February 2011
« Jan   Mar »

Category Cloud

2008 Football Season (188)
2008-09 Basketball Season (465)
2009 Football Season (136)
2009-10 Basketball Season (308)
2010 Football Season (244)
2010-11 Basketball Season (325)
2011 Baseball Season (37)
2011 Football Season (146)
2011-12 Basketball Season (135)
2012 Football Season (1)
850 The Buzz (6)
ACC (27)
ACC Baseball Tournament (4)
ACC Basketball (410)
ACC Bloggers Roundtable (1)
ACC Blogs (8)
ACC Football (224)
ACC Tournament (100)
ACC/Big Ten Challenge (10)
AD Search (8)
Analysis (123)
Anti-Duke (33)
Bad Officiating (9)
Beating Michigan St. (1)
Blogger Q&A (6)
Blogging (63)
Blogpoll (6)
Bowl Games (20)
Butch Davis Watch (9)
Caption This (1)
Car Care Bowl (3)
Carolina Hurricanes (16)
Carrier Classic (7)
Carrier Game (1)
CBI (3)
Cheaters (3)
Class Acts (4)
Coaching Search (55)
College Football (45)
College World Series (35)
Conference Realignment (5)
Daddy (4)
Dean Smith (10)
Dick Baddour (4)
Director's Cup (2)
Drafts (99)
Duke (10)
ESPN (36)
Final Four (54)
Former Players (18)
Game Thread (84)
General Sports Blogs (14)
Good Bad and Ugly Report (8)
History (38)
Holidays (2)
Idiot Analysts (15)
Idiotic Columns (24)
Injury Report (107)
International Basketball (15)
Justice (12)
Legal Trouble (5)
Life at Home (5)
Like Death Warmed Over (1)
Local Media/Blogs (90)
Locked Comments (2)
Losing to a Football School Sucks (1)
McDonalds AA Game (5)
MLB (9)
Music City Bowl (3)
Naismith Hall of Fame (10)
National Championship (44)
National Signing Day (1)
NBA (126)
NC Pro Am (6)
NC Sports Hall of Fame (2)
NCAA Baseball Tournament (18)
NCAA Basketball (109)
NCAA Investigation (203)
NCAA Tournament (314)
News (1)
NFL (29)
NIT (32)
Not Really A Sport (3)
Odds and Ends (10)
Official Stances (3)
Olympics (3)
PGA Golf (7)
Player Profile (32)
Player Transfers (5)
Player Tweets (2)
Polls (4)
Radio (1)
Rampant Stupidity (18)
Random Stuff (1)
Rant Mode (7)
Raycom Sports Blog Network (2)
Recruiting (97)
Referees (2)
Reflections (4)
Retraction (1)
Rivals (28)
Roy (29)
Satire/Humor (46)
Season Preview (12)
Senior Night (2)
Site Issues (2)
Sports in General (16)
Spring Practice (7)
Summer of Deon (22)
Team Scrilla (2)
The Duke Game (14)
The NCAA (30)
THF ACC Awards (3)
THF Community (4)
THF Countdown (32)
THF Family (6)
THF Fantasy Draft (1)
THF Tournament Pick 'em (4)
Total Lack of Class (2)
Tragic News (14)
Triangle Pigskin Preview (1)
Trolls (24)
Twitter (3)
Twitter Blog (1)
Twitter Live Blog (1)
UNC All Sports (30)
UNC Baseball (117)
UNC Basketball (1948)
UNC Blogs/Sites (1)
UNC Fans (1)
UNC Football (985)
UNC Men's Soccer (3)
UNC Women's Soccer (1)
UNC-Duke Game (24)
UNC-Duke Rivalry (8)
Uncategorized (8)
Unlinkables (11)
Vacation (7)
Weekend Open Thread (1)
Weird Crap (3)
Whiny Coaches (2)
Wisdom of Fools (2)
World Cup Soccer (1)
Year of Hell (10)
Zeke Smith Photos (4)

WP Cumulus Flash tag cloud by Roy Tanck and Luke Morton requires Flash Player 9 or better.

UNC vs. Maryland: Beyond the Box

After UNC beat N.C. State back at the end of January, I opened that BTB with the following:

…after losing 3 games in November, the Heels have now gone two straight months with only 1 loss.  Is it too early to start thinking about March?  Absolutely, but should the Heels make their way through February the same way they progressed through December and January (i.e. with only 1 loss), then the Heels will enter the last full month of the season at 22-6 (12-2), playing for not only a high seed, but also a shot at the ACC regular season crown.

Well, the Tar Heels have done exactly that, putting the finishing touches on their 3rd consecutive 1-loss month last night, with arguably their most impressive win of the season (Maryland sits at #16 in the current KenPom rankings).  In another 6 hours it will be March, and somewhat remarkably, UNC is going to enter the season’s last full month playing for as high as a #2-seed in the NCAAT.  Maybe even more importantly (and impressively), regardless of what happens on Wednesday, next Saturday North Carolina will be playing Duke for the #1-seed in the ACC Tournament.  Who would have predicted that on December 1st?

Four Factors

This wasn’t a great offensive night for North Carolina, as their OE of 108.7 was only slightly higher than their average for the season of 106.1.  However, after a very rough 4-game stretch, UNC has now had two straight games in which they have been slightly above average on offense (combined OE: 110.2), and the results certainly seem to indicate that that is indeed enough for Carolina to be competitive with anyone.

Looking at the Four Factors for this game, there really is not a single area that stands out, as this game was a case of the combination of small advantages in each of the Factors adding up to a fairly convincing win.  While UNC’s OR% of 41.7 (4th straight game over 40.0) was certainly outstanding, it only netted the Heels a 3 point margin in second-chance points.  However, UNC also had a 3-point edge on points off of turnovers (terrific TO%: 13.8) and at the free-throw line (FTR: 27.5; FT%; 77.3).  With this type of balance, if UNC ever gets to the point where they are consistently approaching (or exceeding) an eFG% of 50.0, then they will be virtually impossible to beat (10-1 this season with an eFG% of 50.0+).

Statistical Highlights

  • As Doc has already mentioned, today is Dean Smith’s 80th birthday.  Smith was one of the first, if not the first, to embrace advanced statistical analysis and was a strong supporter of Dean Oliver’s “Basketball on Paper,”  which has had a fundamental influence on the development of not only BTB, many of the top stat-compiling/analyzing sites available today.  All of these sites owe a at least a small debt of gratitude to the incomparable Dean Smith.
  • This was UNC’s fastest game of the season with 80.0 possessions.  UNC is now 50-6 (0.893) under Roy in games that reach 80.0 or more possessions.
  • For the 6th time this season (6-0), UNC had double-figure steal (10.0) and block (12.3) percentages.  UNC is now an incredible 39-1 (0.975) under Roy in games in which they do so.
  • Carolina’s assist percentage (71.9) was terrific, but when you consider that 5 of UNC’s FGs came off of putbacks, it reaches a whole different level, as the Tar Heel’s assisted on 85.2% of their non-putback FGs.
  • For the first time all season, UNC has hit 75.0% or more of its free-throws in two consecutive games.
  • Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall all tied for the team best in Roland Rating with a score of +21.  Leslie McDonald and Justin Watts had the low scores on the team, -23.

Beyond the Box Player of the Game

Before getting to the POG for the Maryland game, let’s first take a look at the top five ORtgs for the Tar Heels (minimum possession percentage: 10% or minimum minutes percentage: 80.0):

T. Zeller144.61262.566.321
D. Strickland130.770.033.813
K. Marshall112.0733.340.821
L. McDonald106.7875.075.0-23
H. Barnes

Army had “Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside.”

North Carolina has “Mr. Offense and Mr. Defense.”

The Tar Heels have been fortunate to have had many terrific low post players over the years (okay, let’s be honest, you can say this about every position for UNC), but I have a hard time remembering two post players (maybe Lynch and Montross) whose games complement each others so well.  And it’s not just the offense/defense part; it is the fact that on each player’s “weaker” end of the court, they do things that help the other player excel.  On offense, Henson is a crafty passer/playmaker who throws a terrific entry-pass to Zeller from the high post (2 assists last night).  On defense, Zeller does a terrific job on overplaying the entry pass and is excellent at holding his ground and funneling the shot attempt towards Henson’s pterodactyl-like wingspan (1 steal, 1 block, 1 charge-drawn).  And this was all on display last night in a game against the player many consider the best post-player in the ACC, Jordan Williams.  While Williams did produce solid numbers, he was held to an ORtg of 85.1 and was basically a non-factor in the game.  Meanwhile, Henson and Zeller combined for 35 points (career, ACC-high 25 for Zeller), 21 rebounds (Henson first: Tar Heel since Hansbrough in 2008 to have back-to-back 15-rebound games) and 8 blocks.  Zeller and Henson have clearly been Carolina’s most important players this season.  Last night was no different, and it is for that reason that they are the co-Players of the Game.

Beyond the Box Player of the Year

The BTB POY is based on a points system in which a player gets 10 points for being named the POG and 3 points for having a top five ORtg, with a 2 point bonus for having the top ORtg.   What follows are the updated standings through 28 games.

PlayerPOGsTop-5 ORtgs (Top ORtg)POY Score
Zeller821 (6)155
Henson812 (1)118
Marshall318 (7)98
McDonald216 (5)78
Strickland214 (2)66
Bullock14 (2)46
Knox12 (2)40
Watts5 (2)19

Note: For reference, a full stats glossary can be found at StatSheet.com.

Share This Post:
[Bloglines] [del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [MySpace] [Technorati] [Windows Live] [Yahoo!] [Email]

45 comments to UNC vs. Maryland: Beyond the Box

  • 40yrheel

    how can lmac be as bad as watts with a minus 23 score?
    makes no sense.

  • CotaFloata

    ^Because he’s a revolving door on defense.

  • makeitWayne22

    Mcdonald needs to work on his defense bc it reminds me of Dex’s outside jumper…

  • lviveiros

    I am watching the Villanova/ Notre Dame game.. Our man T is in the crowd watching his brother… Tyler is one of those players who just loved college.. He is having a blast just watching his brother.. I do miss watching him at UNC..

  • CarpeD1em500

    Not getting ahead of ourselves… but…

    If we win out the regular season, and win the acct with a finals win over duke, what are the odds we manage a 1 seed in the ncaat? Impossible?

  • BoyWilliams

    At the end of the game, it looked like Roy said to Jordan Williams, “You’re one of my favorite players.” It’s always cute to watch him graciously interact with the other team, win or lose. Our Roy’s so cuddly.

  • LarryS

    “Mcdonald needs to work on his defense bc it reminds me of Dex’s outside jumper…”

    LMac is not as good an on-ball defender as Strickland, by any means, but I don’t view his D as being that deficient. He’s had more steals (7 vs. 3) than Dexter, in the last 5 games, and with far fewer minutes, and he drew a really nice charge last night and followed it up on the other end with a nice little jumper.

    He does have defensive improvements to make, but I think he’s much further along than Dexter’s long-range shot.

  • lviveiros

    The irish spanking villanova.. You gotta love that hansborough family…

  • faustus1500

    C. Michael,

    This is the Basketball State’s State of College Basketball Rating calc:


    Tell me what you think.

  • Heel To The End

    Senior Night @ Notre Dame? 20 made 3s. 7 by Ben. Tyler and Dad are both there.

  • scl11

    Carpe, UNC has zero shot @ a #1 seed

  • chapelhillfan

    The realistic best that Carolina can shoot for is a No. 2 seed, which is entirely possible if it wins the next five games. Right now, ESPN projects it as a no. 3 seed.

  • faustus,

    Really interesting site. I do find it interesting that the more rankings are based on the objective, rather than the subjective, the better UNC does.

  • As for the #1-seed, there are just too many teams to jump. The 2007 team made a pretty big leap to a #1-seed by winning their last 4, but they were 8th in the last two regular season polls.

  • william

    Who have we lost to, when averaging over 80 possessions? Where did you find that stat, C.M.?

  • makeitWayne22

    To go from 5-11, to possible ACC champs…… That’s why Roy williams is a hall of famer.

  • CotaFloata


    Insider-only, sorry. Gosh that article makes me want to ram my head into a brick wall. For those of you who don’t have insider, it’s basically several paragraphs of a legitimate college football expert saying that the biggest contender to Auburn’s crown could and should have been our Heels.

  • rathskellar68

    Iviveiros -

    “The irish spanking villanova.. You gotta love that hansborough family…”

    Did you say HANSBROUGH???!!!

    Oh dear, I’m about to faint. Quick, scl11, catch me!

    Still, scl11 is quite right about the No. 1 seed. We have six losses, we’ve got some holes, we’re not the Big East or the Big Ten, not to mention Kansas and Texas and stuff like that. No. 1 seed ain’t gonna happen — not this year.

  • Heel in Purple

    Apparently Bullock might be out for the season cause of the knee problems. Bad news if true. McDonald gonna have to rise up. Hansbrough, however, rhymes with winning. Thank you Charlie Sheen.

  • william

    Texas Christian won the National Championship, in my mind…. Still, I admit that UNC probably would have been in the mix if they had avoided their issues.

    Let’s give Butch his due-htf, he survived that mess, apparently, I will never know, but let’s not let it get in the way of a much more interesting narrative….

  • Here are the 80-possession losses:

    2004: Wake Forest (3OT)
    2006: Duke
    2008: Duke
    2009: @Wake Forest
    2009: Maryland (OT)
    2010: @Texas

    StatSheet.com has the ability (though it is curiously missing now) to sort game stats from individual seasons, so it makes it fairly simple to compile threshold-based data like this.

  • LarryS

    “Apparently Bullock might be out for the season cause of the knee problems.”

    I haven’t been able to find anything solid on this….it looks to still be in the unsubstantiated rumour stage.

  • OldSchool

    Agreed, Iviveiros. Tyler Hansbrough was a special treat for Tarheel Nation, and his brother plays with similar intensity at Notre Dame. Tyler will be a 20 ppg NBA scorer before long.

  • ^^The only official thing that I have seen is that Bullock did have an MRI on his knee yesterday, but there has been no (official) word on the outcome of that test.

    There is a post on IC Premium stating that Bullock is done for the season, and while the masses seem to be taking that at face value, at this point it is still nothing more than an uncited message board post.

  • TheUNCFan

    I like that there “really is not a single area that stands out” because if there’s one area that stands out, that can go cold on any given night and the team won’t have anywhere to go. This team in some respects reminds me of the two recent national championship teams. Particularly, other teams come out and give the Heels their best shot. State tried to be physical. BC tried to control tempo. But over the course of 40 minutes, this Tar Heel team outlasts what the other team does and comes out ahead in the end. That’s what I remember most from the ’05 and ’09 teams. No matter what the other team did, you knew the Heels would outlast them and the cream would rise. I remember watching bad offensive plays, blown assignments, seeing all the negatives, and suddenly remembering the Heels were up by 10.

    What this team does not have that the other two teams had is consistency. But at least they’re peaking at the right time. MacDonald has become the spark off the bench. Strickland may not shoot, but he’s a fantastic dribble penetrator. Zeller is a much better all-around player, and he’s becoming a force (he’s quicker than most big men in the post, and bigger than most smaller, quicker post players). Marshall may not drive coast-to-coast like Lawson, but he can PASS coast-to-coast. (I’ve heard two other ACC coaches recently rave about Marshall’s headman passing. That’s the first thing coaches notice about his game.)

  • gregrustin

    the only redeeming facts about hearing the same argument for dex over lmac as we did for drew over marshall is that Dex is a true fighter and wont pout and quit no matter what happens. otherwise it is the exact SAME ARGUIMENT.

  • CotaFloata

    ^Well, that, and the fact that in most objective measures, Strickland has been better than McDonald. But other than that you’re right.

  • william

    If Bullock is out, then McDondald should be getting plenty of minutes. I don’t really understand why that shouldn’t suffice.

  • gregrustin

    as long as lmac gets 20+ mins, I WONT COMPLAIN. he is a shooter and a shooter needs to run and sweat and feel the game. when a shooter gets going (STOGLIN???), a shooter can go off. you have to be patient with a shooter. dont yank em….lets em flow.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    Ok… here are McDonald’s 3 point shooting stats vs. the ACC this year:

    UVA 1-3
    Va Tech 1-6
    Ga Tech 2-5
    Miami 2-6
    NC State 1-3
    BC 1-4
    FSU 1-4
    Dook 1-5
    Clemson 0-2
    WF 2-6
    BC 1-3
    NC State 1-2
    MD 3-5

    Where do you see anything in those numbers that suggests McDonald should be playing more and shooting more?

  • caymanheel

    850, those are telling stats. However, I feel a bit unfair as it gives an incomplete picture. LMac has developed a bit of midrange game, especially on both baselines (hardest jump shot in bball). And not that it is at all polished, still he has shown it with some consistency and it is superior to Bullock, who really has shown no midrange ability this year (to my surprise to be honest).

    Plus, when LMac shoots, he shoots with confidence — I realize this can turn into selfishness, etc. But it’s also a necessary building block if greater consistency is to emerge.

  • LarryS

    ^^ To be fair, he’s shooting as well as anyone else on the team, and over the last 4 games he has really picked it up, going 7/16 for 44%, (Barnes has gone 7/29 for 24%.) and far ahead of anyone else .

    We’ve been saying all along that we wish some of these guys would start showing up. Well, Leslie’s been doing it, and he needs to be given credit where credit’s due.

  • CotaFloata

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. I love LMac, but you guys do realize that, by definition, 50% of the game is played on the defensive end? When you shoot %44 (over only a 4 game stretch, mind you) but you allow the opponent to score at will, you are a net loss.

  • CarMichael

    McDonald has improved his defensive effort this year. On feedmyego’s defensive charting threads, he shows up well in the hustle categories such as deflections. He has trouble staying in front of the dribbler, which may imply some inherent shortcoming in lateral quickness, but he is trying hard and doing a pretty good job on the defensive end.

    He is our best 3-point shooter at 38.5%.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    “To be fair, he’s shooting as well as anyone else on the team”

    Therein lies my point. If he was head and shoulders better then Strickland… well I still wouldn’t be comfortable with making a lineup change when are only a week away from post season play…but if he was lighting it up, I could understand folks making that argument. But he isn’t.

    And to compare this to the LDII situation is patently ridiculous. The team performed significantly better when Marshall was on the floor. Can the same be said about McDonald?

  • CotaFloata

    In my opinion, when you say “he can’t stay in front of his man, but he really hustles,” what you’re really saying is “I like him, but he’s a terrible defender.” It’s like when favorable scouting reports used to say that (white) Jason Williams was “a good help defender.” Meaning that he has to sag so far off his man to keep him from blowing past him that he’s always in great help position.

  • makeitWayne22

    Roy’s starting lineup is 12-2 in the ACC. Whats your’s?

  • Heel in Purple

    I wasn’t using the IC boards about Bullock. I know someone who is close to the program. He said it didn’t sound good about his knee. Hence “apparently.”

    I’m not too worried about it (if he’s not making shots, he wasn’t of very much use - albeit he did have some important non-scoring moments in games this year). Watts getting more minutes isn’t terrible, but I’d rather play 7 guys 20 mins with War Machine getting 5-10.

  • makeitWayne22

    Reggie’s knee explains him not looking right…

  • LarryS

    ^^^^^ I’m not advocating he start. As a matter of fact, I’ve posted that it’s foolish to even consider it , for a variety of reasons. (And, BTW, McDonald has SHOT head and shoulders above Strickland, in the last 4, with an EFG% of 55% while Dexter has an EFG% of 26%)

    What I’m doing is defending his value, and noting the upsurge in his shooting that everyone has been calling for. My gosh, he finally starts getting something going and now we say it’s only for 4 games. These last games of the season are big and at least it is happening a bit more frequently.

    Also, to characterize McDonald as being a defender that lets his man score at will is an exaggeration - I’ve watched the same games, most multiple times, and I don’t see it - as is saying he is a net loss.

    This is an offensively-challenged team, from the perimeter, and at this stage a little outside help goes a long way. McDonald has the 2nd best OR on the team, only behind Z, so I say his value on offense, and certainly more recently, outweighs any defensive limitations he might still have. (I also want to reiterate the nice charge he drew in the Md. game, and the 7 steals he’s had over the last 5)

  • makeitWayne22

    I like this team a lot bc everyone has a defined role, and the Heels will need everyone to contribute.

    Its the last week in the season, too late for a change in the lineup. So lets get behind the heels and go win the ACC…

  • CarMichael

    What are some examples of Leslie letting people score at will? According to defensive charting for Maryland game, he defended 5.5 FGA, which were all misses. He committed 2 fouls leading to 3 points at the line. He drew a charge and got 2 DR while allowing no OR.

    So that’s 3 points allowed in 8.5 defensive possessions. Sounds pretty good to me.

    He has improved within the season. I noticed some occasions in the early season where he didn’t even bother to put a hand up against a shooter. I think sometimes fans form impressions and then close their eyes to a player’s development.

  • lviveiros

    GO HEELS..

    That is a bummer about Reggie if he is done for the season, poor kid..
    However if he does have a injury ,he is better to focus on getting healthy and just sit out for rest of season insteadd of trying to play because he is only aggravating the injury. I am sure he wants to contribute ,but he can from the bench cheering his buddies onto victory.

  • CotaFloata

    Defense is not a 1-on-1 game. Being out of position hurts the entire team while not showing up in your man’s stat sheet.

  • makeitWayne22

    “What are some examples of Leslie letting people score at will?”


    During the state game, he closed on brown to fast and fell down, allowing brown to drive to the cup.

    Not bashing Lesile, just stating an example for the poster.