The Best (and Worst) UNC Performances vs. Wake Forest

The Best (and Worst) UNC Performances vs. Wake Forest

Similar to this piece on NC State, let’s take a look back at the Carolina-Wake rivalry since Roy Williams has been back in town. While the Heels have certainly gotten the better of the Deacs during the Williams era, it hasn’t been nearly as one-sided as the series with the Wolfpack. UNC is 12-5 against Wake Forest under Williams, and they’ve exceeded their expectations (based on the difference in seasonal KenPom efficiency margins between the teams) in eight of those contests. On average, the games have gone just as predicted, with the Heels outperforming their baseline by just a half-point per game (unlike the nearly 4-point per game difference versus NC State).

3 Best Williams-Era Performances vs. Wake Forest

1. @UNC 105, Wake Forest 72: February 22, 2014

  • Adjusted seasonal efficiency margin difference between teams: +13.5
  • Adjusted game efficiency margin: +40.07
  • Overperformance Score: +26.57
  • Six Heels scored in double-digits, as UNC posted a sweet 57.4/73.3/82.2 shooting split (FG%/3Pt%/FT%). Leslie McDonald hit 5-of-6 3s, while Marcus Paige connected on 3-of-5. In the paint, Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks combined to make 13 of 16 field goals.

2. @UNC 104, Wake Forest 67: February 10, 2007

  • Adjusted seasonal efficiency margin difference between teams: +24.5
  • Adjusted game efficiency margin: +41.05
  • Overperformance Score: +16.57
  • Games 2 and 3 on this list were from within a 2.5-week stretch during the 2007 season, when UNC beat an overmatched Wake team by a combined 65 points (192-127). In this one, the second game of the season series, Reyshawn Terry scored 23 points with a virtually flawless shooting line (7-8 from the field, 3-3 on 3s, 6-6 from the line). The Heels’ starting frontcourt of Terry/Brandan Wright/Tyler Hansbrough made 18 of its 21 shots from the field. No Carolina player logged more than 22 minutes and 14 Heels scored, as the bench was used early and often in this easy win.

3. UNC 88, @Wake Forest 60: January 24, 2007

  • Adjusted seasonal efficiency margin difference between teams: +24.5
  • Adjusted game efficiency margin: +40.71
  • Overperformance Score: +16.21
  • Once making the adjustments for pace and game location, the 2007 games against Wake Forest were almost identical in terms of performance above expectation. While UNC’s frontline dominated the Deacs in Chapel Hill, it was the freshman backcourt that starred in Winston-Salem. Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington combined for 33 points on efficient 13-of-20 shooting (including 4-9 on 3s). The Heels’ stingy defense held WFU to 32.2% shooting from the field, while forcing 19 turnovers. For Wake, only Kyle Visser (16 points, 5 rebounds) reached double-digits.

3 Worst Williams-Era Performances vs. Wake Forest

1. Wake Forest 82, @UNC 69: January 20, 2010

  • Adjusted seasonal efficiency margin difference between teams: -0.8
  • Adjusted game efficiency margin: -24.28
  • Underperformance Score: -23.48
  • While Wake Forest had a slightly better KenPom ranking then the Heels in 2010 (No. 58 vs. No. 61), the metrics certainly didn’t predict a 13-point road victory for the Demon Deacons. UNC’s backcourt was badly outplayed in this one: Drew/Ginyard/Strickland/McDonald combined for just 20 points on 7-30 shooting (4-16 on 3s), while Ish Smith and C.J. Harris had 40 points on 15-of-28 shooting. As a team, UNC made just 6 of its 26 3-point attempts.

2. @Wake Forest 95, UNC 82: January 15, 2005

  • Adjusted seasonal efficiency margin difference between teams: +7.9
  • Adjusted game efficiency margin: -11.71
  • Underperformance Score: -19.61
  • A couple of 14-1 (3-0 ACC) teams squared off in this high-profile showdown in Winston-Salem. In a battle of star point guards, Chris Paul (26 points on 18 FGAs, 8:1 A:TO, 5 steals) outplayed Raymond Felton (16 points on 18 FGAs, 5:2 A:TO, 3 steals). With Paul orchestrating Skip Prosser’s pick-and-roll heavy offense like a maestro, the Deacs posted an offensive efficiency of 123.4 They also knocked down all 32 of their free throws, which never hurts.

3. @Wake Forest 73, UNC 67: January 5, 2014

  • Adjusted seasonal efficiency margin difference between teams: +13.5
  • Adjusted game efficiency margin: -3.04
  • Underperformance Score: -16.54
  • Even on the road, the Heels were a substantial favorite over Jeff Bzdelik’s Demon Deacons, who would finish 17-16 (6-12 ACC) with a KenPom of 118. Once again in a loss to WFU, UNC’s guards let it down, as Paige and McDonald combined to make just 6 of 25 shots (including 2 of 15 3s). They also committed seven turnovers with only seven assists. The Heels lost despite an overwhelming 53-34 rebounding advantage in which UNC controlled both the offensive (OR%: 48.0) and defensive (DR%: 78.4) backboards.

Perhaps the most memorable Carolina-Wake game of the Roy era didn’t crack either of these lists. It was the triple-OT classic in 2004—Williams’s first season back—that the Demon Deacons won 119-114. Jawad Williams and Felton logged 50 and 48 minutes, respectively, but their double-doubles (17 points/12 rebounds for Williams; 22 points/11 assists for Felton) weren’t enough to secure the win. Wake had seven players in double-digits, including four with at least 18 points. The Deacs were led by 24 from Eric Williams and 20 from Justin Gray.

UNC vs. Expectations against Wake Forest

On average, Carolina’s been expected to win by 14.3 points / 100 in its 17 Williams-era games against Wake Forest. The Heels have actually won by an average of 14.8 points / 100 in those contests, an overperformance score of +0.50. UNC has exceeded its baseline expectations in 8 of those 17 games. Let’s break down those numbers a little further, splitting them out by venue and WFU coach:

  • In Chapel Hill:
    • Record: 6-2
    • Underperfomance Score: -0.90
    • Exceeded expectations: 3 times in 8 games (37.5%)
  • In Winston-Salem:
    • Record: 6-3
    • Overperformance Score: +1.75
    • Exceeded expectations: 5 times in 9 games (55.6%)
  • Against Skip Prosser:
    • Record: 4-2
    • Average adjusted seasonal efficiency margin difference: +12.0
    • Average adjusted game efficiency margin: +16.29
    • Overperformance Score: +4.31
    • Exceeded expectations: 4 times in 6 games (66.7%)
  • Against Dino Gaudio:
    • Record: 2-2
    • Average adjusted seasonal efficiency margin difference: +7.4
    • Average adjusted game efficiency margin: +2.26
    • Underperformance Score: -5.09
    • Exceeded expectations: 1 time in 4 games (25.0%)
  • Against Jeff Bzdelik:
    • Record: 4-1
    • Average adjusted seasonal efficiency margin difference: +20.2
    • Average adjusted game efficiency margin: +21.38
    • Overperformance Score: +1.22
    • Exceeded expectations: 2 times in 5 games (40.0%)
  • Against Danny Manning:
    • Record: 2-0
    • Average adjusted seasonal efficiency margin difference: +22.1
    • Average adjusted game efficiency margin: +20.55
    • Underperformance Score: -1.55
    • Exceeded expectations: 1 time in 2 games (50.0%)

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