Talk hoops all year long in Luke Winn's blog, a journal of commentary, news and reader-driven discussions about the college game.
2/23/2007 01:57:00 PM
Ty Lawson is the speedy guard behind UNC's secondary break.
Kevin C. Cox/WireImage
Grant Wahl's must-read feature on North Carolina's secondary break (from this week's SI) got me wondering how, exactly, this Heels team stacks up against Roy Williams' previous three squads in Chapel Hill. Luckily, what Ken Pomeroy calls the "Modern Era" -- the point at which he started tracking full pace and efficiency stats -- began at the same time Roy returned to his alma mater, so we have a full plate of data available:
What we learn is: • This, at least according to the adjusted tempo figures, is Roy's fastest team ever at UNC. It's more than two possessions per game faster than last year's squad (credit the Tywon Lawson Effect) and just slightly speedier than the '04-05 team that won the national title. • It's close, but still somewhat behind the Felton/May/McCants team in offensive efficiency. There's a 0.035 points-per-possession difference between the two, which at Carolina's pace equates to approximately 2.6 points per game. • The '06-07 team is immensely better on defense than any of its predecessors. Crusty analysts who rely on points-per-game stats always focus on UNC's scoring power, but this team, secondary break and all, is actually higher-ranked nationally in defensive efficiency than it is on offense. • The debate over whether UNC is a title contender has to come down to intangibles -- particularly, doubts that a freshman point guard can carry them through the tournament, or worries over the lapses they've had against NC State and Virginia Tech (twice). Because statistically, these Heels are right in line with Roy's first national champs.
The '05 team had a corp of about 6-7 players that had been playing together for 3 years, then add Marvin Williams and you have a championship.
This group could win, don't get me wrong. I think they're the best team in the nation when they're on. But the inexperience rears its ugly head against certain teams with experienced guards (VaTech, NC State, Gonzaga). I feel like they could put on one of the most impressive displays ever in the tournament, blowing most teams out, or they could have a bad shooting night one night and stuggle. Who knows?
Ty Lawson has certainly sped up the UNC attack and so has Quentin Thomas when in the game. Bobby Frasor's foot injury has limited his speed but that has not kept Coach Williams from primarily using Frasor as the back-up. One has to wonder if Frasor (undoubtedly one of the most important pieces of last years suprisingly successful group) is actually slowing down the Heels when he comes in. I would not dare to pressume to know more than the Coach with the highest winning percentage in the country, but it appears from this fan's perspective that this Run & Gun team plays better with QT than Bobby Frasor's slower pace...and that the minutes that Frasor is taking at the PG position could keep the Heels from being the fastest ever
I am just not so certain that the "Experience" factor matters much any more. These kids coming in as freshmen have played in front of the national headlines for years and are not really fazed when they step into the college headlights. UNC is just so talented. Reyshawn Terry is really the key. When he is playing well, they seem unbeatable, but when he is not, they are. Against NC State, Williams only played him 17 minutes, barely in the second half because he was having a bad game, and the game went from a tie to a 19 point blow out. We will see...
Carolina has all the talent to win the NCAA tournment this year, however; their lack of experience may be an issue for them this year. The other deciding factor may also be which region they play and will they be a number 1 seed. Currently ranked number 5 in the nation, a number 1 seed may go a long way towards advancing to the big dance. If this teams stays together, which is virtually unheard of these days as players look to the NBA. This team potentially could have the makings of winning perhaps 2 titles in 3 years.
The heels are young, this is true. It seems to me when they play in the big games (Ohio St., Arizona, Duke) they look more like juniors and seniors. If they can play with that kind of passion in the tourney, they will be cutting down the nets. I actually hope its the heels vs. the gators in the finals, then the nation will see just how good the heels really are. Go Heels..... Kevin NC
The key to the Heels going far in the big dance is 3-point shooting. Shooters like Ellington, Lawson, Miller, and Green have to make baskets. In every loss Carolina hasn't shot very well from long range.
Though QT does have better footspeed than Frasor, his career has been marked by a parent inability to take care of the ball. Most UNC fans cheer when he's in the game for 5-10 possessions and doesn't give the ball up twice. He is normally a major liability, best used last year as a specialist to guard a fast point guard or break a press with his speed. Now that UNC has Lawson to do that he's less valuable to the team.
Too bad in big games Roy puts the breaks on down the stretch and coaches like the choke artist wanna run the four corners offense and hold the ball for 8 minutes sissy that he is. At the under 8 timeout he put the brakes on last night up 10 vs. MD and lost. Thanks Roy, my boys needed that win. Keep coaching like a punk and you will never beat Gary when it counts. Weeee'rrreeeee baaaaaaaaacccckkkkk!