North Carolina entered Wednesday night’s tilt with Michigan with a truly lights-out offense.
Top-5 in efficiency offense per Ken Pomeroy. Long athletes snaring offensive rebounds on nearly 40 percent of misses. A tempo that can only be described as ludicrous speed (No. 2 nationally at 13 seconds a possession).
40 minutes later, another prolific attack was blown to smithereens en route to an 84-67 Wolverine victory.
The new maxim in college basketball: expect to produce a lot less against Luke Yaklich’s No. 1 ranked efficiency defense.
Whether it’s points per possession, overall points per game, or shooting percentage, teams average far below their season averages against the Wolverines. The game-by-game numbers:
- Norfolk State — .32 points per possession less, 11 percent less on twos, eight percent on threes and 25 less points overall.
- Holy Cross — .43 points per possession less, 17 percent less on twos, 10 percent on threes and 29 less points overall.
- Villanova — .34 points per possession less, 19 percent less on twos, 13 percent on threes and 29 less points overall.
- George Washington — .11 points per possession less, five percent less on twos, 6.5 percent more on threes and just two less points overall.
(Note: John Beilein inserted reserves with 10 minutes left in a blowout.)
- Providence — .25 points per possession less, 15 percent less on twos, 24 percent on threes and 26 less points overall.
- Chattanooga — .11 points per possession less, nine percent less on twos, 10 percent more on threes and 15 less points overall.
- North Carolina — .23 points per possession less, 14 percent less on twos, four percent less on threes and 29 less points overall.
On average, Yaklich’s defense yields .25 less points per possession and over 22 overall points less a game. Opponents also sputter to 13 percent less on two-pointers and six percent less on treys.
Performances like these continue the defensive dominance that fueled last year’s NCAA Tournament run.
Michigan has won 21 of its last 22 games dating back to last season, with 16 of those wins by double-digits. They’ve allowed more than one point per possession just four times during that stretch.
Wolverines’ defense is just on another level right now.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) November 29, 2018
Anyway you slice it statistically, the Wolverines boast elite stoppers. Nobody is getting off good shoots, as the defense yields only 38 percent in effective field goal percentage.
On-ball defense from the likes of Zavier Simpson and Charles Matthews are making guards and wings uncomfortable. Should they manage to get into the lane, 7-foot-1 Jon Teske and his nationally No. 53 block rate is about to affect their shot.
Against the Tar Heels, he swatted five shots.
Speaking of Teske, he’s leading the charge in cleaning up missed attempts, snagging defensive boards at a 23.5 percent rate (No. 41 in the country). It’s a shared effort, with only Isaiah Livers sneaking into the top-500 nationally in defensive rebounding rate.
The perimeter defenders run shooters off the three-point line, ranking No. 13 in deep attempts allowed at 29 percent.
Lastly, the Wolverines don’t foul, only sending people to the charity stripe 19 percent of the time. This is the third-best mark in the country, and a full 15 percentage points below the national average.
With Michigan pulling away in the second half, UNC head coach Roy Williams starting making a face like he sucked an extra sour lemon.
This group will do that to you.