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Terps 'Can't Shoot Turnovers'

When asked for a few weak points in the North Carolina attack, one coach from an ACC team that has played the Tar Heels this season had bad news for Terps fans.

"I don't have a lot of weaknesses to tell you about," he said, "but I can tell you strengths of theirs that you have to take away."

Here's a run down of that list:

  • "If you can get to their bench, that's good," the coach said. "They disguise it, but they're not very deep."
  • "They're not a great defensive rebounding team," he said. "You can attack them on the offensive boards."
  • "They're not really a sound defensive team," he said. "They're trying to shoot the gaps and steal the ball all the time. When they don't get the steal, the guy that catches it is uncovered for a second or two."

The coach said an opposing team's best shot at disrupting North Carolina's plan of attack is to be superb in transition defense. Ideally, he said, that would begin with patience on offense, but he acknowledged that's easier said than done against the Tar Heels.

"You can't shoot turnovers," the coach said. "Limit quick, rushed shots. They'll turn your bad offense into good offense for them. They're very oportunistic on defense. They're constantly looking for the steal. Their defense is designed to make you shoot quickly."

North Carolina has that affect on opposing offenses because it creates intense ball pressure. The Tar Heels are tied for fourth in the ACC in steals, averaging 9.0 per game, but they also rank 11th in scoring defense, allowing 70.7 points per game.

The Tar Heels aim to create as many possessions for themselves as possible, the coach said. And if that means employing a high risk, high reward defensive scheme, the coach said North Carolina has no problem with that.

"Their offensive philosophy is to push the ball up the court and take the first available shot," the coach said. "They're not going to get into a halfcourt set and make a lot of passes."

As for individual North Carolina players, the coach said senior forward Tyler Hansbrough has expanded his offensive range to the 15-17 foot range, though his game is "still primarily an inside power game. He's very aggressive on the offensive boards. He's the one constant of that offense."

While that may be true, the coach also said the Tar Heels have a lot of plays designed to get open looks for junior guard Wayne Ellington, who is shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three-point range. The coach said Ellington runs the floor particularly well and that he accumulates many of North Carolina's transition baskets.

The coach called junior guard Ty Lawson "explosively quick" and said one of Lawson's top strengths is when he drives the ball into the lane.

Of senior swingman Danny Green, the coach said, "He does so much for them offensively and defensively. He's a stat-stuffer. He does a little bit of everything."

By Steve Yanda  |  February 2, 2009; 10:24 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Of late Carolina has been playing much better defense. Granted it wasn't exactly Wake or Duke, but the Heels shut down NC State and FSU on the road last week.

Posted by: buckworthy | February 2, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

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