This is not your typical North Carolina men’s basketball team.
In past seasons, UNC has won by using two bruising big men to anchor a talented backcourt. In the system, sometimes the best pass was a shot, with a Tar Heel big ready to swallow up a missed shot from a teammate and turn it into an easy two points.
This year is different. With just one returning big man on the roster, the Tar Heels’ perimeter play has dictated the team’s success. The two games that UNC has lost this season were a product of horrendous outside shooting. Against Michigan State, the team shot 1-18 from beyond the arc. In an unprecedented home loss against Wofford it was almost as bad, shooting just 7-25 from three.
However, when the team has shot well from outside, there has been success. The Tar Heels shoot 39.6 percent from three as a team. It is the program’s best mark since the 2004-05 season, when the squad shot 40.3 percent and won the national championship, thanks to an abundance of 3-point threats.
With graduate transfer Cam Johnson having made his way into the lineup the last two games after missing the first 11 contests, it creates an even more potent outside attack. The attack has led UNC to playing a ‘death lineup’ with forward Luke Maye playing the five, Johnson or Theo Pinson at the four, and Kenny Williams and Joel Berry II playing the two guard positions.