It jumped off the screen in North Carolina’s upset defeat to No. 7 seed Texas A&M: The Aggies were bigger than the Tar Heels, and dominated inside.
According to the NCAA, Duke is the tallest team in the NCAA Tournament, in terms of average height; Texas A&M checked in at No. 58. However, if weighted for minutes played, Billy Kennedy’s club is the sixth tallest team in the nation, per KenPom.
The TAMU frontline of DJ Hogg (6-foot-9), Robert Williams (6-foot-10) and Tyler Davis (6-foot-10) got whatever it wanted against UNC basketball. Here’s a quick check at just how productive those three were in Sunday’s win.
Paint about it, UNC Basketball
Texas A&M shot 51.7 percent from the field — with an effective shooting rate of 60 percent. That’s the third highest effective rate UNC’s defense has allowed all season. On non-post-up possessions around the hoop, A&M went 16-of-25 (64 FG%), per Synergy Sports. To the surprise of no one: Davis, Williams and Hogg led the way.
According to Synergy, that trio was a combined 11-of-13 (84.6 FG%) on non-post-up attempts at the basket. Davis was especially dominant: 6-of-8. Williams, a projected top-20 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, and Hogg went 5-of-5.
All of this came against a UNC defense that, per Synergy, ranks 28th nationally in defending these types of attempts: 1.03 points per possessions, 50.4 percent shooting.
On post-up attempts, Texas A&M was 8-of-10 (80 FG%) — with Williams and Davis driving the pace care. Those two went 6-of-7 (85.7 FG%) on post-ups.
North Carolina had issues defensively this season, especially when it came to defending the three-point line. The Heels, however, did mostly well defending the post, which makes A&M’s performance even more impressive. Opponents shot 46.3 percent on post-ups against UNC, per Synergy, and just 45.3 percent on two-point attempts — No. 20 in the nation.
“Do not go in there!”
UNC basketball found airspace unfriendly on the other side of the floor, too. The Aggies blocked eight shots — or 17 percent of the two-point field goal attempts North Carolina put up on Sunday.
Paced by Davis (three blocks) and Williams (two blocks), Texas A&M ranks eighth nationally in block rate: 15.4 percent, according to KenPom.
North Carolina had just 11.1 percent of its two-point attempts rejected this season, per KenPom. So this second round upset isn’t a crazy outlier; however, it’s certainly above the team’s rate for the 2017-18 campaign.