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Who’s trending up (and down) for UNC

North Carolina’s Joel Berry (2) and Kenny Williams force a turnover by Clemson’s Marcquise Reed during the second half on Tuesday.
North Carolina’s Joel Berry (2) and Kenny Williams force a turnover by Clemson’s Marcquise Reed during the second half on Tuesday. rwillett@newsobserver.com

Plus/minus is not a perfect stat, but it does give a broad idea of the kind of defensive effectiveness an individual player had.

When Cam Johnson said after the Clemson win on Tuesday that he had received an “F” grade for his performance at Notre Dame, I wasn’t exactly surprised. Johnson was a minus-7 in 30 minutes against Notre Dame. Given UNC won by a point, that negative number stands out.

Conversely, Johnson was a plus-7 in 28 minutes in the home win over Clemson on Tuesday.

Again, plus/minus isn’t the end-all, be-all, but it does give you a snapshot of who had a good game defensively and who didn’t.

Here’s the plus/minus breakdown from Tuesday’s game:

Kenny Williams was a plus-11. He was matched up with Clemson guard Marcquise Reed. Reed scored 15 of his 21 points during Clemson’s torrid shooting stretch in the second half when as a team it made 15 straight shots.

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North Carolina’s Kenny Williams (24) drives to the basket against Clemson’s Aamir Simms (25) and Mark Donnal (5) on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

That should give you an idea of how good Williams was in the first half on Reed.

Also of note, freshman guard Jalek Felton was a minus-4 in 3 minutes in the first half. Felton had a turnover on his first possession, which led Roy Williams to go back to senior guard Joel Berry, who was an incredible plus-14 in 36 minutes.

The way Williams used Berry and Kenny Williams was more like an NCAA tournament game than a regular-season game. That should give you an idea of what Williams thinks of the Tar Heels’ record home winning streak over the Tigers.

Five Tar Heels score in double figures during win over Clemson on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.

As far as the lineup combinations go, that was the fewest substitutions (six) Williams had made in a half this season.

The starting lineup, after being outscored in its first two games together (wins over Boston College and Notre Dame) was a plus-7 (34-27) in a season-high 15 minutes and 4 seconds together.

The starting group, Williams’ version of small ball, was outrebounded (14-10) for the second straight game.

The full game lineup combinations:

Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

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