Ugh... As Tom Brennan once said, "Sometimes you are the pigeon. And sometimes you are the statue." And last night, North Carolina was most certainly the statue. It was ugly, no doubt, and while I do think that it is quite knee-jerk to say that last night's loss renders the improvement that was made over the preceding six weeks null-and-void, there is no question that this loss eliminates UNC's ability to claim that it has, "no bad losses," which could loom large come March.
As for the stats, well, they are about as ugly as you would expect and, honestly, probably not worth investing a lot of time pouring over. In fact, if I were the coach (which I am most thankfully not) I would be tempted to spend the first 15 minutes of practice today burning both the statsheet and the game tape as a sort of ritual exorcism. But, for those who are gluttons for punishment, we will take a closer look at the stats on the other side of the break.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the above chartlet is the equivalent of about 4 pages worth of the word, "ugly." Looking at the stats, there was really only two things that stood out. First, after nearly 6 weeks of doing a remarkable job hanging on to the ball, Carolina has now had a TO% of 24.0 or greater in two straight games. Much of the Tar Heels' trouble came in the second half, as their 1st half TO% of 14.3 was excellent. However, after the break, they turned the ball over on 32.5% of their possessions, which is simply awful.
The second thing that stood out, and not in a good way, was the team's truly (and historically) dreadful shooting performance. The Heels posted an eFG% of 29.3, which is not only the lowest of Roy Williams' tenure at UNC, but also the lowest of any UNC team since the introduction of the 3-point line to the college game. The combination of terrible shooting and weak ball handling lead the Heels to produce an anemic 0.71 points per possession, which was their lowest number since they produced 0.68 PPP in their game last season at... Georgia Tech. Needless to say, Alexander Memorial Coliseum will not be missed by anyone who is a fan of the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Honestly, there weren't any. The one thing that stood out when I did the plus/minus calculations was that every member of the "first 5" had an on-court +/- between -15 and -28, while every member of the "second 5" had an on-court +/- between 0 and +10. While this is interesting, and certainly provocative, a look at the rest of the team and individual statistics does not really back up the disparity. There was certainly an enormous difference in game's first 10 minutes, but overall, no one can really claim to have played well. And in the second half, when the wheels really fell off, only Knox (0), Watts (-2) and Barnes (-3) had an on-court +/- great than -5.
Beyond the Box Player of the Game
Obviously, there will be no player of the game for this game, but for those who are curious, the Top 5 ORtgs are listed below:
[table id=71 /]
About the only positive that can be take from last night's game is that UNC appears to have dodged two potential injury-bullets, as both John Henson and Leslie McDonald were able to practice today, and should be ready for the game tomorrow. The good news with the way the schedule works out is that it will allow (force?) the team to quickly put this loss behind them so that they can get ready for Clemson. The bad news is that the quick turnaround severely limits the amount of time the team will have to prepare for the Tigers and greatly diminishes the ability to make any dramatic changes. Such changes will likely have to wait until the 8-day break that starts on Wednesday, which means that for Carolina to win tomorrow, most of the onus will be on the players to get back to doing what they were doing well in December (good defense; limited TOs).
Note: For reference, a full stats glossary can be found at StatSheet.com.