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It's a numbers game: some analytics behind the ACC's 2014-15 season

The ACC had the most teams in this year's NCAA tournament. Here, we look at the numbers and analytics on the success ACC teams had this past season.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Was the defense good or the offense sub par? The ‘half full' approach here says it was in the defense. The Atlantic Coast Conference featured some outstanding play on the defense. Not just a case of NCAA finalist Notre Dame excelling on that end.

There was some tough defense on display in places other than South Bend. A tempo free look at the ACC follows. Only conference games are factored in to arrive at the final figures. Numbers courtesy of bbstate.com

EM            Record

Notre Dame                  23               15-1

Florida State                 20               14-2

Louisville                       10               12-4

Duke                              10               11-5

North Carolina              6                 10-6

Syracuse                        4                 11-5

Miami                              3                 8-8

Pitt                                   0                 9-7

NC State                        -2                7-9

Virginia                           -3                7-9

Georgia Tech                -3                7-9

Wake Forest                 -13              2-14

Boston College            -15              5-11

Virginia Tech                 -17              1-15

Clemson                        -28              1-15

The defense:

The numbers bear out how strong the defenses were. It was not simply a case of looking at the offensive efficiencies. That measure tells us a lot. A closer look in a few other categories reveal how strong the league was on defense. Also, what aspects, forcing turnovers or forcing poor shots, of the defenses stood out. The specifics.

One team (Notre Dame) finished with an eFG percentage over 50%. The Irish burned the nets at a 53.2%. The Irish also had the highest TS percentage (which incorporates free throws) at  57.1%. Again, only one third (5 teams) in the conference hit 50% or higher. In the turnover department, 11 of the 15 teams were forced into a 20% or higher TO rate. The ‘leader' of this pack of dubious distinction was Wake Forest at 29.2%.

Pitt was the leader in eFG defense at 40.1%. Runner up was Florida State at 41.1 while Notre Dame checked in at 42%. All outstanding figures and with the Panthers, that defensive performance from the field went a long way to explaining their 9-7 ACC record.

Final note on defense....Another indicator of sound defense is the ability to keep offenses off the foul line. FT rate divides free throw attempts by field goal attempts. Not one team had a FT rate of 20% (or better). The leader was the leader in offensive efficiency, Notre Dame at a rate of 17.9.

Fastest pace:

North Carolina             78.4

Florida State                 75.1

Wake Forest                 74.2

Wake Forest struggled with two ACC wins. North Carolina and the runner up Seminoles thrived in the faster tempo.

Most Deliberate:

Virginia Tech                66.8

Clemson                        69.7

Virginia                         69.8

Slower was not necessarily better. The bottom two teams in the conference had the most deliberate pace. Virginia, over .500 overall, still finished break even in conference play.

The ACC Championship:

Notre Dame        71     Florida State       58

Fitting the top two seeds collided to decide the conference championship. The pace was favorable for both as Florida State had 74 possessions to the 70 of the Irish. The Notre Dame defense was outstanding limiting the Seminoles to an efficiency of 79  while their offense clicked with a 102.

Key factors were the Irish limiting the Seminoles to 42% eFG shooting. Muffet McGraw's champions also extended a few possessions showing a 35-19% advantage on offensive rebounding percentage.