Sunday, April 5, 2009

UNC's defense, not their offense, was the difference last night

UNC's offense was as explosive as usual last night. They scored 26 points in the first 9 minutes and had 49 points in the first half.

But what got the Heels to the Final Four last night was their defense.

Villanova shot 32.9% from the field last night. They shot 18.5% (5-27) from deep. Think about that. This is a good shooting Wildcat team. This is a team that scored 77 points against Duke and 78 against Pitt.

And UNC completely shut them down offensively. Imagine what the Wildcats would have shot if they didn't grab 19 offensive rebounds and get countless lay-ups off of them?

The Heels did not do anything amazingly complicated against the Wildcats. They ran a bit of a token press early, and combined with the early lead the Heels jumped out too, Nova got into the mindset of push, push, push.

This defense forced Villanova to take quick, contested threes and force penetration. Think about this for a second. Villanova scored 69 points on the game, and took 79 shots. In comparison, UNC shot just 40% form the floor, but still scored 83 points on 62 shots.

How often do you see a team have more shots taken than points scored?


This same type of defense could be effective against Michigan State, another team that likes to run the floor. But UNC will have to tighten up on the defensive glass. They gave up 19 offensive boards to Villanova, who isn't a bad rebounding team. The Spartans, however, are one of the best rebounding teams in the country.

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