By The Numbers: UNC's New Rotation
Everyone seems to agree that Carolina's new rotation--it's more than just a new starting lineup, it's also a dramatically shortened rotation--has worked. In general, it just looks like the Tar Heels are playing more effectively. The spacing is better, the shots look better, and the scores are higher.
But what do the numbers say? We put together the following table comparing a few key stats with the season broken into three distinct parts: the 23 games before the lineup switch, the 10 ACC games before the lineup switch and the three games since the lineup switch. A few thoughts after the table.
|Category||All games (old lineup)||ACC games (old lineup)||New lineup|
|Off. Reb. %||.367||.331||.347|
|Def. Reb. %||.701||.734||.713|
A few thoughts on what the chart does (and doesn't) show:
1. Carolina's overall field goal percentage has dropped...but at the same time they're taking more three-pointers--and shooting them just as efficiently. So the field goal percentage isn't really that much of a concern.
2. Carolina's defensive field goal percentage has declined quite a bit. Virginia bears a healthy responsibility for that. It will be interesting to see how that stat changes as the Tar Heels face some bigger teams (like NC State) that try to get lots of high percentage shots.
3. The free throw attempts per game might be the biggest story on the list. The Tar Heels are getting over six more charity tosses per game in ACC play than they were attempting with the old lineup. Now, the question becomes whether they're going to make those shots. P.J. Hairston, one of the team's best free throw shooters, has shown a knack for slashing to the rim and getting on the offensive boards, which should result in continued free throw opportunities.
4. Rebounding margin can sometimes be deceptive, which is why rebounding percentage can be very helpful--it measures the actual rebounding opportunities. Based on that stat, Carolina is actually rebounding better on the offensive glass than they were in the previous 10 confererence games. The defensive rebounding is down slightly, but it's probably not enough to offset the increased offense.
5. If you're wondering why it's felt like the Tar Heels have played at a faster tempo lately, just look at the steals and turnovers category. Carolina has nearly doubled its steals--lots of athletic, active hands in the passing lanes--while decreasing its turnovers.