FYI: Dadgum Box Scores

Youโ€™re reading FYI: Dadgum Box Scores, random observations using every UNC box score since '03-04.

Published: December 8, 2017

Four Factor Friday: Dec. 8, 2017

It’s the first edition of Four Factor Friday for the 2017-18 season, and let’s take a look at Carolina’s performance after the first 10 games.

Wait, what are the four factors?

The four factors determine why a team wins or loses. The factors are measured both on offense and defense.

  1. Shooting:: measured using effective field goal percentage, accounts for a 3-pointer being worth more than 2-pointer. eFG% = (.5 * 3FGM + FGM) / FGA * 100

  2. Avoiding turnovers:: measured by what percent of a team’s possessions result in a turnover.

  3. Rebounds: measured using the percentage of offensive rebounds a team grabs on its missed shots and free throws. Defensive rebounding or preventing offensive rebounds is equally important.

  4. Getting to the foul line: measured using free throw rate, how often a team gets to the foul line, and keeps its opponent off the foul line. FTRate = Free Throw Attempts / Field Goal Attempts

After 10 games, here are game-by-game records based on these factors.

| When UNC has a . .  | its record is . . .|
|     Higher eFG%     |         7-0        |
|      Lower eFG%     |         2-1        |
|      Higher TO%     |         4-0        |
|      Lower TO%      |         4-1        |
|       Same TO%      |         1-0        |
|      Higher OR%     |         9-0        |
|      Lower OR%      |         0-1        |
|    Higher FTRate    |         8-1        |
|     Lower FTRate    |         1-0        |



Close your eyes, in September, what if I told you:

Would you have believed me?

No? Me either. But somehow all of these things are true.

Carolina has shot the ball well over 10 games. Its eFG% on offense is 55.3 percent.

The Tar Heels have attempted 656 total shots, made 325 total shots, and 75 of those 325 shots are made three-pointers.

eFG% = (.5 * 75 + 325) / 656 = .5526 * 100 = 55.26

This mark is high compared to previous seasons under Roy Williams:

|  Since '03-04  |  Current |   Best   |   Worst  |
| eFG% (offense) |   55.3   |   56.0   |   48.0   |
| Games (season) | 10 ('18) | 37 ('05) | 37 ('10) |

Only one team has posted a season eFG% higher than 55.3 percent. The 2005 National Champions eFG% was 56 percent.

So it’s not likely this mark will remain this high. And in the first 10 games, there are extreme performances of good and bad.

The Heels posted their lowest eFG% (25.4 percent) in a game since 2002 or maybe ever in a 18-point loss to Michigan State. The since 2002 is only because that’s how far back Ken Pomeroy’s ratings go. It was the worst shooting performance in Carolina history. History!

And just a few games later, Carolina made 16-of-22 three-point shots in a 43-point win over Western Carolina. That’s the best three-point shooting percentage with at least 20 attempts in program history.

Brandon Robinson (2), Luke Maye (2), Kenny Williams (3), Andrew Platek (3) and Jalek Felton (4) all made multiple three-point shots in the win over Western Carolina.

The best shooting performance measured by eFG% was against Tulane. Carolina registered an eFG% of 69.8 percent, good for ninth eFG% best since 2002. The Tar Heels made 33 of 46 two-point fields, and 5-of-12 three-point field goals.

This is much more sustainable than shooting 16-of-22 from three like against Western Carolina. The ball movement in the Tulane game lead to several easy baskets:

Heels moving the ball on offense.

Maye touch pass to Huffman for the dunk.

— Dadgum Box Scores (@dadgumboxscores) December 3, 2017

And, of course, the competition is different too. The point is the Tar Heels aren’t as bad of shooting team as they showed against Michigan State, and not as good as shooting team as they were against Tulane or Western Carolina.

On an individual level, the 2015 recruiting class might be the most impressive player development this coaching staff has ever pulled off. Kenny Williams and Luke Maye have been a dynamite duo.

Both have individual eFG% above 60 percent. Williams is shooting 55 percent from three, and Maye is shooting 59 percent on two-point shots and 48 percent from three.

Defense (eFG%)

Carolina’s opponents have an eFG% of 48.6 percent.

Opponents have made 257 of 641 shots, and 109 of those shots are three-pointers.

eFG% = (.5 * 109 + 257) / 641 = .486 * 100 = 48.6

Here is how it compares to other season since ‘03-04:

|  Since '03-04  |  Current |   Best   |   Worst  |
| eFG% (defense) |   48.6   |   45.0   |   50.8   |
| Games (season) | 10 ('18) | 38 ('12) | 30 ('04) |

This mark is similar to the last couple seasons when the Tar Heel opponents posted an eFG% of 48.1 percent (both the 15-16 and 16-17 seasons).

Bucknell (54.8 percent) shot the most effective, while Western Carolina (42 percent) turned in the worst effective field goal percentage in a game thus far.

Despite Michigan State dominating Carolina, the Spartans eFG% was slightly above the season mark at 49.1 percent. A couple facts from that game:

The loss to Michigan State had less to do with the Spartans shooting, and more to do with Michigan State snagging a lot of offensive rebounds (more on that below).

Should Carolina be concerned about its defense?

Yes, for a few reasons:

When Carolina shoots poorly itself, can the Tar Heels rely on its defense to win?

This was one of the major pieces of the 2017 Championship run. The Tar Heels posted a lower eFG% than their opponent 19 times last season, and won 12 of those 19 games.

The margin of error of that championship team was silly. It could win ugly, pretty, and lucky. Because of its defense.

Turnover percentage


Carolina has turned it over on 17.2 percent of their possessions in 10 games. This rate is the highest its been since the 2014-15 season when the Tar Heels posted a 18.2 turnover percentage.

Here is how it compares to the best and worst mark under Roy Williams:

|  Since '03-04  |  Current |   Best   |   Worst  |
|  TO% (offense) |   17.2   |   15.4   |   22.7   |
| Games (season) | 10 ('18) | 40 ('16) | 31 ('06) |

The nature of Carolina’s style of play will lead to some turnovers. The Tar Heels like to run, and sometimes this leads to turnovers in transition. The coaching staff can likely live with some of these turnovers.

For example, this Kenny Williams turnover trying to get out on the break:


But Carolina needs to eliminate some of the turnovers outlined here by Adrian Atkinson (@FreeportKid).

Most TOs / 40 by Type through 9 Games:

Ballhandling: Woods (1.04), Felton (0.72)
Travels: Huffman (1.53), Brooks (0.75)
Passing: Manley (2.18), Felton (2.17), Pinson (1.78)
Off. Fouls: Brooks (1.25), Manley (1.09)
Catching: Brooks (1.25), Manley (1.09)

— Adrian Atkinson (@FreeportKid) December 6, 2017


Opponents are turning it over on 17.6 percent of their possessions. This number isn’t on the mark with typical Carolina teams.

Here is how it compares to the best and worst mark under Roy Williams:

|  Since '03-04  |  Current |   Best   |   Worst  |
|  TO% (defense) |   17.6   |   23.6   |   17.7   |
| Games (season) | 10 ('18) | 30 ('04) | 38 ('15) |

Carolina has only recorded a defensive turnover percentage lower than 18 percent once in a full season under Roy Williams. That was in the 2014-2015 season (17.7 percent).

Somewhat of a surprise is the best defensive turnover percentage was against Michigan State. The Spartans turned it over on 33 percent of their possessions.

The lowest turnover percentage by an opponent comes from Davidson. The Wildcats turned it over only on 9 percent of their possessions.

Turnover percentage is sometimes a misleading stat. It’s likely equal parts of good defense and bad offense by the opponent, so keep that in mind.

It will be interesting to see how Carolina’s turnover percentage changes with more gifted offensive teams looming on the schedule.


When Carolina has the ball

Offensive rebounding is the staple of any Roy Williams team. It’s what the Tar Heels do better than most teams, and it’s how they’re able to win a lot of games. The backboards are the priority.

When Carolina misses a shot or free throws, its rebounding 36.6 percent of its misses. This is the lowest since the 2012-13 season of 34.6 percent.

The mark isn’t poor. It’s still better than most Division-I teams. It’s just not as high as its been in the past because Carolina was outrageously good at snagging offensive boards.

Here is how it compares to the best and worst mark under Roy Williams:

|  Since '03-04  |  Current |      Best      |   Worst  |
|  OR% (offense) |   36.6   |      41.3      |   34.6   |
| Games (season) | 10 ('18) | 40 ('17, '08)  | 36 ('13) |

Take this example.

Last season, Carolina rebounded lower than 35 percent of its misses 11 times in 40 total games.

This season, in 10 games, Carolina has rebounded less than 35 percent of its misses 5 times already.

Now, some of this is noise. In 4 of those 5 games, the Tar Heels have an eFG% of 55 percent or higher, meaning there wasn’t a ton of misses to rebound.

So what about rebound margin?

A lot of people will point at Michigan State’s 52 rebounds to Carolina’s 36 rebounds, or the rebound margin of -16 for the Tar Heels.

Don’t do that. Rebounding margin isn’t the whole story. I’ll spare you a detailed explanation, but David Hess explains why. Ken Pomeroy explained this too recently (sorry for the paywall).

Do this instead. Carolina had its worst shooting night in history against Michigan State. The Tar Heels missed 46 shots and 10 free throws. With a ton of opportunities to rebound misses, Carolina rebounded only 28 percent of its misses.

When its opponent has the ball

This is somewhat of a surprise too. Carolina opponents are grabbing rebounds on their misses only 21.4 percent of the time. Small sample size alert, but the defensive rebounding percentage of 21.4 percent is the best ever under Roy Williams.

Here is how it compares to the best and worst mark under Roy Williams:

|  Since '03-04  |  Current |   Best   |   Worst  |
|  DR% (defense) |   21.4   |   25.0   |   32.0   |
| Games (season) | 10 ('18) | 40 ('17) | 30 ('04) |

It’s only 10 games, and a lot of the opponents have been a little more perimeter oriented (see Davidson, Michigan). So this mark isn’t likely to hold up, but if Carolina can keep opponents off the glass, that’s a massive component to them winning games.

Back to the rebound margin argument above from the Michigan State game. The Spartans rebounded 40 percent of their missed shots. Almost double the total for opponents on the season.

Offensive boards like this one that ended in a made three-point shot were discouraging:


While the rebound margin of -16 is part of the story from that loss to Michigan State, the percentages tell a more complete story.

This is one of those things to keep an eye as the season continues with stronger competition.

Free throw rate


Attempts are more important than makes with this statistic. Volume over efficiency. Because over time, the more free throw attempts, the more opportunity for makes.

Carolina has attempted 223 free throws to 656 total shots. Good for a FTRate of 34. This is on par with last season’s FTRate of 34.3.

FTRate = 223 / 656 = .3399 x 100 = 34

Here is how it compares to the best and worst mark under Roy Williams:

|  Since '03-04  |  Current |   Best   |   Worst  |
|  FTR (offense) |   34.0   |   44.2   |   28.2   |
| Games (season) | 10 ('18) | 37 ('05) | 36 ('13) |

Luke Maye (45) and Joel Berry II (42) lead Carolina in free throw attempts. And yes volume is important, but so is making the free throws.

The Tar Heels shoot 70 percent from the line as a team. Maye started the year shooting 13-of-27 (48 percent) from the line. Since that start, Maye is 13-of-18 (72 percent).


Carolina’s defensive free throw rate is 21.1. Opponents have attempted 135 free throws and 641 total shots.

The 21.1 rate on the defensive end is also the best ever under Roy Williams. The 2011-12 team recorded a 21.8 rate. Yes, please note it has only been 10 games, so this likely won’t hold up either.

Here is how it compares to the best and worst mark under Roy Williams:

|  Since '03-04  |  Current |   Best   |   Worst   |
|  FTR (defense) |   21.1   |   21.8   |    41.4   |
| Games (season) | 10 ('18) | 38 ('12) |  34 ('14) |

Opponents are not finding their way to the foul line thus far, which is a positive for Carolina. Roy Williams has always said he wants to make more free throws than his opponents attempt.

So is that happening through 10 games?

You’re dadgum right it is. Carolina has made 156 free throws and their opponents have attempted 135 free throws.

Even happened in the Michigan State debacle too. Carolina made 14 free throws, and Michigan State attempted 13 free throws.

Where do we go from here?

Carolina has extreme good and bad shooting performances. It’s defense can improve, and the biggest reason for Carolina’s 9-1 start might be keeping opponents off the foul line and the offensive boards.

The Tar Heels have 3 more non-conference tilts before ACC play, including a true-road game at Tennessee on December 17. The competition is going to be a lot better, and the team might look different too over the next 10 games.

Seventh Woods is out indefinitely. Cameron Johnson is expected to return soon. And the debut of Cameron Johnson might be the plot twist of the season.

Because Johnson has never played for Carolina, but he’s not a freshman. He’s a transfer that has torched the Tar Heels (6-of-9 from 3) in the past.

He’s a 6’8” wing that can shoot. And @FreeportKid provides a good example of how he might plug in:

UNC has used this roll-and-replace action to create several clean 3s for Maye this year. This version will work better with Cam as the replacing wing rather than Theo.

— Adrian Atkinson (@FreeportKid) November 27, 2017

This team has been fun to watch through 10 games.

Maybe it’s the lingering euphoria of winning the whole thing last year?

Or the rewarding way it feels to watch Kenny Williams and Luke Maye play so well?

Or the freshmen contributing early or the nostalgia of watching a player with Felton on the back of his jersey find his way to the hoop?

Who knows?

Carolina has at least 21 games left. Here’s hoping the next 21 games are as fun as the last 10.

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