I won’t be able to write much about this game, as it was probably the worst fan experience of the year and isn’t really worth rehashing or analyzing because there’s nothing new to say about this team. The Heels were lucky to get out of there with only a 32-point drubbing, quite honestly.
HeelsGeek dubbed round one “The Battle of Inept Offense” and apparently the Heels didn’t get the memo to change that approach for the rematch, because their execution was probably the worst I’ve seen all season. Running down the shot clock only to take turnaround 3-pointers or off-handed hook shots from the foul line is probably not the way to go about beating your rival. I heard a few things about basketball analytics that I thought were paticularly interesting coming out of the Sloan Sports Conference this weekend: a team’s FT% often gives you a decent indicator of its midrange accuracy, and a team’s 3PT% gives you an indicator of its range. Well, unfortunately, the Heels haven’t a shred of either one and the Devils have both in spades. The Heels’ turnover problems actually weren’t as bad this game, they just couldn’t hit a shot to save their lives. No one on Carolina was capable of creating their own shot or taking their man one-on-one, and Duke smelled blood in the water early and feasted on the Heels’ hesitancy. The littany of bad shots UNC put up in the first 10 minutes set the tone for the rest of the game.
On the other end of the floor, Duke’s offense was running cuts through the middle with ease, floating up little 12-footers posession after posession without UNC being able to adjust accordingly or do anything about it. Duke’s Big Three absolutely annihilated the Heels, going for 65 points combined. If you just took Scheyer, Smith and Singler’s point totals and eliminated all the other scoring for Duke, they still would have beaten the Vegas line on this game. That’s bad, people.
In the end often times predicting will happen is as simple as looking at which team is more talented and which team needs the win more. Duke, on this occasion, had both - running up the score that way was no accident. That was what four years of frustration looks like coming back around. And I pray I never have to see something like that again.