NCAA Bracket 2012: Ranking the Top 10 Sharpshooters of the Sweet 16
In the Sweet 16, shooters make or break a team's chances.
When it's a close game, every team has its own philosophy on how to score. However, simply by the nature of the game, someone will need to hit a three to give his team a chance.
Each team has a sharpshooter, but some are better than others. Some are more reliable; some are more clutch. Regardless, each team has a player it wants shooting the ball when it trail by three.
Here are the 10 best sharpshooters left in the tournament. They are ranked based on their three-point shooting percentage as well as how many treys they average each game.
10. Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas
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With Thomas Robinson being a beast on the inside, Kansas needs Tyshawn Taylor to step it up.
He can score off the bounce, but his three-point shooting will determine how far Kansas will go. Taylor shoots 41 percent from beyond the arc, but that needs to be a little more consistent.
Taylor facilitates for the Jayhawks, and he controls the tempo of the game. He needs to push the ball in transition. However, in the half court, he needs to find Robinson and hit open jumpers.
If Taylor can knock down open threes, Kansas will be nearly impossible to beat.
9. Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette
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Darius Johnson-Odom is very tough to guard.
He can take anybody off the dribble, but it's his long-range shooting that makes him one of Marquette's most feared players. Johnson-Odom shoots 39 percent from three, but he makes more than two per game.
In Marquette's fast-paced offense, his total threes are a little more important than his percentage. Johnson-Odom's defense and ball-handling have helped the Golden Eagles get this far.
However, if Marquette wants to keep advancing, Johnson-Odom will need to keep stretching the opposition with his shooting ability.
8. Kenny Boynton, Florida
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Kenny Boynton likes to shoot the three.
More importantly, he likes to make those threes. Boynton shoots more than seven threes per game, which is a ridiculous amount. Luckily for Florida, Boynton makes nearly 42 percent of those treys.
Boynton is the Gators' leading scorer, and his shooting is a major reason why. He notches approximately three three-pointers per game, and he complements that with a couple free throws and tough baskets in traffic.
Boynton makes Florida go. If he's shooting well, the Gators are nearly impossible to beat.
7. Nick Kellogg, Ohio
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When Nick Kellogg is in the game, he is going to take threes.
The Ohio guard is only a sophomore, but he's already made an impact on the NCAA tournament. When he's on the floor, he plays good defense, helps handle the ball and knocks down shots.
That's about all you could ask for from someone so young.
Kellogg isn't afraid of anybody. If Ohio want to have a chance of taking down North Carolina, Kellogg will have to hit some big-time shots.
Luckily for the Bobcats, Kellogg isn't afraid to take the big shot.
6. Josh Gasser, Wisconsin
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Josh Gasser is an absolute dead-eye shooter.
The Wisconsin sophomore does not shoot often, but he drains the shots he takes. If the Badgers could get him to shoot more, they would be in much better shape.
Gasser plays very good defense, and he is a very composed player. As Wisconsin tries to attack Syracuse's zone, Gasser will need to have a big game.
If he is able to knock down a few three-pointers and force Syracuse to stretch its zone toward him, Wisconsin stands a very good chance of pulling off the Sweet 16 upset.
5. Christian Watford, Indiana
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Christian Watford has one of the purist strokes left in the tournament.
Even though he's not a three-point specialist, Watford can step back and nail the trey. He's definitely a scorer by trade, but his shooting ability stretches well beyond the three-point arc.
Plus, Watford's a gamer. He shoots an impressive 44 percent. Even though he doesn't take many threes, he makes sure they're big-time shots.
When the game is on the line, Indiana will get Watford the ball. As he's proven in the past, he's more than willing to come through in the clutch.
4. Erik Murphy, Florida
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Along with Kenny Boynton, Florida has Erik Murphy from the outside.
Murphy can straight-up rain from the outside.
He shoots at over a 43 percent clip, and he doesn't miss when he's open. Florida likes to get up and down, which usually opens up some spots on the floor for Murphy to find.
When he and Boynton are on, Florida is one of the best teams in the country. If Florida wants to get back to the Final Four, Murphy will need to shoot lights out against Marquette and Louisville/Michigan State.
Murphy's a very good shooter, and he will continue to prove it for the rest of the tournament.
3. Scott Wood, North Carolina State
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When in doubt, Scott Wood just shoots the ball.
The North Carolina State junior takes more than six three-pointers per game, which is one of the highest rates in the country. He is the only reliable three-point threat the Wolfpack have, so he's a focal point on the perimeter.
NC State draws up plenty of plays to get Wood a clean look at the basket. His shooting is some of the most lethal in the country, and it is a big reason why the Wolfpack are still playing.
When Wood is hitting his shots, the defense is forced to make adjustments, which usually opens up dribbling lanes for his teammates.
Once Wood starts making shots, NC State becomes one of the toughest teams in the tournament.
2. Doron Lamb, Kentucky
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With all the hype surrounding Anthony Davis, it's easy to forget that Doron Lamb is one of the best perimeter players in the country.
The two complement each other well, and they carve up defenses together. Davis destroys them inside, while Lamb is patiently waiting to destroy the defense from the outside.
Lamb shoots a blistering 47 percent from beyond the arc, and he makes at least two threes per game. He can shoot from anywhere, and he is ready to shoot at any time.
Lamb's shooting and ability to take the ball off the bounce are two of the main reasons (along with that Davis fellow) Kentucky is the odds-on favorite to win it all. The Wildcats still have a long way to go, but if Lamb continues to shoot well (7-of-11 on three-pointers in the tournament), the Wildcats simply won't lose.
1. Brady Heslip, Baylor
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Brady Heslip is a lethal sharpshooter.
Despite wearing some of the ugliest jerseys known to man, Baylor can beat teams in a lot of ways. Heslip is a very good way to beat teams.
Baylor's other players boast length and athleticism. Heslip boasts a deadly three-point shot. In his last 12 games, Heslip has hit an astounding 40 three-point shots.
In the two tournament games, he's a ridiculous 14-of-22 (64 percent). Right now, he's simply locked in.
When a great shooter gets in the zone, watch out. Heslip has been in the zone since the middle of February, and he doesn't show any signs of stopping.
Without a doubt, Heslip is the best sharpshooter in the Sweet 16.