Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

February 11, 2010

Now for the ACC’s truly important game

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 11:13 am

Last night in Chapel Hill Duke beat North Carolina 64-54 in a really ugly game that was watched first-hand by a lot of very important people because, after all, it was Duke-Carolina. That’s fine, but you should know that this Saturday’s game between the Blue Devils and Maryland in Durham is actually way, way more important in actual 2010 terms.

Showdown between the clear top two 
Through games of February 10, conference games only
Pace: possessions per 40 minutes
PPP: points per possession    Opp. PPP: opponent points per possession
EM: efficiency margin (PPP – Opp. PPP)

                     W-L   Pace    PPP    Opp. PPP   EM
1.  Duke             8-2   66.5    1.10     0.94   +0.16
2.  Maryland         6-2   69.4    1.10     0.94   +0.16
3.  Virginia         5-3   64.4    1.03     0.96   +0.07
4.  Virginia Tech    6-3   69.1    1.00     0.96   +0.04
5.  Wake Forest      7-3   69.2    1.01     0.99   +0.02
6.  Clemson          5-5   69.8    0.94     0.94    0.00
7.  Georgia Tech     5-5   68.9    0.99     1.00   -0.01
8.  Florida St.      5-5   67.7    0.98     1.00   -0.02
9.  BC               3-7   64.8    1.01     1.10   -0.09
10. North Carolina   2-7   70.3    0.97     1.06   -0.09
11. Miami            3-7   65.9    0.98     1.08   -0.10
12. NC State         2-8   67.7    0.98     1.08   -0.10

You could make a case that one of the single largest surprises of the season nationally has been Maryland’s shooting from the field. You could also make a case that this year’s Terrapins demonstrate the indirect and highly tenuous relationship between coaching and outcomes in basketball.

Last year the Terps ran a heavily Greivis Vasquez-centered offense and their shooting was awful from both sides of the arc in ACC play. Only Virginia was worse. In fact one year ago almost to the day the Washington Post ran the first installment in a 10,000-word series that might as well have been called “Gary Williams is Now a Really Bad Coach.” (The actual title, “Missed Shots” was much more apt than they knew.)

Now look. Maryland is running a heavily Greivis Vasquez-centered offense and their shooting in ACC play has been absolutely magnificent, particularly from beyond the arc. During last night’s Duke-UNC game I kept hearing what “a great job Gary Williams is doing with those kids.” What a difference, from one February to the next.  

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