The Tar Heels are now 20 games into the season with a record of 16-4. Let's look at how the numbers compare to same point last season.
|Points per game||75.6||79.3|
|Adjusted Offensive Efficiency||110.1||114.9|
|Adjusted Defensive Efficiency||94.5||92.3|
Some of these numbers are improvements over the 13-7 team of last season and some are virtually the same. The three point shooting is the same as is the defensive rebounding rate. However the key difference is the offensive rebounding rate which is a full 5% better. That is likely the supporting factor for the offensive efficiency being nearly 5 points higher. UNC's defense is slightly better though it should be noted FSU's Xavier Rathan-Mayes blasted a gaping hole in UNC's defensive efficiency. That number could bounce back.
UNC's free throw shooting is much improved over last season at this stage with the Heels shooting 69%. The problem is UNC doesn't see the free throw line nearly as much as last season. So when UNC struggled at the line they went to the line more than they do now when the shooting is better. Style of play is a factor there, especially less James Michael McAdoo who aggressively drew contact. Also of note here is opposing teams might be less inclined given the better FT shooting.
Within the context of the current season there are some interesting shifts from UNC after 10 games to UNC after 20.
|10 gms||20 gms|
|Points per game||80.0||79.3|
|Adjusted Offensive Efficiency||108.8||114.9|
|Adjusted Defensive Efficiency||90.0||92.3|
UNC has seen a significant improvement in its offensive efficiency from mid-December to now going from 108.8 to 114.9. The defense has slipped but again what happened vs FSU is a factor there. The three point shooting is somewhat improved but still not a strength. The biggest shift is in the defensive rebounding. After UNC struggled on that end early in the season, it has moved closer to respectability.
Obviously the offensive improvement is rooted in improved play by certain individuals.
|10 gms||20 gms||10 gms||20 gms||10 gms||20 gms||10 gms||20 gms|
Marcus Paige isn't quite up to last season's levels but his numbers have been creeping in the right direction. His offensive efficiency and FG% have improved over the past ten games. Much of Paige's FG% improvement has come inside the arc with his 2P% up to 39.2% while his three point shooting has moved closer to his 2013-14 level at 38.1%. Ideally, if Paige's numbers can continue to rise at this rate plus an additional uptick in his three point shooting, he would be hitting his stride at the right time of the season.
UNC has seen improvement across the board in the offensive numbers with the two notable dips among key players being J.P. Tokoto dropping from 70% to 62% at the line and Justin Jackson suffering a similar drop on free throws doing from 81% to 70%. Jackson's numbers outside of that have ticked upward and he is second behind Meeks in offensive efficiency among players with at around 20% usage(Jackson is at 19.9). Brice Johnson was floundering a bit 10 games ago but is up to 109.4 on OE and up to 55% from the floor. Kennedy Meeks' numbers have dropped but again, his numbers were really impressive and have settled into being just plain impressive.
The key for the Tar Heels going forward is to see continued improvement in these numbers. UNC's offense has been the difference between winning and losing. The Tar Heels' four losses have been marred by inconsistent offensive outings or outright poor shooting. The better the offensive numbers get, the more viable UNC is going forward as the season moves to the most critical phase.