10 Most Lethal Sharpshooters to Watch in the NCAA Tournament

Thad Novak@@ThadNovakCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2013

10 Most Lethal Sharpshooters to Watch in the NCAA Tournament

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    The NCAA tournament is almost here, and that means close finishes and buzzer-beaters galore.

    When a game comes down to the final possession, few weapons become as valuable as a dead-eye shooter with unlimited range. And this year’s Big Dance field will have plenty of them.

    Indiana is in line for a No. 1 seed thanks largely to a balanced offense loaded with perimeter weapons. The most dangerous of all the Hoosier marksmen is senior Jordan Hulls, one of the most accurate three-point shooters in the nation.

    Herein, a closer look at Hulls and the rest of the 10 most effective pure shot-makers who’ll be found in this year’s field of 68.

10. Sean Armand, Iona

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    A close call over VCU sniper Troy Daniels, Sean Armand gets the nod here for contributing to the best offense you’ve probably never heard of.

    Although Iona was just 11-7 in the MAAC before winning the conference tourney, the Gaels rank third in all of Division I with 80.7 points per game.

    Armand is the second-leading scorer in that arsenal, pouring in 16.6 points a night. His three-point accuracy of .412 pales in comparison to other marksmen on this list, but his total of 108 treys was good for fifth in the nation.

9. Ben McLemore, Kansas

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    Redshirt or no, you don’t see many freshman guards who can shoot .501 from the floor.

    Even more impressive, Ben McLemore has maintained his outstanding accuracy despite being counted on as the primary scoring option (16.7 points per game) for national title hopeful Kansas.

    The athletic 6’5” McLemore gets plenty of those points at the rim, but he’s also the Jayhawks’ top three-point threat. He’s knocked down 62 treys on the year, hitting at a .434 clip.

8. Davon Marshall, Liberty

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    Don’t blink, or you’ll probably miss one of the top shooters in the field of 68. Davon Marshall is the best reason to pay any attention to the sub-.500 Liberty squad that snuck into the Big Dance as the champion of the Big South tournament.

    Marshall, a 5’11” JUCO transfer, is the Flames’ second-leading scorer at a middling 13.4 points per game, but he’s posted some eye-popping numbers from deep.

    His 101 three-pointers made are the eighth-highest total in the country, and he’s reached that mark while hitting 43.4 percent of his long-range tries.

7. Tyrus McGee, Iowa State

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    With Royce White gone to the NBA, this year’s Iowa State team relies on the three-ball even more heavily than last season’s edition. The leader of that effort is senior sixth man Tyrus McGee.

    Though he’s only playing five more minutes a night than he did last year, McGee has nearly doubled his scoring average (to 13.5 points per game) by ratcheting up his three-point accuracy.

    He ranks 16th in the country with a .470 percentage from long range, and only one of the 15 players ahead of him can match his 87 treys made.

6. Nik Stauskas, Michigan

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    The explosive offense that has the Wolverines ranked sixth in the country gets a big chunk of its points from three-point range. Of all Michigan’s many perimeter weapons, none has done as much (or been as big a surprise) as freshman Nik Stauskas.

    Though he didn’t get nearly the preseason hype of recruiting classmates Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary, the 6’6” Stauskas has outscored both of them with 11.6 points per game.

    He takes more than 60 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, and he makes them count: He’s hit 69 treys while shooting .460 at that distance.

5. Seth Curry, Duke

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    The triumphant return of classmate Ryan Kelly has inevitably shoved Seth Curry out of the spotlight for Duke. Even with Kelly healthy, though, it’s the 6’2” Curry who plays the central role in Duke’s lethal perimeter offense.

    No Blue Devil can equal Curry’s 2.7 treys made per game (81 in all for the season), and he’s matching his career best by shooting .435 from deep.

    He does plenty of scoring elsewhere on the floor too—his 17.1 points per game this season have helped put him and older sibling Stephen (now of the Golden State Warriors) at the top of the NCAA scoring charts for a pair of brothers.

4. Jordan Hulls, Indiana

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    It’s no mean feat being the best shooter on the Indiana offense. Jordan Hulls drains 48.7 percent of his three-point tries—which leaves him 0.1 percent up on teammate Christian Watford for the team lead, and for ninth place in the country.

    The senior guard also leads IU with 76 treys made on the year, meaning that better than 70 percent of his made shots have come from long range.

    If the Hoosiers ever needed him to step inside the arc, he’d probably be scoring a good deal more than his current 10.5 points per game.

3. Rotnei Clarke, Butler

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    Rotnei Clarke isn’t the only reason Butler’s team scoring average has jumped six points per game from last year, but he’s certainly the biggest reason. The 6’0” Arkansas transfer is leading the Bulldogs with 16.7 points a night.

    Clarke, a senior, is such a brilliant outside shooter that his .417 percentage from three-point range this season is actually the second-worst of his career.

    He’s the only player in the country ranked in the top 10 in both three-pointers made (98) and free-throw shooting (.896) on the year.

2. Ian Clark, Belmont

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    For combining accuracy and production from three-point range, no player likely to make the field of 68 can touch Ian Clark.

    No. 9 nationally with 99 three-pointers made, the Belmont senior is hitting an astonishing 46.3 percent of his attempts from deep.

    All those treys add up, to the tune of a team-leading 18.1 points per game for the 6’3” Clark.

    The Bruins leader is also one of the toughest defenders on this list, piling up 1.6 steals a night on the season.

1. Doug McDermott, Creighton

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    Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott is the most dangerous pure scorer in college hoops. No. 2 in the nation with 23.1 points per game, the 2011-12 All-American also boasts some of the country’s most impressive shooting percentages.

    McDermott’s field-goal accuracy of .561 is, laughably, only the second-best mark of his extraordinary career (behind last season’s .601).

    The 6’8” forward is setting career highs in two other areas, though: He’s up to .860 from the foul line, and he ranks sixth nationally at .497 from beyond the arc.