Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/26/2008 11:08:00 AM
Scouting The No. 1 Seeds: North Carolina
SI.com asked an assistant coach from a former North Carolina opponent to break down the Tar Heels using material from his actual scouting report. Here's what he had to say:
"You need to keep [Tyler] Hansbrough from catching the ball inside the paint as much as possible. We call it 'owning the real estate' -- beating him to those spots and not letting him get position. Some people will double him, but I'm in favor of just using one-and-a-half guys. The first one, his main defender, should be physical, but not go for the shot block. The second guy could come over and almost always go for the block, since [Hansbrough] is not kicking it back out. He averages less than one assist per game. He expanded his offense in the ACC tournament to the point where he knocked down 15-foot jumpers, but you'd much rather have him doing that than working inside five feet. He can also kill you on the offensive boards, so you have to do a good job of blocking him out.
"A big thing to focus on with Carolina is transition defense. They're mainly looking for layups. [Wayne] Ellington will spot up a little bit, and so will [Danny] Green, but if you really study them in transition off of missed shots, there aren't a lot of threes. Either [Tywon] Lawson is trying to go coast-to-coast or their wings are flying to the rim, old-school 45-degree style, looking to get layups or get fouled. You have to sprint back and get as many people in the paint as possible, and don't divert from that strategy for the whole game. You're trying to guard the basket as opposed to guarding any specific person. Maryland, when they beat Carolina [in Chapel Hill], did a really good job of getting back and clogging the paint.
"In the half court, you have to be worried about Lawson's penetration. He likes to do misdirection stuff, but mostly he's trying to go north-south, and you need to try to square him off and stay in front of him. Ellington is a great multi-dimensional scorer, but Green can be the biggest matchup problem. They'll play a small lineup with him at power forward rather than [Alex] Stepheson or [Deon] Thompson, and it really changes the dynamic, if he's making threes from the four position. Not every team has a big guy who can get out and guard Green on the perimeter.
"On defense, they seem to be vulnerable after three passes. What they try to do on D is rush you into taking bad shots, so they can get it and go the other way on offense. On your fourth or fifth pass they tend to start to break down.
"We felt as though you could attack Hansbrough inside, because he's not as mobile on defense as he seems to be on offense. He tries to avoid fouling a little bit, and he's not a guy who blocks many shots [only averaging 0.4 per game]. On the perimeter, Lawson isn't a great on-ball defender, and Ellington isn't very good on D at all; he's very screenable. [Marcus] Ginyard does a good job of getting after it. Their defense is so geared to rushing you and turning you over that it doesn't take 30 seconds for it to break down -- more like 15 or 20, after some quick rotations of the ball.
"That doesn't mean you should try to slow down the whole game, though. A pressing defense still can have benefits. Lawson, now that he's healthy, won't be all that vulnerable to it, but [Quentin] Thomas, the backup point, is still a guy you might like to try to press. The bigger thing is that it can take Hansbrough out of the game a little bit. About half the time -- or even more than that -- he'll take the ball out of bounds against a press, which means he's less likely to be involved on the offensive end when they go for a quick shot. It's one way you can try to neutralize him."
The first and most important key to this game is going to be how good Aron Baynes will be on defense. He has the size and strength to bang with Hansbrough but tends to get overly aggressive and into foul trouble. He also sometimes lets a lack of offensive success effect his all around game, but that didn't happen against the Irish and he did a great job on Harangody. I think this is the most intriguing mathup for this round because both teams play the exact opposite style of the other. Should be a great game. Go Cougs!!
Unless the post was done by an assistant coach at Maryland or Duke, you can crumble up this analysis and throw it in the garbage can. Other than those two teams, no one else beat Carolina. So if it was done by an assistant on any other team, they obviously don't know how to beat Carolina.
if you think this is the way carolina played this past weekend in raleigh, keep dreaming. we locked down on D while making arkansas look like a 6th grade rec team. i do agree this weekend will be a closer game, but WSU you are in trouble if you believe you have a chance to stop hansbrough. we are deep, thompson (8-8 fg shooting), stepheson (5-5 fg shooting) and lawson is 100% healthy! bring it..
Lets see how long it takes WSU to start bending over, grabbing there shorts and gasping for air after chasing our wings and pg down the court after every miss or steal. I hope there deep because they will need to use every bit of there bench.
As someone else said, the key to beating UNC is to hope the referees don't blow the whistle everytime a defender comes within 5 feet of Hansbrough. A defender can stand straight up over him or swipe at the air and they will call a foul. ON the other side, he doesn't get called for over the back and charges either.
I believe the only way for WSU to beat UNC is to try and out score them…Only two teams have been able to do that! UNC five starters would have to shoot less than 33% to lose this game, WSU is credit for holding two teams under 42! I think UNC should get credit for being held to 210 points over two games. We all know speed kills, UNC is in better shape than every team in the world, yes the world! UNC 89.9 to 65.8…Who cares about Tinnacee. Or Lewisville
Caution UNC.....They said the exact (I mean EXACT) Same thing about Notre Dame. If UNC wins, it will be because they execute well in the half court. I don't think they'll be able to run. Don't discount Cowgill as well on Defense down low, he's a defensive force that can cover Baynes backside.
This assistant coach, whoever he is, is a pretty smart guy..he's obviously put in a many hours to come up with this plan to stop Carolina. That sure is a lot of "stuff" to do in about 5 or 10 seconds time..yea it all sounds great! Having played Division I sports myself, I remember my coach telling me how we were going to "stop"our opponent...boy it sure sounded great! Actually getting a bunch of 18 & 19 year olds to DO IT was a whole different aniaml! I should be interesting to watch!
This report does seem to play to WSU's strengths particularly because the coach says Hansbrough doesn't need to be double-teamed and that UNC's defense falls apart after 15 to 20 seconds.
Since the Cougs don't have two huge Lopez-type guys to defend one player, but are used to playing very cooperative defense, they could follow this 1.5-defender strategy fairly well.
And because the Cougs usually take at least 20 seconds to find the shot they want, it will be interesting to see how much UNC's defense will fall apart on each possession if this scouting report is actual in terms of defensive stamina.
This game *hasn't* been hyped because it's not a double-digit seed vs. a number one.
What has been hyped has been North Carolina -- not the game itself. I'm not saying UNC doesn't deserve the press because their program is excellent, but the actual game, along with UNC's opponent have not been hyped in the least. Not until today anyway.
I love the anonymous punks talking about the wind blowing on tyler and fouls getting called. I'm guessing those jokers aren't among the millions who watched as Tyler didn't get ONE trip to the line in Cameron against Dook.
Too bad, WSU fans. You're about to witness up close and personal the bug-eyed, bass-mouthed magic of Tyler Hansborough.
He'll travel 15 times during the game and never be called for it.
He'll park in the lane over 3-seconds at least 5 times -- and never will be called for it.
Your defenders will be standing stationary with their arms straight up over their heads, Tyler-boy will initiate contact by jumping into your guy, and your guy will be called for a foul. This will happen more times during the game then you can count.
Finally, he flops more on defense than Shane Battier ever dreamed of doing -- and the charge will be called on your guy.
"As someone else said, the key to beating UNC is to hope the referees don't blow the whistle everytime a defender comes within 5 feet of Hansbrough. A defender can stand straight up over him or swipe at the air and they will call a foul. ON the other side, he doesn't get called for over the back and charges either"
LOL! Sounds like some jealous Wuffie or bitter dookie. Hansbrough earns everything at the stripe. He gets fouled three times for every one that they call. Have fun watching UNC from your sofa!