Iso for dolo
No team in the ACC runs for isolation action than NC State.
The Wolfpack, led by Dennis Smith Jr., has isolated on 171 possessions, according to Synergy Sports. Smith has used 84 of those possessions (49 percent), while shooting 33.9 percent from the field. Of ACC players, only Michael Young of Pitt has spent more time in isolation (91). No one else has more than 55 isolations, per Synergy.
Smith has also been fouled on 23.8 percent of his isolations, which is a major reason why he leads the ACC in free-throw attempts (153). Smith only turns the ball over six percent of the time when in iso — a very good number.
North Carolina has isolated 90 fewer times this season than NC State. However, the Tar Heels are the league’s most efficient offense in isolation. UNC is the only ACC team that scores better than one point per possession on isos. Joel Berry has driven the pace car for the iso attack.
Berry, who scores at least one point on his isolation possessions 63.6 percent of the time, ranks No. 16 in the nation in offensive efficiency on isolations: a ridiculous 1.41 points per possession on isolations at a 59 percent shooting clip.
The ACC’s three least efficient isolation offenses: Boston College (0.77 points per possession), Syracuse (0.752 points per possession) and Georgia Tech (0.75 points per possession).
Ain’t no love in the Hart of the city
Virginia will be up in Philadelphia on Saturday to take on — for the time being — the nation’s No. 1 team, Villanova.
The Cavaliers have one of the nation’s top defenses, but Nova boasts the current front-runner for National Player of the Year: senior wing Josh Hart. North Carolina fans will remember him for his 12-point, eight-rebound performance in last year’s national championship game. Hart, who can do everything, returned to Philadelphia for one final season of college ball and has dominated from the get-go.
Take a glance at some of Hart’s shooting statistics, courtesy of Synergy Sports:
|Play type||FG%||Points per possessions|
|Pick and roll||49.1%||0.95|
According to KenPom.com, Villanova ranks fourth in the nation in offensive efficiency — 1.22 points per possession. Hart’s ubiquitous skill set is obviously a significant driver of this success. Hart ranks sixth nationally in offensive efficiency coming off screens (1.86); on isolation plays, he checks in at No. 102 in the nation — 1.15 points per possession. Hart ranks in the 90-plus percentile in each of the above statistics. Basically, he’s very good at basketball.
Hart has scored 11-plus points in all 21 games this season, including a combined 67 points on Notre Dame and Wake Forest — both wins for the Wildcats.
Action Jackson climbs the chart
We have covered Justin Jackson’s improved three-point shooting in this space before; the junior wing is shooting threes more frequently and making more of them. Sounds good, right? Through the first 22 games of the season, Jackson has already connected on 57 three-pointers — a career high. If he keeps his current pace and North Carolina plays deep into 2017, Jackson has a chance of joining, and possibly topping, some serious company.
Twenty years ago, Shammond Williams set the single-season record at UNC for three-pointers with 95. Here’s the rest of North Carolina’s top five:
- Shammond Williams (1996-97): 95
- Marcus Paige (2014-15): 94
- P.J. Hairston (2012-13): 89
- Reggie Bullock (2012-13): 88
- Donald Williams (1994-95): 87
- Kenny Smith (1986-87): 87
UNC has 10 more games left on its regular-season schedule, plus at least one ACC Tournament contest up in Brooklyn. Jackson makes an average of 2.6 triples per game; if North Carolina plays in only these 11 remaining games — which, of course, is highly unlikely — and Jackson stayed at this rate, then he’d end the season with 86 three-pointers.
This means any postseason run in Brooklyn or in the NCAA Tournament will give Jackson a serious opportunity to usurp Williams atop this list, which would be rather impressive for a player who returned to UNC after receiving feedback from NBA personnel last spring. Jackson needed to work on his perimeter shot, and clearly he’s done just that.