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UNC vs. Monmouth: Beyond the Box

Ho hum. Another game, another Carolina blow-out. The Heels have now won 8 games this season by 20 or more points, matching their total for the entirety of last season (only 5 came in the non-conference schedule).

Four Factors

For the second straight game, the Heels went into the locker room with a halftime lead of more than 30 points, which means, for the second straight game, the results of the second half were rendered almost entirely meaningless.   For the game, the Heels had very respectable offensive (127.5) and defensive (81.2) efficiencies, but in the first half they were off-the-charts.  UNC opened the game by scoring on its first 8 possessions and never looked back.  When the half ended, UNC had shot the ball to the tune of an incredible eFG% of 70.6 while turning the ball over in only 12.0% of their possessions, en route to an elite offensive efficiency of 142.5.

On the defensive end, Carolina was every bit as good, finishing the first half with a DE of 65.0.  The Heels held Monmouth to a relatively low eFG% of 40.6, thanks in large part to a first-half block% of 15.6, but where they really made their mark was on the defensive glass.  Monmouth missed 23 "live-ball" shots (21 FGs, 2 FTs) in the first half and 22 of those misses ended up in the hands of a Tar Heel, for an otherworldly defensive rebounding % (DR%) of 95.6.  Yes, UNC was much taller than Monmouth, but there is more to being an effective rebounding than just being tall, and yesterday, UNC demonstrated this in spades.

Statistical Highlights

  • This is only the 6th time since the start of the 2004 season that the Heels hit the century mark in consecutive games.  The 2005 team is the only team to do it in 3-straight, scoring 100+ in their last two non-conference games, and then again in their ACC opener.  Given BC's awful performance to date, it would not be surprising if this scenario plays out again.
  • Yesterday was only the second time under Roy Williams that UNC grabbed more than 90% of the possible defensive rebounds (DR%: 90.9) for an entire game.  The other occasion was in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, when the Heels grabbed 21 of the 23 rebounds on the defensive end against Air Force.
  • More rebounding numbers:  UNC now has 4 games this season in which they have grabbed 40 or more defensive rebounds.  In Roy's first 8 seasons at UNC, the Tar Heels had a combined total of 3 games in which they netted 40+ defensive rebounds.
  • UNC is currently holding its opponents to a field goal percentage of 37.6.  None of Roy Williams' previous 8 Carolina teams held their opponents under 40% for the entire season.

Beyond the Box: Player Impact Ratings

[table id=159 /]

If there was an award for the Heels non-conference Player of the Year, there has to be little question that it would go to John Henson, who notched a team-leading P.I.R. for the 8th time in UNC's first 15 games.  Much is made about Henson's defense, and rightfully so, as he has had 7 games this season with a block% over 10.0 and has blocked at least one shot in every game this season (and 36 of his last 37 games).  But Henson's improvement on the offensive end is starting to move towards the territory of historic.  Yesterday marked the 8th time this season that Henson has had a game with an ORtg greater than 120.0, the same number he had all of last season, and it moved his season ORtg to a very impressive 113.8.  For players that played significant minutes in the previous year, 10-point improvements in ORtg are very rare, and since Roy has been at UNC, it has only happened 3 times.  Tyler Zeller did it last season, improving by 13.3 points over a sophomore season in which he only played 17.4 minutes per game, but among players who started the prior year, the only two players to make 10-point jumps were Ty Lawson (11.5 points from sophomore to junior) and Sean May (15 point jump from sophomore to junior).  John Henson is currently looking at a jump of 15.3 points over last year's performance, made even more impressive when you consider that he was the only one of the players mentioned who started with an ORtg under 100.0.  It is really hard to overstate just how much he has improved.

Season P.I.R.

The cumulative impact ratings for each player can be found below.  A player’s average P.I.R., both for the season and the last five games only considers games in which the player officially logged at least 1 minute of game time.  The C.V. is a measure of variation; the smaller the percentage, the more consistent the player’s performance has been.  While it is not technically correct to use in this instance, because P.I.R. is an interval scale (it can go into the negative), it still has some value for the top-tier players, who will likely have a positive P.I.R. in every game.

[table id=160 /]