Quick gut check: Is this year’s North Carolina team better at moving the ball than last year’s team? My gut told me there was no chance, especially when that team had Kendall Marshall, the all-time ACC single season leader in assists. My gut was wrong. Well it’s possible that this team doesn’t quite have the passing flair of Marshall, but as a team, this group knows how to move the ball better than last year’s squad. The 2011-12 North Carolina team assisted on 58.1% of its made field goals as opposed to this year’s mark of 61.0%. It’s the best mark in the conference, and against Florida State on Sunday, the Tar Heels’ passing acumen was on full display.
North Carolina assisted on 20 out of 31 made field goals against the Seminoles, a 64.5% mark for the game. While the Roy Williams era North Carolina teams have always racked up assists at a pretty quick rate, the way that this team does it is fairly unusual. The norm for UNC has been a dominant point guard in the mold of Raymond Felton, Ty Lawson, and Kendall Marshall — floor generals who exert a tight control over the game. Yet young Marcus Paige hardly fits that description. Granted, Paige has been playing with increased confidence and better passing during the Tar Heels’ five-game winning streak, amassing an easy nine assists during the course of the game. But, for the most part, this year, UNC’s assists have come from a three-headed monster.