2009 UNC Tar Heels: Head of the Class | Sports
INDY Week's sports blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on | Add on  

Thursday, April 9, 2009

2009 UNC Tar Heels: Head of the Class

Posted by on Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 12:16 AM

The 2008-2009 college basketball season began with the national pundits crowning the North Carolina Tar Heels national champions, awarding them the first-ever unanimous No. 1 ranking in the preseason Associated Press poll. The Tar Heels were the head of the class, better than the middling field of competitors who could only hope to jockey for national runner-up.

On Monday evening, the Tar Heels brought Chapel Hill its fifth NCAA Championship. The manner in which they did left little doubt that they were the best team in the field.

They defeated every opponent by at least 12 points, trailing in the second half only to LSU. In the second halves of the other five games, no team came within five points of the Tar Heels.

Since the Heels so thoroughly dominated each and every opponent in the NCAA Tournament, it seems appropriate to compare the Heels successes to recent tournament champions—statistically of course. (The tempo-free statistics on Ken Pomeroy's site only reach back to 2004, so this comparison will unfortunately be somewhat short-sighted)

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

A quick glimpse at the final scores of the last six champions shows that only two were able to avoid close games entirely. The 2009 UNC team was the only one to win every game by double digits.

North Carolina didn't play the best offense or defense of the last six champions; those honors belong to the 2007 Florida Gators (123.3 OE) and the 2006 Florida Gators (89.4 DE). However, the Heels' efficiency margin, the difference between the offensive and defensive efficiency, was the highest among the group at 26.0. Since UNC posted the highest efficiency margin it is appropriate that they also posted the highest average victory margin of the six teams, nearly 20 points per game.

Within the four factors, one main statistic stands out about the Tar Heels' 2009 NCAA Championship. UNC ranked below average of the past champions on both sides of the ball for shooting (eFG%), rebounding (OR%) and free throws (FTR). The remaining factor, turnovers, is where the tournament was won.

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

North Carolina only turned the ball over on 13.7 percent of their offensive possessions while forcing turnovers on 20.8 percent of their opponents' possessions. At 75 possessions per game, by far the highest among recent tournament champs, that amounts to over five more turnovers forced than committed for the Heels.

Taking better care of the basketball and forcing more turnovers is what set this UNC team's NCAA tournament run apart from recent champions and is likely the main cause of the Heels' dominating wins. North Carolina played with both offensive and defensive intensity throughout the tournament, vindicating the experts by reaching their full potential and showing that they truly were the head of the class.

Tags: , ,

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Sports

Twitter Activity


Nice slander piece, bum. No one is forcing you or anyone else to watch him play. Grow up. You and …

by D1 on Grayson Allen Is Still a Dirtbag and Other Notes from a Strange ACC Semifinal (Sports)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

Nice slander piece, bum. No one is forcing you or anyone else to watch him play. Grow up. You and …

by D1 on Grayson Allen Is Still a Dirtbag and Other Notes from a Strange ACC Semifinal (Sports)

The article is laughable. It was written by a very obvious UNC fan. Grayson Allen is a competitive college athlete …

by Robert Hawkins on Grayson Allen Is Still a Dirtbag and Other Notes from a Strange ACC Semifinal (Sports)

Professor Clairborne is a hero and role model extraordinaire. I have enjoyed reading about his early journey as a student …

by Alfred Duckett on C.B. Claiborne on being Duke's first black basketball player (Sports)

The Week in Duke Hoops will come later this week.

by Jeffrey Billman on Down Go the Blue Devils! And the Pack! A Good Week in UNC Hoops. (Sports)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation