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UNC vs. Hofstra: Beyond the Box

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Well, that was fun! As THF correctly pointed out in his recap, one does have to be careful not to read too much into a win like this, and likewise, the statistical analysis of such a lopsided game is not likely to reveal too many secrets. However, the numbers are "pretty" and it has been a while since we have seen pretty numbers from UNC, so it is definitely worth a look. One thing that I think Tar Heel fans can take heart in is the fact that team really put the hammer down on Hofstra and held the Pride to 33% shooting in the second half. Contrast that to the game against Albany last year, which UNC won handily, but also allowed the Danes to end the game on a 23-2 run that was, in many ways, a portent of things to come.

Four Factors

Dominance.  With an eFG% of 64.8, the Heels had their best shooting night in almost two years, as UNC had not broken the 64% barrier since the Championship team's shellacking of of UNC-Asheville in November of 2008.  In the Lipscomb BTB I mentioned how dominant UNC is when they shoot better than 50% (now: 152-10).  As one would expect, when the plateau is raised to 60% UNC reaches an entirely new level of dominance.  Actually, they reach perfection: 47 - 0.

To add insult to injury, even though the Heels rarely missed last night, when they were off the mark they were able to rebound more than half of their misses.  This is potentially a great sign, as a team (even after you account for the talent gap) really has to remain focused and aggressive to grab that many offensive rebounds when they are shooting as well as they were, in a game as lopsided as it was.

Statistical Highlights

  • North Carolina had a team offensive rating of 144.6.  As dominant as the 2009 team was, you have to go back to the 2007-2008 season to see a number better than that for a game.
  • The sharing of the ball was phenomenal, with a team assist percentage of 72.5.  Equally outstanding was the team's 2.42 A/T ratio.  This is only the 34th time UNC has had an A/T better than 2.0 under Roy; they have won 33 of those games.
  • Rebounding was much more of a team effort than it was against Lipscomb.  John Henson (OR%: 35.8) and Justin Knox (OR%: 30.1) lead the way on the offensive boards, while Tyler Zeller did most of his work on the defensive end (DR%: 28.0).
  • UNC’s +/- leaders (scholarship players only), based on Roland Rating, were Harrison Barnes (+38) and Dexter Strickland (+30).  On the opposite end of the spectrum were Reggie Bullock (-36) and Justin Knox (-30).  All of the scholarship athletes did have a +/- that was positive when they were on the court.
"Beyond the Box" Player of the Game

Before naming the POG for the Hofstra game, let’s first take a look at the top five ORtgs for the Tar Heels (minimum possession percentage: 10%):
[table id=49 /]
Not surprisingly, there were a lot of big performances last night, and any of the players listed above could be considered for player of the game on another night.  But the reality is that Harrison Barnes was the complete package last night, and that is why he was the easy choice for the BTB Player of the Game.  Barnes seemed almost effortless in delivering 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block to go along with a 142.3 ORtg and a team best +38 Roland Rating, most of which came when the game was still in "doubt."  Performances like this illustrate why he was the consensus #1 High School recruit last year.