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UNC vs. FSU: Beyond the Box

This team is for real. They started the season as a team that had to fight for everything they got, and it was usually ugly. To that fight, the have now added an efficiency on offense that rivals any of Roy's best teams, and the results speak for themselves. Yesterday's win over the 'Noles marked the first time since 2006 that UNC has beaten 3 straight ACC opponents by 20 or more points. In fact, UNC's three, 20-point ACC victories are the same number that the 2008 and 2009 teams had over their entire ACC schedules. Will this team end up where those teams did? Maybe. Maybe not. But the fact that that question can honestly be asked speaks volumes about the transformation this team has made over the last 5 games.

Four Factors

Much like the Heels' game against BC, this game was really defined by two numbers: 62.3 (eFG%) and 15.5 (TO%).  Basketball is a very simple game when you make a lot of baskets and don't give the ball away, and for the second straight game, UNC did that to an extreme level.  While UNC's shooting in the first half was certainly pretty good (eFG%: 54.5), what they did in the second half borders on the absurd.  Against what was, statistically, the second-best defense in the country, the Heels posted a second-half eFG% of 71.4 thanks in large part to incredible sharing of the ball.  While UNC's assist % in the first half was certainly respectable (56.2), in the second half it was nothing short of spectacular (77.8).

Statistical Highlights

  • FSU had held its last 6 opponents to an offensive efficiency (OE) under 100.0, and had not allowed any opponent to surpass an efficiency of 110.0.  UNC's OE yesterday was 125.8.
  • As THF mentioned in his post-game report, UNC's OE over the last 4 games is 124.8.  For reference, their OE in their first 3 ACC games was 88.5.
  • This was UNC 5th game this season with a team A/T of 2.0 or greater.  They had 2 all of last season.
  • This was also John Henson's 5th game this season with a defensive rebound % over 30.0.
  • Roland Rating leaders for the Heels were Tyler Zeller and Kendall Marshall (+24), while Reggie Bullock had the team low score of -20.

Beyond the Box Player of the Game

Before getting to the POG for the FSU 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):

[table id=77 /]

How good was Kendall Marshall yesterday?  So good that he forced me to adjust the minimum standards to be considered (Marshall's possession percentage was only 9.3).  On a day when Dexter Strickland, Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes, and John Henson all produced games that on most days would be leading candidates for POG, Marshall was still the easy choice, as it was his play that, in many ways, facilitated the great games had by the rest of his teammates.  While Marshall's ORtg (283.1) was certainly through the roof, what stood out the most was his assist percentage of 57.9, which is an incredible number for someone who was on the court 90% of the time (an increase of 50% over his previous career-high in minutes).  And, of course, there is also the fact that Marshall did all of this under the pressure of suddenly becoming UNC's sole, true point guard.  Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

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 the team’s first 22 games.

[table id=78 /]

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