UNC Basketball among the top offensive and defensive teams in the country

The UNC basketball program has taken a significant leap this season on the defensive end while maintaining a strong offense as well.
Louisville v North Carolina
Louisville v North Carolina / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

The UNC basketball program is off to a stellar start to the 2023-24 season. The Tar Heels are 15-3 and 7-0 in the ACC, which is their best start since 2015-16. They're also on an eight-game win streak right now with all eight of those wins by 10+ points, their most since the 2008-09 season. The key to success for North Carolina has been their consistency on the offensive and defensive ends.

The UNC basketball program ranks fourth in defense and 15th in offense in 2024, according to KenPom rankings. This is a significant jump from last season, as they ranked 43rd in defense and 51st in offense. All of the teams in the post above are currently ranked in the top 20 of the AP Poll and are off to strong starts in conference play.

The improvements have come over time for the UNC basketball program, as they were ranked 47th in defense prior to their game against Kentucky on December 16. They haven't lost since then and have given up an average of 62 points per game in that stretch. The only team to reach 70+ points on the Tar Heels was Louisville, who scored 70 in their matchup last week. North Carolina has taken pride on the defensive end since giving up 87 points in back-to-back losses against UConn and Kentucky.

One of the main things that have helped the offensive turnaround for North Carolina is assists. Last season, the Tar Heels were 13th in the ACC, averaging 12 assists per game. The UNC basketball program is now sixth in the conference with 14.4 assists per game.

The addition of playmakers like Elliot Cadeau and Harrison Ingram headline the turnaround, but it's been a collective effort thus far. Three-point shooting has also taken a significant jump from last season to this season. The Tar Heels were dead last in the ACC in three-point percentage in 2022-23, shooting 31%. This year they are seventh in three-point percentage at 36% from beyond the arc. Fans can expect this number to grow as sharpshooter Cormac Ryan has yet to find his stroke from three. Ryan will be a nice addition to R.J. Davis and Harrison Ingram for three as the season goes on.

Being top 20 in offense and defense proves to be the difference maker when making a run to a national championship. Four of the last five teams to win a national championship have ended the season ranked in the top 20 in offense and defense. The UNC basketball program finds itself in the right company as it makes a push for title number seven.

Current ACC standout has high praise for former UNC basketball star. Current ACC standout has high praise for former UNC basketball star. dark. Next