Ranking the Most Dynamic 3-Point Shooting Teams in College Basketball
The three-point shot has transcended college basketball over the years.
The line was officially introduced to college basketball during the 1986-87 season and it has had a major impact on the way coaches recruit and game-plan.
Effective three-point shooters are difficult to stop and a team that can knock down shots from the perimeter is never out of a game.
Certain programs have had great success incorporating the three-point shot as a huge part of their attack. The following list ranks the most dynamic three-point shooting teams in college basketball.
The rankings are based on efficiency and style of play.
(Three-point statistics are from StatSheet.com.)
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Part of the rebuilding that Tom Crean has done at Indiana has included recruiting players who can hit outside shots.
Victor Oladipo, Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls made the Hoosiers one of the most dangerous three-point shooting teams in the country last season. All three players have moved on from the program but there are talented players waiting in the wings to continue the team’s perimeter success.
Indiana made 257 three-point baskets last season and shot 40.3-percent, which was fourth in the nation.
The ability to score from beyond the arc also helps make the Hoosiers extremely effective in the half-court because it provides balance for their interior scorers.
That success has helped Indiana return to the level of elite college basketball programs in America.
9. Robert Morris
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On the morning of Tuesday, March 19, most of the college basketball world had never heard of Robert Morris. That all changed later that evening when the Colonials upset Kentucky in the first round of the NIT.
Robert Morris wasn’t particularly effective from three-point range against Kentucky, but that is a major part of the Colonials offense.
Last season, Robert Morris had four players shoot over 35 percent from beyond the three-point line. Three of those four are expected to return next season.
The Colonials finished sixth in the nation last season with 300 three-point baskets. They also shot 38.1 percent from three-point range, which led the Northeast Conference and was in the top 25 nationally.
The returning talent means next season should produce more excellent results from the perimeter.
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It is no secret that the three-point shot has become a major part of the Duke offense and in Mike Krzyzewski’s recruiting strategy.
Every year, experts and panelists discuss how vulnerable Duke becomes when it doesn’t hit outside shots.
Unfortunately for their opponents, the Blue Devils usually don’t go cold from the perimeter.
Last season marked the eighth out of the past nine seasons that Duke shot at least 37 percent from three-point range and the 2012-13 Blue Devils ranked in the top 25 nationally in three-pointers made and three-point percentage.
The three-pointers will continue to fly next season for a Duke team that is expected to be very perimeter oriented.
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A major element of Shaka Smart’s approach of creating “HAVOC” on the court involves speeding up the tempo against opponents.
VCU’s defense plays a major role in putting pressure on the opposition but the Rams’ attacking offense also has an impact.
The Rams only shot 35 percent from three-point range but they converted on 281 of those three-point shots, which was 13th in the nation. The lower percentage is a symptom of the speed at which the Rams play.
With the unbelievable tempo and intensity VCU plays with, the Rams’ ability to hit outside shots makes Shaka Smart’s team even more dynamic.
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John Beilein is one of the most innovative offensive coaches in college basketball. He had great success at West Virginia and now he’s produced similar results at Michigan.
When the Wolverines are moving the ball and making three-point shots, similar to what they did in the first half of the 2013 National Championship game against Louisville, they are nearly impossible to stop.
Michigan is one of the only teams in college basketball last season that ranked in the top 20 in three-point shots made and three-point percentage, showing how efficient the Wolverines are with the perimeter shot.
And the collection of talent that John Beilein continues to assemble in Ann Arbor to play his system is a great sign for the future.
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Belmont has earned the annual title of being a “dangerous mid-major” in the NCAA tournament partly because of their dangerous offensive style.
The Bruins had three players last season who shot over 38 percent from the three-point line and great three-point shooting has become a staple of the Belmont program.
The 2012-13 season was the third consecutive season Belmont shot at least 37 percent from three point range and they knocked down 279 three-pointers for the season.
Head coach Rick Byrd has done an outstanding job of turning the Bruins into a deadly shooting team, which always makes them a popular Cinderella pick in NCAA tournament brackets.
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Billy Donovan has done an outstanding job of recruiting great shooters to Gainesville during his time as head coach of the Florida Gators.
Teddy Dupay, Brett Nelson, Nick Calathes and Lee Humphrey are just a few of the Gators who have been outstanding perimeter shooters over the years.
Florida made 300 three-point baskets last season, which tied for sixth in the nation. The Gators also led the SEC by shooting 37.8-percent from beyond the three-point line. For a team known for tough defense, Florida was quite dangerous from long range.
With Patric Young expected to dominate the post for the Gators next season, Florida’s perimeter shooters will continue to get many open looks at the basket.
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Know who finished second in the nation with 313 three-pointers last season? Canisius.
Know who led the MAAC in three-point shooting percentage at 38.6 percent? Canisius.
The 2012-13 season was Jim Baron’s first year as the head coach of the Canisius Golden Griffins, which explains the jump in three-point production.
Prior to Canisius, Baron was the head coach at Rhode Island, where his teams often played at a frenetic pace and attacked opposing defenses with great perimeter shooting.
Baron has taken that same style with him to Canisius, making the Golden Griffins a very exciting team to watch.
2. Iowa State
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Iowa State made more three-pointers than any other team in college basketball during the 2012-13 season and the next team wasn’t close. The Cyclones finished the season with 346 three-pointers. Canisius finished second with 312.
Not only did Iowa State take an incredible number of three-point shots, they also made them at a high percentage. The 37.4 percent the Cyclones averaged from three-point range led the Big 12.
What made Fred Hoiberg’s team so dangerous from the perimeter is that it featured six players in the rotation who were capable of knocking down outside shots.
The Cyclones were an experienced team last season that made a nice run in the NCAA tournament, but Hoiberg’s use of a deep rotation means many of his young players will be ready to step up and continue raining shots from the outside.
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Creighton has been a model of offensive efficiency in college basketball over the past two seasons.
Many argue the Bluejays benefit from playing a weaker schedule, but many teams would struggle to shoot as well even if they were playing against air.
Making 307 three-pointers and shooting 41.4-percent from three-point range like Creighton did is no easy task.
Doug McDermott is the key to the Creighton offense and he is incredibly productive from the perimeter. McDermott shot 49-percent from the three-point line last season, which is outstanding considering he attempted 157 three-point shots.
With the attention McDermott receives from the defense, he opens up opportunities for his teammates to also get great looks.
College basketball fans should appreciate the opportunity to watch McDermott play for another year.
What are some of the other most dynamic three-point shooting teams in college basketball? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.