center Armando Bacot as much. Carolina is 11–1 in games when it scores at least eight 3-pointers and 1–4 when it doesn’t. The Tar Heels scored 10 3-pointers in the 71–63 Saturday win over Virginia and 14 in Monday’s 77–66 victory at Florida State.

The difference during the last two games of Carolina’s three-game winning streak has been the shooting of Leaky Black and Pete Nance.

Black (a 29.8% 3-point shooter for his career) is making 33.8% of his 3-point attempts on the season. He’s shooting 66.7% (4 of 6) in the last two games and 47.5% (10 of 21) in the last eight games.

Nance (who has made 34.9% of his 3-point attempts in his career) is shooting 32.6% from outside the arc this season. In the last two games, though, he has shot 70% (7 of 10).

Caleb Love has shot at least 42% from 3 in two of the last four games (50% at N.C. State and 42.9% at Florida State). RJ Davis, finally playing without tape on a finger on his shooting hand, has shot 45.5% (5 of 11) from 3-point range in the last two games.

It also helps to have plenty of players who are perimeter threats. Against Florida State four players — Black, Nance, Davis and Love — scored three 3-pointers for the first time in program history.

Carolina must also be careful not to depend too heavily on perimeter shooting and consistently give Bacot touches inside. Against the Seminoles, UNC had more 3-point field goals (15) than two-point field goals (11) for the first time in five seasons.

The bottom line: Average perimeter shooting could help the Tar Heels make a run in March.

ACC standings

No. 16 Miami15–524–6
No. 13 Virginia15–523–6
No. 25 Pittsburgh14–621–10
N.C. State12–822–9
North Carolina11–919–12
Wake Forest10–1018–13
Boston College9–1115–16
Virginia Tech8–1218–13
Florida State7–139–22
Georgia Tech6–1414–17
Notre Dame3–1711–20

Saturday’s games
Duke 62, North Carolina 57
No. 13 Virginia 75, Louisville 60
Georgia Tech 73, Boston College 65
Virginia Tech 82, Florida State 60
Syracuse 72, Wake Forest 63
No. 26 Miami 78, No. 25 Pittsburgh 76
Clemson 87, Notre Dame 64
End of regular season

(current ranking)
28FridayW, 101–40Johnson C. Smith HomeExhibition
7MondayW, 69–56UNCWHome1–0
11FridayW, 102–86College of CharlestonHome2–0
15TuesdayW, 72–66Gardner-WebbHome3–0
20SundayW, 80–64James MadisonHome4–0
Phil Knight Invitational
24ThursdayW, 89–81First round: PortlandPortland5–0
25FridayL, 70–65Semifinals:
Iowa State
27SundayL, 103–101,
4 OTs
No. 1 Alabama
ACC/Big Ten Challenge
30WednesdayL, 77–65 No. 21 IndianaBloomington, Ind.5–3
4SundayL, 80–72 Virginia TechBlacksburg, Va.5–4,
0–1 ACC
10SaturdayW, 75–59Georgia TechHome6–4,
1–1 ACC
13TuesdayW, 100–67The CitadelHome7–4
CBS Sports Classic
17SaturdayW, 89–84, OTOhio StateNew York8–4
Jumpman Invitational
21WednesdayW, 80–76MichiganCharlotte9–4
30 Friday L, 76–74PittsburghPittsburgh9–5,
1–2 ACC
4WednesdayW, 88–79Wake ForestHome10–5,
2–2 ACC
7SaturdayW, 81–64Notre DameHome11–5,
3–2 ACC
10TuesdayL, 65–58No. 14 VirginiaCharlottesville11–6,
3–3 ACC
14SaturdayW, 80–59LouisvilleLouisville, Ky.12–6,
4–3 ACC
17TuesdayW, 72–64Boston CollegeHome13–6,
5–3 ACC
21SaturdayW, 80–69N.C. StateHome14–6,
6–3 ACC
24TuesdayW, 72–68SyracuseSyracuse, N.Y.15–6,
7–3 ACC
1WednesdayL, 65–64PittsburghHome15–7,
7–4 ACC
4SaturdayL, 63–57No. 12 DukeDurham15–8,
7–5 ACC
7TuesdayL, 92–85Wake ForestWinston-Salem15–9,
7–6 ACC
11SaturdayW, 91–71ClemsonHome 16–9,
8–6 ACC
13MondayL, 80–72No. 16 MiamiHome16–10,
8–7 ACC
19SundayL, 77–69N.C. StateRaleigh16–11,
8–8 ACC
22WednesdayW, 63–59Notre DameSouth Bend, Ind.17–11,
9–8 ACC
25SaturdayW, 71–63No. 14 VirginiaHome18–11,
10–8 ACC
27MondayW, 77–66Florida StateTallahassee, Fla.19–11,
11–8 ACC
4SaturdayL, 62–57No. 12 DukeHome19–12,
11–9 ACC
ACC tournament
8WednesdayW, 85–61Boston CollegeGreensboro20–12
9ThursdayL, 68–59No. 14 Virginia Greensboro20–13

Photo via @UNC_Basketball


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