March 20, 2018

And the Best Three Point Shooting Team of the Sub-Regional Was?

By Warren Grimes

If you watched the games on TV, you could have no doubt about the answer to this question. The commentators, who were quite knowledgeable and balanced overall, could not say enough about Florida Gulf Coast University and its national record for long range bombing. The Eagle fans favorite T-shirt ("Raining Threes") was mentioned too many times to count.

And yes, it is true, midway through the fourth quarter, FGCU did in fact break the national season record for the number of converted three point shots. Against Stanford alone, FGCU launched a mind-numbing 47 three point attempts. They converted 36.2 % of these, or 17 in total. The percentage is not exceptional, but still very good. That's 51 points. That's 73% of the Eagles 70 point total. Throw in a bit of defense, and you will win most of your games with that sort of performance.

For the weekend, FGCU shot even better, or 37.5% from the three point line. But that figure does not even approach Stanford's weekend three point shooting percentage (51.3%). Against Gonzaga, Stanford was 11 for 22 (50%); Against FGCU, Stanford was 9 for 17, or 52.9%. Wow, that's pretty good shooting. Stanford shot three balls almost as well as it shoots free throws (ouch!).

The commentators had plenty of praise for Stanford, but I heard no acknowledgment of the team's three point shooting performance. In the Gonzaga game, one commentator declared flatly: “Stanford is not a good three-point shooting team.” Silly. She made the mistake of relying on season statistics.

The tournament is a new season. Want proof? Three Stanford players stood out in their three point shooting over the weekend. Kiana Williams was 6 for 10, or 60%. Alanna Smith was 7 for 13, or 53.8%. And DiJonai Carrington was 3 for 5, for 60%. Imagine what could have been if streaky-shooting Brittany McPhee had found her touch from outside.

Stanford's weekend long-range barrage may have been aided by the Maples factor. Stanford tends to shoot the three ball better at home, but seldom above 50%. Part of the high conversion rate doubtless stems from Stanford's well-executed Princeton offense, which leaves players with a lot of open shots. Stanford's ability to continue converting threes is a key for how they fare in the Lexington regional.

Another key to Stanford's victory over FGCU was the tactical decision to shut down the Eagles inside game. Against Missouri, FGCU had 32 attempts inside the three point arc, many of them layups. The Eagles converted 52.9% of these, for a total of 36 points. Not so against Stanford. The Eagles frequently could not even launch their interior shots. When they did, they missed more often than not, converting just 38.9 percent for 14 points. Stanford had 7 blocks.

Enough said. From here on out, every opponent will be higher seeded, starting with the region's number 1 seed Louisville. From here on out, I hope it will not be said of Stanford, that they "rained three balls." Rain falls all over the place. Instead, I hope it is said that Stanford continued to "launch well-aimed guided missiles."


JNB said...

Very well put, Warren. This needed to be said, pointed out. Thanks for your commentary all season. It has been great.

Anonymous said...

good article. thanks for posting...Im glad I didn't have to listen to those commentators. Go Card!