Expanded Analysis: Miami 87, UNC 61
1. After Saturday's loss, Carolina now has three losses of 18 points or more this season, and all four ACC losses by at least eight points. But yes, it could be worse: the 2009-10 team had an incredible ten regular season losses of at least nine points, and that team also dropped a stunning eight ACC games by at least eight points. That 2010 club by far owns the dubious record for most blowout losses in a season in the Roy Williams era. The current team now ranks second.
2. One of the primary culprits for those big losses is a consistent pattern of slow starts. The Tar Heels have not led at the first media timeout of any road game, and have trailed by a combined score of 81-44 at the first road stoppage (which comes at the first dead ball under the 16:00 mark) this season.
That's a troublesome statistic going into Cameron Indoor Stadium on Wednesday, where Duke makes a habit of playing with supreme emotion from the opening tip. Last week, the Blue Devils raced to a 25-6 lead over NC State in the first 7:41 at Cameron. The easiest solution could be to try a different starting lineup; that's not out of the realm of possibility for Wednesday night and is surely something Roy Williams will be asked about in today's ACC teleconference and tonight's radio show (7 p.m., Tar Heel Sports Network) with Jones Angell.
3. Jackson Simmons continues to be an offensive rebounding machine. Against Miami, the quartet of James Michael McAdoo, Desmond Hubert, Joel James and Brice Johnson collected a combined three offensive rebounds in 60 minutes of playing time. Simmons, meanwhile, grabbed two offensive boards in just 13 minutes.
In conference play, Simmons is getting an offensive rebound every 7.5 minutes that he's on the court. That's by far the best ratio on the team (Brice Johnson is next with an offensive rebound for every 9.9 minutes played against ACC competition). On a team that sometimes struggles to find an offensive groove, Simmons's contributions on the boards are a valuable way to get a second scoring chance--and often an easy put-back opportunity.
To put Simmons's efforts into an ACC-wide context, consider this chart of the ACC's ten leading rebounders in conference games, and their minutes per offensive rebound:
|Richard Howell||NC State||7.3|
|Devin Thomas||Wake Forest||8.0|
|James Michael McAdoo||Carolina||12.7|
|Ryan Anderson||Boston College||12.8|
|C.J. Leslie||NC State||24.3|