Greensboro Afternoon Preview: North Carolina vs Vermont, Creighton vs Alamba

The first set of games Friday afternoon in Greensboro, North Carolina will tip off at 1:40 pm on TBS. The night games for this set were covered previously. I’m writing this preview on Wednesday night, so Vermont will not be covered. Michael covered them well in his preview. As for the 1 seed Tar Heels of North Carolina, the Blue Jays of Creighton and the Crimson Tide of Alabama? Scroll on down, Johnny. 

 

Game 1 

1:40 pm TBS

(8) Creighton Blue Jays vs (9) Alabama Crimson Tide

Announcers: Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg, with Tracy Wolfson. 

Spread check: Alabama -1.5 

Creighton Blue Jays 28-5

Seed: 8

How they got here: Missouri Valley Tournament Champs

Ken Pom Offense: 5

Ken Pom Defense: 183

Top 4 Scorers

  1. Doug McDermott 23.2
  2. Antoine Young 12.5
  3. Gregory Echenique 9.8
  4. Grant Gibbs 7.1

Top 4 Rebounders

  1. Doug McDermott 8.2
  2. Greg Echenique 7.4
  3. Grant Gibbs 4.3
  4. Ethan Wragge 2.8

Top 3 Assists

  1. Grant Gibbs 168
  2. Antoine Young 147
  3. Austin Chatman 64

Top 3 Turnovers

  1. Doug McDermott 74
  2. Grant Gibbs 71
  3. Antoine Young 61

Top 3 Steals

  1. Grant Gibbs 34
  2. Antoine Young 26
  3. Jahenns Manigat 25

Top 3 Blocks

  1. Greg Echenique 54
  2. Will Artino 8
  3. Ethan Wragge 5

Top 3 Possession %

  1. Doug McDermott 28.5
  2. Antoine Young 23.9
  3. Greg Mchenique 20.7

Top 3 Effective FG % 

  1. Doug McDermott 66.4
  2. Jahenns Manigat 66
  3. Greg Echenique 61.4

Top 3 Offensive Rating

  1. Jahenns Manigat 125.6
  2. Doug McDermott 125.3
  3. Ethan Wragge 125.3

Top 3 Offensive Rebound %

  1. Greg Echenique 15.2
  2. Doug McDermott 10.1
  3. Ethan Wragge 4.2

Top 3 Defensive Rebound %

  1. Greg Echenique 22.1
  2. Doug McDermott 20.3
  3. Ethan Wragge 15.5

Creighton started the season as a team on a mission. They rolled their first 5 opponents, which included Iowa and UAB, by 32, 34, 10, 23 and 23 again. They matched up with San Diego St. The Blue Jays fell down 17 in the first half. They cut the lead to 4 at intermission before tying the score early in the 2nd half. Creighton fell down 8, but went on a 12-4 run to tie. With the game tied at the 4 minute mark, Wragge made a 3 that put Creighton up for good. Wragge made another big shot with Creighton up 1 with 12 seconds left to seal the big win. After beating Nebraska, Creighton took their first loss against St Joe’s. They bounced back with 3 straight wins, including 1 over Northwestern, but dropped their first Valley game to Missouri State. The Blue Jays bounced back by winning at Wichita State. That fueled an 11 game winning streak. Things got tough for Creighton though. They lost a close one to Northern Iowa by 3, lost to Evansville and were destroyed by Wichita State at home. Creighton got right against Southern Illinois, and haven’t lost since. Antoine Young made a game winning layup in the closing seconds to power them over Long Beach State in bracket busters. They got Evansville and Indiana State by a point each heading into Arch Madness. Creighton opened with a 7 point win over Drake and a 28 point domination over Evansville. Illinois State took them into overtime in the final, but Creighton hung on 83-79. 

 

Alabama Crimson Tide 21-11

Seed: 9

How they got here: SEC at large

Ken Pom Offense: 109

Ken Pom Defense: 9

Top 4 Scorers

  1. JaMychal Green 14
  2. Trevor Releford 11.9
  3. Trevor Lacey 7.1
  4. Andrew Steele 6.7

Top 4 Rebounders

  1. JaMychal Green 7.4
  2. Levi Randolph 3.9
  3. Andrew Steele 3.9
  4. Nick Jacobs 3.6

Top 3 Assists

  1. Trevor Releford 84
  2. Trevord Lacey 57
  3. Levi Randolph 55

Top 3 Turnovers

  1. JaMychal Green 65
  2. Trevor Releford 61
  3. Trevor Lacey 54

Top 3 Steals

  1. Trevor Releford 63
  2. Levin Randolph 34
  3. Trevor Lacey 26

Top 3 Blocks

  1. JaMychal Green 36
  2. Nick Jacobs 25
  3. Carl Engstrom 15

Top 3 Possession %

  1. JaMychal Green 27.6
  2. Trevor Releford 21.3
  3. Charles Hankerson Jr 19.9

Top 3 Effective FG % 

  1. JaMychal Green 54.8
  2. Andrew Steele 52.2
  3. Trevor Releford 51.7

Top 3 Offensive Rating

  1. Trevor Releford 110
  2. Andrew Steele 109.5
  3. JaMychal Green 106.5

Top 3 Offensive Rebound %

  1. JaMychal Green 10.8
  2. Nick Jacobs 9.5
  3. Rodney Cooper 6.7

Top 3 Defensive Rebound %

  1. JaMychal Green 19.2
  2. Andrew Steele 14.2
  3. Charles Hankerson Jr 12.9

Alabama started off the season very well. They won their first 2 non-conference games before playing a tournament in Puerto Rico. Alabama beat Maryland in the first round by 20, Wichita State in the second round by 10 and Purdue in the finals by 9. They added a win over VCU before hosting Georgetown. In a game that went down o the wire, Alabama was sunk by a Hollis Thompson 3. That was followed by a 12 point loss to Dayton. Bama beat tournament team Detroit by 8, but were upped by 13 in Kansas City against Kansas State. SEC play opened with 15 and 16 point wins. The winning ended at Mississippi State. Losses to league powers Vanderbilt and Kentucky followed, as did an upset at South Carolina. Close home wins over Arkansas and Ole Miss were followed by suspensions. 2nd leading scorer and rebounder Tony Mitchell was kicked off the team. The Tide won at Auburn, but lost to LSU by 9. That was followed by a 9 point loss at home to Florida. The Tide bounced back with wins over Tennessee, Arkansas, Miss St and Auburn before losing the SEC finale to Ole Miss. Bama beat South Carolina in the SEC tournament, but were bit by Florida the next round by 3. 

 

How the teams stack up based on conference numbers

Neither team played at a fast pace. Creighton’s 66 possessions a game were one of the slower paces in the Valley, while Alabama’s 64 was in the middle of the SEC. Creighton was highly efficient on offense, 1.14 points per possession. They gave up 1.04 ppp defensively. Alabama was the best team in the league defensively at 0.94, and middle of the road offensively at 0.99. Creighton was the best shooting team in the Valley by any number. They hit 50.1% of FGs, had an eFG% of 57.4 and a true shooting percentage of 61. The Tide ranked 4th in the SEC, giving up 40.7%, 45.4% and 49% in those 3 categories. Bama ranked 6th, 7th and 7th in the SEC in those categories. Creighton was 5th defensively. Creighton got to the foul line at a rate of 41.3, which was good because they hit 75%. They put teams at the line at the second lowest rate in the Valley, 27.6. Bama put teams at the line at a rate of 40.1. They were a 71% foul shooting team. 3 pointers should be key. Creighton was 144-343, 42%. Alabama gave up 265 looks for 29.4%. The Tide hit only 70 triples in 16 SEC games at 29.5%. Creighton was 3rd in the Valley bring in 29.8% of the offensive rebounds, no one in that league offensive rebounded well percentage wise, but pulled in 75.1% of the defensive boards. Bama got 33.7% of their misses and 69.4% of opponents. Creighton turned the ball over a lot in Valley play, 18.6% of the time. That was nothing compared to Alabama’s 21.3%. Unlike the Jays, Alabama forced turnovers on 21.1% of possessions. An SEC high 12.1% of those were steals. Creighton only forced turnovers on 12% of possessions. 

 

Game 2

4:10 pm (appox) TBS

(1) North Carolina Tar Heels vs (16) Vermont Catamounts

Spread check: None as of yet. I’ll guess 23

North Carolina Tar Heels 29-5

Seed: 1

How they got here: ACC At Large

Ken Pom Offense: 13

Ken Pom Defense: 12

Top 4 Scorers

  1. Harrison Barnes 17.4
  2. Tyler Zeller 16.5
  3. John Henson 13.8
  4. Reggie Bullock 8.6

Top 4 Rebounders

  1. John Henson 10.1
  2. Tyler Zeller 9.3
  3. Harrison Barnes 5.2
  4. Reggie Bullock 4.8

Top 3 Assists

  1. Kendall Marshall 330
  2. Reggie Bullock 43
  3. John Henson 41

Top 3 Turnovers

  1. Kendall Marshall 94
  2. Harrison Barnes 63
  3. Tyler Zeller 62

Top 3 Steals

  1. Kendall Marshall 42
  2. Harrison Barnes 37
  3. Tyler Zeller 33

Top 3 Blocks

  1. John Henson 94
  2. Tyler Zeller 45
  3. Harrison Barnes 12

Top 3 Possession %

  1. Harrison Barnes 26.3
  2. Tyler Zeller 24.7
  3. PJ Hairson 22.2

Top 3 Effective FG % 

  1. Tyler Zeller 55.4
  2. Reggie Bullock 54.5
  3. John Henson 50.6

Top 3 Offensive Rating

  1. Tyler Zeller 122.7
  2. Reggie Bullock 118.8
  3. Kendall Marshall 112.4

Top 3 Offensive Rebound %

  1. Tyler Zeller 14.2
  2. John Henson 9.3
  3. James Michael McAdoo 8.9

Top 3 Defensive Rebound %

  1. John Henson 25
  2. Tyler Zeller 19.4
  3. James Michael McAdoo 16.3

North Carolina opened the season at number 1. They also opened the season by beating Michigan State on an aircraft carrier. The sprung the way for 5 straight wins. That was snapped by a fired up UNLV team playing in the Orleans Arena in Vegas. Carolina was bullied around in a 90-80 loss. The Tar Heels pulled out a close 60-57 win over Wisconsin before the big showdown with Kentucky. UNC had the lead for a majority of the game, but they couldn’t get any baskets late. John Henson’s game winning shot attempt was blocked by Anthony Davis, handing UNC their second loss of the season. The Tar Heels put a whooping on 6 of their last 7 non-conference foes, including Texas, the only close game being a battle with Long Beach State that was not as close as the 6 point final. UNC opened ACC play with a couple of big wins over BC and Miami. Next they walked into the buzzsaw wearing Florida State uniforms. The Tar Heels left the floor 90-57 losers. The starters were pulled off the bench before the game was over. UNC got back to dominating the rest of the league. They put it on Va Tech, NC State, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest by double digits before winning at Maryland by 9. The Tar Heels had a huge lead against arch rival Duke, but the Blue Devils pulled closer and closer until Austin Rivers dropped the shot of the year over Tyler Zeller for the upset. UNC bounced back by crushing Virginia, beating Miami, and stomping Clemson and NC State. The Tar Heels kept rolling with a close win over Virginia by 3, before beating the brakes off Maryland and Duke to close the regular season. UNC picked up where they left off in the ACC tournament, by beating Maryland by 16. Carolina got a Kendall Marshall basket in the closing seconds to beat NC State, then lost to Florida State for the second time this year in the ACC tournament final. 

 

More about North Carolina

North Carolina played at the fastest pace in the ACC at 70 possessions. They scored 1.1 ppp and gave up 0.93 ppp, both 2nd best. UNC was an average shooting team in the ACC, 43.9% FG, 47.3% eFG and 51.3% true, but they put the clamps on teams to the numbers of 39.7%, 45.5% and 48.2% in those categories. UNC hit 72% of their free throws, with a rate of 33.8. Opponents got to the line at a rate of 26.5, lowest in the ACC. Carolina was a bad 3 point shooting team. They made just 72 triples at 30.3%. They gave up an ACC high 345 attempts from 3. Opponents made 32.3%. Carolina made up for their average shooting by getting 40.8% of the offensive rebounds. They got 73% of the defensive boards as well. Like most elite teams, UNC didn’t turn the ball over much, 16% of possessions. They turned people over on 17.8%. The Tar Heels would wait for teams to shoot, and block their shot. They did that on 10.1% of ACC possessions. 

Scott

About Scott

I write Bearcats Blog and also on Run the Floor.

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