Fouls will be the key — your State-Carolina predictions currently has the line on tonight’s game as UNC -13. And Kendall Marshall said that it feels like UNC is the underdog!?! That’s gotta be classic UNC math skills at work!

What are your predictions for tonight’s game? Chime in here with your thoughts.

I am going to predict the following — State loses by 12 points.

Generally, Harrison Barnes or Reggie Bullock have an almost career night. Jon Henson & Tyler Zeller will mysteriously draw many more fouls against our big men than we are able to draw against them despite play that looks very similar.

On the court, I think people have underestimated how many points we’ve been getting from offensive rebounds this year and relatively how few points we’ve allowed from our defensive boards. Unfortunately for us, Carolina is THE BEST rebounding team in the country and that takes a big chunk out of our strengths. Of course, it is very easy to be aggressive on the boards and on defense when you are NEVER in any kind of foul trouble.

Don’t understand what I mean? Well, the following statistics were generated by a poster named ‘BackThePack7483’ on Pack Pride’s message boards:

Neither Jon Henson nor Tyler Zeller has EVER fouled out of a college basketball game.

Henson has only had 4 fouls twice in three years of playing, while Zeller has been whistled for 4 fouls in a game numerous times but has been able to play through it with no issue and has never been disqualified by receiving a 5th foul.

In fact, the only players on UNC’s roster to ever foul out of a game where: (1) Kendall Marshall who fouled out at the end of the Tar heels blowout loss at Florida State a week and a half ago, and (2) Dexter Strickland, who fouled out a single time last season.

By contrast, the following are the disqualifications of NC State players in their careers:

Scott Wood: 4 times
Calvin Leslie: 2 times
Richard Howell: 3 times
CJ Williams: 3 times
Zo Brown: 2 times
DeShawn Painter: 2 times

From the files of ‘great minds think alike’…as I was typing this entry the N&O’s Caulton Tudor was saying something similar in a more muted manner in this entry on

The key stat in tonight’s N.C. State at UNC basketball game could be no more complicated than the foul count.

In four of the Wolfpack’s five losses thus far, at least one or two starters got into heavy foul trouble early. The exception was an 88-72 loss to Syracuse.

In the other four losses, here’s the breakdown on the foul front:
•In an 86-79 loss to Vanderbilt, C.J. Williams fouled out and Richard Howell had four.
•In an 86-75 loss to Indiana, Scott Wood fouled out and C.J. Leslie had four.
•In a 76-72 loss to Stanford, Wood and Lorenzo Brown fouled out. Howell and sixth-man DeShawn Painter each had four.
•In an 82-71 loss to Georgia Tech, Leslie fouled while Howell and Wood each had four.

State coach Mark Gottfried uses a seven-man rotation that hinges on a delicate playing time balance. When one player isn’t producing, the entire operation tends to malfunction. Fouls and injuries obviously do inordinate harm to a limited rotation.

“We had a long stretch where we weren’t getting into foul trouble,” Gottfried said earlier this week. “Rich has had some silly fouls, but he’s had some unlucky fouls, too. We just can’t afford a lot of foul trouble.”

With their depth, the Tar Heels feast on fouls.

That situation could change with the loss of Dexter Strickland (knee injury), but through 19 games, UNC has been charged with a modest 264 personals while drawing 416. The payoff is predictably huge _ UNC has gone to the foul line 498 times while its opponents have gone 220 times.

The Wolfpack has been hit for 339 fouls while drawing 355 – a virtual even swap. At the line, the Pack has outscored opponents 416-377 but that’s primarily the result of Wood going 48-48 and Williams 31-36.

State is shooting 75 percent and that’s with Leslie at 61 percent (47-77).

One reason for the seemingly inflated betting line _ UNC favored by 13 points _ is that bookmakers look very carefully at foul patterns. Entering tonight’s game, UNC has had only one player to foul out of a game _ playmaker Kendall Marshall against Florida State.

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11-12 Basketball

45 Responses to Fouls will be the key — your State-Carolina predictions

  1. MP 01/26/2012 at 12:36 PM #

    UNC by 9.

    But if I were in Vegas I would place two bets – One on the Pack straight up against the line, and one on the Pack moneyline.

    If they are close or tied around the 10-minute mark, you never know.

  2. baxter 01/26/2012 at 12:52 PM #

    Only at UNC can you get away with being #8 in the nation, a huge advantage W-L record recently, at home, and get away with calling yourself an underdog to a rival who is unranked and has a short bench.

    I just wish someone in the room would call those assholes out for being douchebags.

  3. bill.onthebeach 01/26/2012 at 12:56 PM #

    ^Bax….I think you JUST DID !!!

  4. Rochester 01/26/2012 at 12:57 PM #

    I like our chances better in the return game in Raleigh, but we could take them tonight. I think it will be closer than the line, although if we have to foul at the end that could skew the final score. I’m optimistic we will find some weakness to try to attack because we finally have coaches on staff who look for them. Bobby Lutz has been invaluable doing that this year.

    As to fouls, we wouldn’t have nearly so many DQ’s if we had a deeper bench. When your starter picks up two chippies and all you have to do is fetch another burger boy off the bench that don’t take much coaching smarts.

  5. Wufpacker 01/26/2012 at 1:10 PM #

    I’ll call it 78-70, their favor.

    I hope the rest of their team feels the same way as Marshall. Sounds like he’s feeling a bit of pressure to NOT lose to us, which can only help matters. The longer we stay close, the tighter they may become.

  6. UpstateSCWolfpack 01/26/2012 at 1:23 PM #


  7. packplantpath 01/26/2012 at 1:27 PM #

    Pack loss. By 7. After taking an early 12 pt lead.

    Hey, I’m feeling it!

  8. Mike 01/26/2012 at 1:28 PM #

    Wow – usually the better team draws more fouls than they give, but such a wide discrepency is hard to fathom. 264 against and 416 for? That is basically 13-20 per game.

    Put that in perspective, UNX does not even allow the opposition to get to the bonus in a half. 7 fouls per game difference could mean anywhere from 7-14 points. Then you have to wonder why they never foul out – 13 fouls evenly distributed……….but I am not a conspiracy theorist. But the numbers are eye opening.

  9. BorntoHowl 01/26/2012 at 1:28 PM #

    I predict that Howell will be charged with his second foul at the 17 minute mark of the first half i.e. 3 minutes into the game. Therefore, as has been alluded to above, you’ll only be able to see us play tentative ball instead of a great basketball game between a very good team and a good team that could be very good under neutral officiating. Granted, we could come out flat and lose big anyway, but taking away what strength we have underneath early terribly skews the outcome. I haven’t seen an analysis, but would bet that when playing a blue team in the ACC, we and other teams see key starters with more than a 4 sigma reduction in playing time in the first 30 minutes of game time from the norm.

  10. packplantpath 01/26/2012 at 1:37 PM #

    Howl, you are wrong. Howell was just called for hist first foul.

  11. Pack85EE 01/26/2012 at 1:37 PM #

    A deep bench may partially explain not fouling out as much but

    “UNC has been charged with a modest 264 personals while drawing 416.”

    has no explanation, other than the obvious.

  12. bill.onthebeach 01/26/2012 at 1:38 PM #

    Check this out:
    the interactive charts are insightful…..

  13. Packfan28 01/26/2012 at 1:40 PM #

    Like Lefty Driesell said, going from two refs to three just meant it would be 8 against 5 instead of 7 against 5 when you play Carolina.

  14. StateFans 01/26/2012 at 1:42 PM #

    God I LOVE Lefty

  15. wolfie91 01/26/2012 at 1:49 PM #

    If we have two close games with UNC this year and the home team wins both times, then I would be happy with that and think that would do worlds for the rivalry. One concern I have is that we will invest too much in this game tonight and not leave enough for a very important and winnable game against UVA on Saturday.

  16. Howler 01/26/2012 at 1:54 PM #

    Good analysis regarding fouls. I think our starters plus Painter match up well, and AJ will be fine if he doesn’t turn the ball over. But De Thaey is such a significant drop off and won’t be able to add anything offensively against Henson and Zeller. If we somehow avoid foul trouble, I think we have a shot. The Holes have shown that they can have their spirit broken if you jump on them early (UNLV and Fla. State).

    Plus, I firmly believe that we have the coaching advantage. Most of the country just doesn’t know it yet. Roy is just proof that any whiny SOB with a bunch of McDonalds All Americans can compete for national championships.

  17. bruced123 01/26/2012 at 2:04 PM #

    NCSU 75
    UNX 72

  18. ncsu1987 01/26/2012 at 2:15 PM #

    Don’t know how to call this one. My best guess is we’ll compete well, but early foul trouble for Howell (deserved or not) will allow UNX to open a 5-10 point lead that we won’t be able to shake. The game will stay with UNX up 5-10 for the majority. We’ll have to foul in the end, and the margin will stretch to 15.

    Unless the whistles decide to remove all doubt early, then it could get ugly fast.

  19. lush 01/26/2012 at 2:33 PM #

    “fouls will be key”

    if we have noone in foul trouble, we win.

    unfortunatly, if the officiating is biased, inconsistent, and just plain bad, you know like pretty much every acc game, then we don’t stand a chance.

    its not even about equal foul calls, or free throw attempts. its the timing. unc will get a string of awful calls in a row to put them up double digits. then they will make phantom calls that have no impact on our side to make it look even.

  20. I-Like-Tacos 01/26/2012 at 2:57 PM #


  21. WeAreCured 01/26/2012 at 3:19 PM #

    Taco lulz.

    That foul analysis for the Holes is maddening. Is it possible that as a team, they are that much better at defending without fouling? Methinks not. Such a load. It makes it seem like the night is predetermined.

    I’m going with 82-78 in favor of the Pack, but it will probably be 82-78, Holes.

  22. wolfpack15 01/26/2012 at 3:35 PM #

    If we are hot behind the 3 point line, we win.

  23. triadwolf 01/26/2012 at 3:41 PM #

    I’ll go with the trends (ours & theirs). Fouls will be a problem for us but it’ll be tight until the end and we’ll lose by 10+.

  24. Rick 01/26/2012 at 3:46 PM #

    A few interesting stats
    In number of fouls called on them per game UNC is ranked 340 out of 345 (I think) basketball teams. They have had 1 disqualification for the year which ranks them 339 in the NCAA.
    This is also a team that ranks 5th in possessions per game so this is not a slow down game.

    They rank number 1 in the country in FTs against. So no team in the entire country gets fewer FTs against them.

    In all of the UNC games their opponents have had 1426 possessions of the ball. In all of those possessions UNC has been called for 264 fouls.
    That means UNC only gets called for a foul once out of every 5.4 times their opponent has the ball.
    Out of those same 1426 possessions, NC receives 414 fouls. So their opponent is called for a foul every 3.4 times down court.

  25. Rick 01/26/2012 at 3:51 PM #

    UNC has attempted 498 FTs per game.
    Their opponents have taken 220.

    That means UNC shoots a staggering 14.6 more FTs per game than their opponents.

    Their FT% is 65%. So that means they are given an average of 9.5 points a game by the refs.

    31% of their points come from FTs.

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