Quantifying North Carolina’s Offense With and Without Kendall MarshallPosted by mpatton on March 20th, 2012
With Kendall Marshall‘s status looking more and more like he won’t play this weekend, I tried to project his impact using statistics to evaluate North Carolina‘s prognosis without him. Using play-by-play data from North Carolina’s athletic site and StatSheet.com, I charted the Tar Heels’ offensive efficiency with and without Marshall on the floor. I only used games against at-large NCAA Tournament teams since Dexter Strickland’s injury.
Unfortunately, there’s very little to be drawn from the data with Marshall out of the game. The issue is that Roy Williams has been playing his star point guard 35 minutes or more most games, leaving Stilman White with very few possessions. Sometimes that makes White look ineffective; sometimes it makes him look like a savant.
Obviously, he’ll be neither. North Carolina has enough talent to absorb a weak link, especially against Ohio. This isn’t a knock on White, but the Tar Heels start five McDonalds All-Americans with two more coming off the bench. Those are absurd shoes to fill, but the talent surrounding the backup guard will still be there. Roy Williams’ system will still be there, though I expect it to slow down significantly in the absence of experienced backups. I still expect North Carolina to beat Ohio, but it’s too early to predict the entire impact of Marshall’s injury. Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller may step into increased roles, showcasing a resilience that’s being forced on this team. Or the offense may look like a headless chicken, dribbling ceaselessly in the half court without a purpose. I expect much more of the former, but moments of the latter.
Below is the table of North Carolina’s offensive efficiencies with and without Marshall.
Somewhat interesting side note: Marshall struggled a lot against Virginia (relative to other teams), which exemplifies the Cavaliers’ solid defense as well as the pack-line’s strength at cutting off passing lanes.