Thursday, August 28, 2014
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Yes, the three-point shooting really was that bad

I don't know if it's something in the water or what, but we have seen some horrific three-point shooting in the city recently.

Yes, the three-point shooting really was that bad

So we finally wrap up one of the longer days in this blog's history. I got to four games and liveblogged three, which is a pretty good haul if I may say so. I've put together postgame audio from the day's basketball action in the player below, and I'm just about ready to finally call it a night.

Before I do, though, I'd like to piece together the parts of what has been a rather disturbing trend over the last few days. I don't know if it's something in the water or what, but we have seen some horrific three-point shooting in the city recently.

It started last Tuesday when Penn and Drexel went a combined 0-for-19 from beyond the arc. From then on, we've seen the following percentages in games played around the region. And we'll even include the Legends Classic games at Boardwalk Hall for the hell of it, even though there weren't any local teams involved:

Game
Road 3pt
Home 3pt
Drexel 58 at Penn 49 (Nov. 24)
0-11 (0.0%)
0-8 (0.0%)
Cornell 78 vs. Toledo 60 (Nov. 27)
7-22 (31.8%)
6-18 (33.3%)
U. of Sciences 48 vs. Brown 69 (Nov. 27)
7-14 (50.0%)
13-32 (40.6%)
Vermont 61 vs. Drexel 74 (Nov. 27)
6-16 (37.5%)
6-17 (35.3%)
Massachusetts 75 vs. Rutgers 83 (Nov. 27)
9-28 (23.1%)
8-14 (57.1%)
Siena 68 vs. St. John's 77 (Nov. 27)
4-18 (22.2%)
2-15 (13.3%)
Florida 77 vs. Michigan State 74 (Nov. 27)
5-24 (20.8%)
2-10 (20.0%)
Virginia Tech 50 vs. Temple 61 (Nov. 27)
3-15 (20.0%)
4-18 (22.2%)
Vermont 59 vs. Cornell 67 (Nov. 28)
3-13 (23.1%)
5-17 (29.4%)
La Salle 63 at Villanova 81 (Nov. 28)
1-10 (10.0%)
6-24 (25.0%)
Brown 79 vs. Siena 99 (Nov. 28)
8-20 (40.0%)
10-19 (52.6%)
Toledo 59 vs. Drexel 69 (Nov. 28)
3-17 (17.6)
4-13 (30.8%)
Michigan State 106, Massachusetts 58 (Nov. 28)
14-22 (63.6%)
7-24 (29.2%)
Delaware 66 vs. Virginia Tech 74 (OT) (Nov. 28)
4-18 (22.2%)
6-19 (31.6%)
Florida 73 vs. Rutgers 58 (Nov. 28)
7-19 (36.8%)
3-16 (18.8%)
St. John's 55 vs. Temple 48 (Nov. 28)
3-11 (27.3%)
3-14 (21.4%)


There are a total of 16 games in the table, which means there are 32 fields of data. One game was played on the 24th, seven on the 27th and eight on the 28th.

I italicized the five performances in which a team shot 40 percent or better from the perimeter, which is the benchmark I've used for a while for what constitutes a quality shooting performance. The only schools that hit the benchmark were the University of the Sciences, Brown, Rutgers, Siena and Michigan State.

You could have expected Siena and Michigan State to be there. But Brown and USP? And for Brown to have been the only team to do it twice?

(I will grant that it is my personal benchmark, but I've found that it's also close to the point at which a coach will say his team had a good perimeter shooting night.)

Even more remarkable are the sums of the columns: 84-278 (30.215%) on the left and 85-278 (30.576%) on the right. I honestly did a double-take when I first saw them because of how close they were.

The total numbers of three-point shots attempted and made in the listed games were 169 and 556, respectively, which works out to a percentage of 30.396.

That is well below the current national percentage of made three-point attempts, which is 32.4 percent according to Ken Pomeroy. That might not seem like much, but consider that the national percentage dipped from 34.4 to 33.1 when the line moved back a foot last seaseon.

So a difference of two full percentage points is pretty substantial.

I talked about this informally with Comcast Network analyst Rob Kennedy after the Temple-Siena game. He thinks the moved-back line has something to do with it, and it may well. We may have just had a set of teams in town this weekend that lack good perimeter shooters, or it may have been one massive outbreak of bad luck.

Whatever it is, I think what we've seen this weekend is worth quantifying. We've certainly all felt it instinctively, and it's good to know that the numbers back us up.

I'll be at the DAC this afternoon for Toledo-Vermont and Cornell-Drexel, but I doubt I'll be live-blogging either game. One thing I've been reminded of this weekend is that if I spend too much time looking at my laptop, I miss a lot of the off-the-ball nuances that make things interesting. I want to be able to focus more on the action today, especially in the Cornell-Drexel game.

I'll probably post something later tonight. Regardless, we could all use a bit of time to breathe after this long weekend.



Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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