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Everyone Is Totally Insane

OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but this recent belief that UNC is a better team without Lawson is rather odd. The logic goes that without Lawson, Hansbrough is scoring more, and the more Hansbrough scores the better Carolina is. There's also some stuff about Thomas being a pass-first point guard, which is apparently preferable to a point guard averaging 14.1 ppg in-conference (a stat that includes the FSU game).

This is, well, silly. And it so happens I'd been putting together the stats for the ACC games - the six with Lawson, and the seven (including FSU) without:

Without Lawson, UNC isn't as an effective offensive team. They turn the ball over more, and for a team supposedly run by a "pass-first" point guard, shoot more threes and make less assists. They've improved on defense - I don't know how much of that is variance in composition - especially in rebounding and creating turnovers, so on a whole it's a wash, but UNC definitely hasn't been better in Lawson's absence.

Which isn't to say individual players haven't improved. Hansbrough has stepped up in Lawson's absence, and of course Quentin Thomas has improved by leaps and bounds, so UNC should almost definitely be a better team when Lawson returns. But can we knock off this "better with him in street clothes" nonsense?