The Path To Houston, Part 2

At this time of year, there is great joy in having the honor of continuing to play basketball. Tonight, The Tar Heels get that honor at least one more time in the 2015-16 season when they take on the Providence Friars in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.

Providence

  • 24-10 (10-8)
  • 4th in Big East

Game Notes:

  • These two teams played two years ago in the 1st Round (although at that point it was called the “2nd Round” in one of the NCAA’s silliest marketing ploys ever). 79-77 UNC. Providence featured another dynamic point guard named Bryce Cotton who went off for 36 and played the entire game. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen again.
  • A difference for Providence this year is that there is also a formidable frontcourt player (Ben Bentil) to go along with point guard Kris Dunn (this team’s iteration of Cotton).
  • As per the DailyTarHeel.com, Providence is 9-1 this season in games decided by 4 or fewer points. Given the Tar Heels’ penchant for not closing games down the stretch, although they’ve done marvelously in this department during the current 6 game winning streak; Providence’s experience in close games could prove worrisome.
  • While Dunn and Bentil are the names to know, Rodney Bullock is the x-factor as the only other player averaging double-digit points for Providence.
  • As per usual, the Tar Heels will have a size and depth advantage in the front court. However, Providence will have a height and size advantage in the backcourt.
  • On paper, there doesn’t seem to be a Providence player that will slow down Brice Johnson and the UNC front court attack, assuming the back court players will be able to effectively feed the post.

Starting Line-Ups

  1. Kris Dunn (6’4”, 220) vs. Marcus Paige (6’2”, 175)
  2. Junior Lomomba (6’5”, 205) vs. Joel Berry (6’0”, 195)
  3. Jalen Linsey (6’7”, 210) vs. Justin Jackson (6’8”, 200)
  4. Ben Bentil (6’9”, 235) vs. Brice Johnson (6’10”, 230)
  5. Rodney Bullock (6’8”, 225) vs. Kennedy Meeks (6’10”, 260)

The Numbers (from tarheelblog.com)

  North Carolina Providence
KenPom Rank 3 47
Points per game 82.3 73.9
Adj. Offensive Efficiency (Rank) 119.5 (6th) 108.0 (92nd)
Adj. Defensive Efficiency (Rank) 94.1 (15th) 95.8 (27th)
Tempo (Rank) 72.0 (46th) 69.1 (154th)
Field Goal% 47.7% 42.1%
2P FG% 53.6% 47.9%
3P FG% 31.5% 32.3%
FT% 73.8% 72.8%
Offensive Reb Rate 39.7% 30.6%
Defensive Reb Rate 69.9% 70.1%
TO Rate 15.3% 16.1%
3PA% 26.7% 37.0%

Main Key to the game: Stop Dunn. Stop Bentil. Heels win.

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