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UNC vs. Marquette: Beyond the Box

The combined score at halftime the last two times a Roy Williams-coached team played Marquette?

How does 99-45 sound?

Even Tom Izzo thinks that is really, really bad.

Four Factors

The story of this game can be summed up by one statistic: turnovers.  Marquette turned the ball over like crazy (TO%: 25.7), while North Carolina had their best game of the season in terms of protecting the basketball (TO%: 10.0).  And in the 1st-half, it was even worse, as Marquette turned the ball over an incredible 36.4% of the time, while UNC's TO% was an almost absurd, 9.1%.  To make matter worse for the Eagles (or, better for the Heels), most of the turnovers occurred in the open court, which allowed UNC to get numerous easy looks.  At halftime, North Carolina had 17 points off of turnovers; Marquette had 15 points, total.  Game. Set. Match.

In addition to dominating the turnover battle, the Tar Heels also did a terrific job on the offensive boards, producing their second-best OR% of the season, 47.8.  However, for only the 4th time this season, UNC corralled less than 60.0% of its opponents rebounds.  Given the horrendous shooting display that Marquette put on, this probably should not be too much of a surprise.

Statistical Highlights

  • UNC was in double-figures in both steal % (15.7) and block % (12.7) for the 6th time this season.  The Heels have now won 37-straight games in which they reach double-figures in both, and overall all, are 39-1 in such games with Roy Williams as the head coach.
  • For the second-straight game, the Heels had an A/T greater than 2.0 (2.14).  This is the first time that UNC has done this in back-to-back games since they did it three-straight times against Notre Dame, UNC-A, and Michigan State early in the 2009 season.
  • After putting up a raw OE of about 106 in the regular season, UNC's raw OE over its first 3 NCAA Tournament games is 113.5.
  • Tyler Zeller lead the team with a remarkable +52 Roland Rating.  This is the second-time this season that Zeller has cracked 50.  No other Heel has even been over 40 for a game. Justin Knox (-32) had the low score on the team.

Beyond the Box Player of the Game

Before getting to the POG, 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=113 /]

Whenever there is a game like the one we saw yesterday, you know that several players must have played very well. And while you have to love the combined line of 15 points (eFG%: 72.2), 10 assists, 6 steals and 2 turnovers produced by the starting backcourt, the player of the game was clearly Tyler Zeller.  An indication of just how important Zeller was to the game can be seen by looking at his plus minus from the second-half.  During Zeller's three, second-half stints on the court, UNC outscored Marquette by 4, 4, and 5 points.  When he went to the bench, UNC was outscored by 8, 6, and 6 points.  Quite simply, when Zeller was on the court, there was nothing Marquette could do to stop him.  Not only did Zeller score 27 points (in 27 minutes), but he also led the team in OR% (22.5) and AST% (36.6), while finishing second on the team in DR% (16.8) and STL% (6.3).  This was arguably Zeller's best, and most complete, game as a Tar Heel, thus making him an easy choice for POG.

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.

[table id=114 /]

Tyler Zeller has almost amassed an insurmountable lead in the BTB-POY standings.  With a maximum of three games left, all Zeller has to do is be in the top-5 in ORtg in each of those three games to ensure that there is no way that Harrison Barnes can pass him.  Given that UNC probably will not get to play all three of those games if Zeller is not in the top-5, the title is pretty much locked up.

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