To Three or Not to Three?

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To Three or Not to Three?
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Ken Kohl (11:59 am)

To three or not to three, that is the question...

Apologies to The Bard, but Wisconsin fans are likely (in fact I know they are) asking themselves that question after finally losing to Ohio State at The Kohl Center (no relation I'm aware of, but I guess it's possible).

Let me start by saying that I'm not the biggest fan of the 3-point shot, unless Diebler is shooting them for OSU. Yes, I'm aware of eFG%, but to me unless you are really good at it, 3-pointers really become a liability. I know this is pretty selective sampling, but let's look at Saturday's game as a "for instance". The numbers that I'm bandying about are from StatSheet.com and are for this year's conference games only.

Wisconsin has lived, and pretty much died (when they lose) by their three point shooting. Although the Badgers are 2nd in B1G in 3-point attempts, they are 10th in 3-point accuracy, making just over 30% of their 3's. The problem is that 3-pointers are almost 42% of their FG attempts; so they frequently try to do something they seemingly aren't very good at. The Badger misery was further compounded by OSU's 3-point defense, which is 3rd in the B1G, forcing opponents to shoot just 30%. The result was a pretty ugly 5-27 (19%) effort.

Actually, the impact was worse than that. In the first half, Wisconsin was 2/14 from three-point land and of the 12 misses OSU grabbed 9 defensive rebounds, resulting in one loose ball foul on Wisconsin and two transition baskets for the Buckeyes. The Badgers did manage to grab one miss for an offensive rebound and convert for a basket. So the first half clanking resulted in a net +4 on the scoreboard and a lot of empty possessions. The second half was just as much a nightmare. They were 3/13, but they did snag 6 offensive rebounds. One O.R. was converted to a layup, two resulted in additional missed threes (they never learned) and three resulted in turnovers (within a few seconds) to OSU.

In contrast, their 2-point shooting went 9/15 with two offensive boards, one of which was converted into a FG. Their 2nd half field goal percentage looked about the same inside the arch; 8/13 with one O.R. which was converted into a FG. A bit more efficient.

So, let's see how Ohio State did in comparison. The Buckeyes were 1/7 (at least they know their limitations) for the game. They managed to rebound three of their six misses, and two of those O.R.'s were converted into FG's. Thankfully, the one three that they did manage to make came at a pretty auspicious moment in the game. Thanks, Will Buford.

For 'regular' FG's the Buckeyes were 21/44 (47.7%) which was a little lower than their standard (53%), but Sully missed a gimme and Wisconsin blocked 4 shots, so that will keep the percentage down a bit. They did grab half of their misses, though, converting three of those into field goals while converting at the charity stripe on two other instances after getting the rebound and getting fouled.

Oh, the other thing; Ohio State went 13/16 from the foul line. Wisconsin's offensive approach of a 'passing drill for 30 seconds, then launch from 3' got them to the line 3 times (3/3). In a low-possession game like this, being aggressive offensively and getting that much of an advantage is a huge edge. And the Buckeyes needed all the edge we could get at The Kohl.
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