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Fouling Things Up In The ACC

No one wants to be best at fouls.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 05 North Carolina at Boston College
Rack one up for Boston College

There are some statistical categories you don’t want to lead.

Three quickly come to mind.

Missed shots, and the variety of percentages they affect, are closely monitored and apt to undermine offensive continuity and confidence, not to mention point production.

Then there are turnovers, which almost without exception involve a change in possession without scoring a point. They tend to be both expensive and debilitating.

Finally, there are personal fouls, a debit that might have no tangible effect on the game’s outcome or may crucially influence player availability and produce easy scoring opportunities for the other team.

A team’s fouling rate tends to reflect style of play, particularly on defense. Programs known for a physical approach (Florida State) or that are notably inexperienced or undisciplined (Wake, NC State, Pitt in 2019) tend to foul more. Those that rely more on finesse and discipline (Notre Dame, UVa in ‘19), have thin rosters (Miami), or depend on zones (Syracuse and, last year, Miami) are less likely to foul.

The savvier coaches, or at least those with enough players to shuffle in and out of the lineup, tend to minimize the number of times individuals are disqualified with too many fouls. This was best achieved in ’19 by Notre Dame and Virginia.

Mike Brey’s Fighting Irish have never suffered more than eight player disqualifications in a season since joining the ACC in 2014. Over the last four years they’ve never had more than four DQs.

Fewest by a team in the past half-decade were the two disqualifications incurred by Syracuse in 2017 and North Carolina in 2018.

Personal Fouls Accumulated Per ACC Team in 2019
Fouls/G Team Total PF Games DQ
13.8 Notre Dame 455 33 3
14.3 Virginia 542 38 4
14.6 Miami 466 32 6
15.2 Virginia Tech 532 35 11
15.7 Duke 595 38 6
16.2 Clemson 552 34 13
16.4 Boston College 509 31 14
17.0 North Carolina 611 36 6
17.3 Syracuse 588 34 19
17.4 Louisville 592 34 9
17.5 Georgia Tech 560 32 14
17.9 Wake Forest 555 31 14
18.6 Pittsburgh 613 33 14
19.1 Florida State 705 37 9
19.2 NC State 691 36 10