View Full Version : GU vs UNC by the numbers

03-26-2009, 12:33 PM
Alright here's a statistical comparison between the two teams for tomorrow's matchup, according to kenpom.com, perceived weaknesses in red, strengths in bold(includes data from 2 NCAA tournament games each):

Overall Rank:
Gonzaga 6th
UNC 3rd

Offensive Stats:
Efficiency(points per 100 possessions): Gonzaga 118.9(4th), UNC 123.1(1st)
Effective FG%: Gonzaga 55.2%(5th) UNC 52.7 (48th)
Turnover %: Gonzaga 16.1%(6th) UNC 16.8(15th)
Off Reb %: Gonzaga 32.2(195th) UNC 40.2(9th)
FTA/FGA: Gonzaga 35.3%(200th) UNC 38.7%(108th)
3pt FG%: Gonzaga 39.8%(13th) UNC 37.4%(49th)
2pt FG%: Gonzaga 53.2%(22nd) UNC 51.4%(54th)
FT%: Gonzaga 71.5%(83rd) UNC 76.8% (10th)
Block %: Gonzaga 7.2%(64th) UNC 9.6%(228th)
Steal %: Gonzaga 7.7%(12th) UNC 9.7%(164th)

I'm sure everyone is shocked by this, but UNC's offense is GOOD. It's really good. They don't turn the ball over much, and they swarm the offensive glass like crazy, a serious problem for GU given our rebounding deficiencies this year. This team is #1 in offensive efficiency, fortunately we aren't too far behind at #4, likely helped by our effective FG% and our low turnover rate. UNC is better at getting to the line than GU, and they also hit about 5% more of their freethrows. Interestingly enough we shot up the rankings in FT% after those first two games. The lone outlier here for UNC is the percentage of shots they have blocked. At 9.6%, they have more shots blocked than 227 other teams. Given our lofty ranking in the defensive block %(18th), this is an advantage for us, but also one that would be difficult to exploit. You just can't force players to drive into the lane if they believe there is a good chance their shot will be altered or blocked by the D. GU also shoots the 3-ball quite well, although UNC isn't too shabby either at 37.4%.

Adjusted Defensive Rank:
Gonzaga 15th
UNC 27th

Defensive Stats:
Efficiency(points allowed per 100 possessions): Gonzaga 89.8(15th), UNC 91.4(27th)Effective FG%: Gonzaga 43.6%(5th) UNC 46.8%(69th)
Turnover %: Gonzaga 21.3%(119th) UNC 20.5%(155th)
Off Reb %: Gonzaga 31.2(104th) UNC 31.7%(122nd)
FTA/FGA: Gonzaga 29.2%(26th) UNC 24.4%(4th)
3pt FG%: Gonzaga 34.5%(181st) UNC 35.1%(223rd)
2pt FG%: Gonzaga 39.0%(1st) UNC 44.0%(33rd)
FT%: Gonzaga 69.0%(177th) UNC 69.1%(183rd)
Block %: Gonzaga 13.4%(18th) UNC 12.1%(38th)
Steal %: Gonzaga 10.7%(92nd) UNC 11.1%(72nd)

No surprise here, as neither team is adept at defending the deep ball. I didn't have this as a weakness for GU in my analysis for the Akron game, but we shot down about 30 spots or so after those two games. Amazingly enough, while both teams aren't good at defending 3s, both are very good at defending the interior, with GU allowing 39.0% on 2pt field goals, the best rate in the country. There really aren't any huge advantages for either team defensively, although GU does generate more turnovers. The rest of the numbers are essentially a wash.

All the numbers being so close really makes a game plan tough to decide upon, so I'll use a common opponent, Maryland. GU beat Maryland 81-59, and UNC split with them, losing 88-85 and winning 108-91. Since we're looking for ways for GU to win, I'll focus on Maryland's victory over UNC. At first glance it doesn't look pretty, considering Greivis Vasquez had to compile a triple double (35 pts, 11 Reb, 10 Ast) to pull out the W. But a closer look suggests there is a way to get by this offensive goliath. While UNC did outrebound the Terps 46 to 38 in this game, Maryland out-assisted UNC 18 to 5. We need to move the ball quickly, look for the open man. This is where our balance on offense becomes a big advantage for us. A solid portion of our points in this game may come from the perimeter, although with solid ball movement we should pick apart UNC's inconsistent D. Now here's the difficult part. Maryland held UNC to 37.7% shooting overall in this game. While we are adept at defending the interior, we MUST step up our 3pt defense. No way do we win this game if UNC is hot from outside, also evidence in the loss to Maryland, where they shot a paltry 5-19(26.3%) from 3. This is especially true in their hottest current player, Wayne Ellington. We MUST hold him to a below average shooting night. As some UNC fan posted in another thread, UNC is 49-0 in Ellington's career when he hits the 50% FG mark. I would suggest putting Micah on him initially. Finally, as far as the turnover game goes, this game was quite even for both teams (15 to 16), so if GU can force more turnovers than they give up, as the numbers suggest they will, it will be key in keeping the game close.

In conclusion, UNC should win this game. They have more overall talent and depth, along with the best offense in the entire country. There would be no shame in GU losing this game, but that does not mean we shouldn't fight to the death to come away with a victory. UNC is not invincible, though they are formidable. Everyone here remembers what happened on that fateful night in late 2006 when we not only came from behind in the first, but cruised in the 2nd half to victory over #2 ranked UNC in Madison Square Garden. The entire starting 5 for UNC were on the roster for that game, and I'm sure they have not forgotten. This may not bode well for us as the underdog here, since an underdog's biggest advantage, in my opinion, is being overlooked by their opponent. I don't think we'll be overlooked by much, if at all. We need to play like there's no tomorrow. Dive on the floor, be aggressive on D, hit your open shots! Realistically anyone on this team could go off tomorrow, so I won't try to predict the high scorer. There will be loads of offensive talent on the floor. Let's just hope for a huge game from the man of the last matchup, Josh Heytvelt.

Edit: GO GONZAGA!! G-O-N-Z-A-G-A!!!!

Nittany Tar Heel
03-26-2009, 12:55 PM
That blocked shot number is probably almost entirely attributable to Hansbrough. He plays through and into contact so much that he gets a lot of shots blocked. Most end up in a 5 foot radius from the FGA, but they're blocked shots none the less.

Also, I attended the Maryland game in question. That was just a completely bizarre game. It was over midway through the 2nd half and then we went completely berzerk and bungled the last 2 minutes and coughed up a 7-9 point lead. Vazquez was ridiculous; he scored their first 16-17 points and they got 3-point shooting from unexpected guys. The most shocking # was the 5 assists that was cited, which is abysmally low for a team that prides itself on assist/made FG ratio.