Here are the possessions per FTA (lower number means a higher FTA rate) for Arkansas this season in each game. Guess which game was against UNC. I’ll mix the order to make it challenging.
Okay, I’m going to assume that anybody with a second-rate kindergarten education can tell which number doesn’t belong with the rest. UNC is not known for being fouly, but that isn’t typical for UNC either. Their opponents average 5 possessions per FTA this season. Last season UNC only had six games in which they surrendered less than 8 possessions per FTA, one being Arkansas in the NCAAT. It happened in both the first and second round of the PK80. Wonder of all wonders, it went right back to their average in the Finals.
Another statistical anomaly is that we actually scored more efficiently against UNC than MSU did (0.89 ppp to 0.85 ppp) despite injuries, foul trouble, and fatigue. UNC just had zero offense against MSU. They scored 0.6 ppp on an eFG% of 25%. That’s inexplicable, even against good defense. Stony Brook managed 1 ppp against MSU. In fact, a FF team will not hold a run-of-the-mill mid-major to 0.6 ppp very often. No opponent had shot less than 25% against MSU from the arc this season. UNC bricked to a tune of 5.6%.
The MSU game withstanding, our D wasn’t the problem against UNC. They scored a good, but not scorching, 1.13 ppp against us, and that included 13 points in the final 3 minutes when we gave in. In the first 37 minutes they scored a modest 1.04 ppp. If our top scorers could have stayed on the court and if we could have gotten a fair shake at the FT line, that game was well within reach. As it was, we were a stop and pop from making it a one-possession game in the final stanza.
At the final timeout, before UNC’s run, we were 6 points down. I looked at the FT % because someone said it didn’t matter. At that point, they had hit 15 FT’s, we had taken 5. We, without Macon, would have been in the lead if the FT’s had been even. Also, with Macon, we may have actually been ahead without them.
I don’t care what anybody says, something just hasn’t been right when we’ve played UNC these past couple of times. Remember when we all thought something fishy was going on against Florida, and Coach Anderson finally called out the ref in the post game press conference and come to find out the one ref was an old college buddy of John Pelphrey. I believe he’s not allowed to ever call a Razorback basketball game again. He needs to do something similar with UNC because the officiating has been very suspicious, somebody doesn’t want us to beat UNC.
It’s no mystery their is a direct reflection to FTA for our Hogs in any game against a blue blood. We won the NCAA toruranment getting hosed by refs. The next year the refs made Dollar look like hero and never called a foul unless it benefited UCLA. Nothing has changed.
Last year if the walk or charge would have been called in the Dance we may have beat UNC. This year despite the poor officials if we would have made some shots early we may have beaten them. The hogs have to be 20 points better than a blue blood to win. If you watched UNC and Michigan State last night you would have noticed the Spartans guards both had 2 fouls fouls called quick along with one of their forwards. The Spartans made shots and Maye came back to earth and the Tar Heels as a team could not throw the ball in the ocean.
MA needs to complain about the officials also the SEC commissioner needs to do his job and demand a fair playing field.
(poss. per FTA / opp. poss. per FTA)
Samford 3.4 / 5.0
Bucknell 3.1 / 4.3
Fresno St. 1.93 / 3.3
Oklahoma 2.6 / 4.3
UNC 9.6 / 3.7
UConn 2.3 / 3.5 Season 2.9 / 3.9
Last Season 3.1 / 3.0
As compared to last season, we’re actually getting to the line a little more often. Dusty and Moses got to the line a lot, and I was afraid that we might have a significant drop off there. Furthermore, we’re fouling much less often, which is one reason why our D is so much better. I hope the SEC refs get the memo. My guess is that in the past they have been biased by opponents harping that we are a team that fouls frequently. The caveat is that we are only six games into the schedule with half the games being against mid-majors, but our schedule has been top-100 opponents so far except for Samford.
Note: the number of fouls called on us against UNC doesn’t look out of the ordinary. It was the number of fouls called on them, which was a huge outlier for us and a significant one for them.