The Dadgum Dispatch: 020

The importance of breaking and holding serve, plus old school recruiting stories.

Carolina has lost six straight league games and 10 of its last 13 games. The Tar Heels have yet to win a game this calendar year.

8-10 overall and 1-6 in the ACC, it’s damn near 40 love on the season now.


🎾 Breaking and Holding Serve 🏀

In tennis, the server has an advantage. They’re in more control because they’re hitting the ball first and placing it where they want.

If you can break service, you can regain control of the match.

No, this isn’t tennis.

But the same idea applies to basketball. It’s often called a game of runs.

A team gains control when its opponent is unable to score when it has the ball.

Empty possessions are all too familiar for the Tar Heels.

Sample some examples

at Pittsburgh

Carolina lost at Pittsburgh by 14 points and Virginia Tech by two points in double-overtime. Both games illustrate examples of the Tar Heels inability to break serve or hold serve.

If you divide the regulation game of 40 minutes into 10 minute quarters, below is the point differential for the Tar Heels (overtime excluded):

Pittsburgh outscored Carolina by 14 points in the first 10 minutes of the game. The score was even over the final 30 minutes.

Brandon Robinson made a three-point shot to make the score 14-10 Pittsburgh with 12:57 left in the first half.

In the next 144 seconds of game time, the score became 24-10. The score reached 26-10 before Carolina scored again because the Tar Heels failed to break serve with several empty possessions.

These empty possessions include:

  • miss two-point shot (Jeremiah Francis)

  • miss three-point shot (Brandon Robinson)

  • live-ball turnover (Justin Pierce)

  • dead-ball turnover (Garrison Brooks)

  • live-ball turnover (Armando Bacot)

  • dead-ball turnover (Jeremiah Francis)

  • live-ball turnover (Jeremiah Francis)

Seven straight empty possessions, five of which ended without a shot, and Carolina found itself down 16 points.

Here is how it looked in video form:

Of course, the defense can also string together stops too, but when the offense is not even attempting shots, it puts the defense in a tough position.

at Virginia Tech

First, the Tar Heels did a wonderful job breaking serve in the middle of the first half at Virginia Tech.

Down 19-16 with 9:45 left in the first half, Carolina scored on five of its next nine offensive possessions while the Hokies missed five of its next seven shots and turned it over twice.

27-24 Carolina regained the lead and didn’t give it up until the second overtime.

Yes, the Tar Heels maintained the lead, but Virginia Tech was able to break serve at the end of regulation to extend the game.

Carolina made it to match-point with a 59-52 lead with 3:56 remaining in regulation. UNC attempted six shots and scored only one point on its final five possessions of regulation.

  • live-ball turnover (Garrison Brooks)

  • three missed two-point shots (Garrison Brooks, Andrew Platek, Leaky Black)

  • two missed two-point shots (Leaky Black, Armando Bacot)

  • made one of two free throws (Leaky Black)

  • missed two-point shot (Garrison Brooks)

Six field goals. No points. Two free throws. One point.

The Hokies scored eight points in its final five offensive possessions to break serve.

  • made three-pointer (Jalen Cone)

  • made three-pointer off UNC live-ball turnover (Jalen Cone)

  • missed three-pointer (P.J. Horne)

  • missed three-pointer (Nahiem Alleyne)

  • two made free-throws (P.J. Horne)

Four field goals. Six points. Two free throws. Two points.

The score see-sawed during both overtime periods before the Hokies snagged the win.

Carolina’s ability to go string together empty possessions is impressive. This means it fails to break and hold serve.

This is all too much to overcome and gives the opponent an advantage, which translates into consecutive losses.


Eddie Fogler: Recruiting Stories

The Carolina Insider pod welcomed Eddie Fogler earlier this week. This interview was fascinating because of . . .

  • Fogler’s insight into playing for and working with Dean Smith

  • his work with helping universities hire coaches

  • his nickname for Roy Williams (mountain man)

  • legendary recruiting stories

The entire interview is worth a listen, but the recruiting stories were gold. Below is some paraphrasing from the interview about two all-time college hoops players.

Phil Ford

Back then, no Internet, no one knew who were recruiting or where we were. They cared, but it’s not what you have today.

Phil Ford, I want to say Phil’s senior year of high school, I personally saw 24 of 27 games. It was during the gas crunch too.

I was getting up at 4 am to wait in line two hours to get a tank of gas, so I could drive to Rocky Mount.

There were no rules about how often you could see players. I used to spend the night, wake up in the morning have breakfast with his parents, and then drive Phil to school.

Ralph Sampson

We sit down at the table, this has been two years worth of time. Ralph had been to camp.

Roy [Williams] once slid off the road going to the airport in an ice storm after seeing Ralph play. Roy almost killed himself.

We sit down at the table. And I’m saying this is going to be good. Coach Smith is the best at this kind of thing.

Coach Smith tells his parents it’s great to be here. He says, ‘hey Ralph - we’re going to be good with or without you.’

So, I just say to myself, coach, can you just tell him we’re going to be a little bit better with him?

Times have certainly changed.


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