Sweet 16 Bracket: The 20 Top Sharpshooters Left in the 2010 NCAA Tournament
Need a big shot? Need multiple three-balls to complete a rally or simply a rainmaker to halt a comeback?
The following 20 players have you covered.
Almost every team has a shooter, and some have two or three, while another has six, as you'll find out. Without a long-range sniper, offenses would suffer a slow death because of poor spacing.
It's absolutely critical that your favorite team has at least one of the following guys if it has any plans to cut down the nets in Indianapolis.
20. Xavier's Brad Redford
Last year, Brad Redford drilled 47 percent of his threes, and he nailed 53.
This year, his numbers are slightly down because Xavier has a deeper backcourt and Redford is a defensive liability in some games.
Here's what his coach Chris Mack had to say after a game against Baylor this year in which he struggled to be a productive contributor:
When Redford has a place on the court, he's very dangerous. Getting minutes against Kansas State will be tough, as the sophomore hasn't played much recently, but if Xavier moves on to play Syracuse, expect Redford to see a lot of time against the Orange's zone defense.
19. Duke's Nolan Smith
Nolan Smith's emergence as one of the ACC's best players was just inevitable.
Last year, Smith just shot the ball at virtually the same percentage. This year, after he cut down the turnovers and with the departure of Gerald Henderson, Smith's minutes are way up, and he's taking advantage of it.
Smith's drained 50 three-balls this season as the team's third best option from deep.
18. Ohio State's William Buford
Considering Ohio State uses essentially a four-guard lineup, you would expect Thad Matta to have some shooters.
David Lighty, who's more of a paint presence as a guard than a shooter, just missed the cut for this list, but William Buford will not.
The sophomore improved his shooting slightly from last year and enters the Sweet 16 averaging connecting on 1.5 three-balls per game. His three-point presence is necessary to allow Evan Turner, who isn't a good long-range shooter, to navigate the paint with space.
17. Kentucky's Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe hasn't been much of a three-point shooter during his brief time at Kentucky, but his recent shooting streak has him on the radar as a dangerous shooter.
The freshman has drilled 16 of 24 three-balls dating back to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. If he keeps shooting the ball like that, then teams are going to struggle trying to zone the 'Cats out.
16. Butler's Zach Hahn
Butler doesn't have many capable shooters to put on the floor against Syracuse, but Zach Hahn gives Brad Stevens one option. He'll play his 15 or so minutes, put up his three to five threes from deep, and knock down one or two of those attempts.
He's going to be critical against the Orange as Gordon Hayward has significantly struggled from long range. Last year, Hayward would have been a top option to defeat the 'Cuse.
15. Duke's Kyle Singler
The second of Duke's "Triple S's" emerges as No. 15 on the list of remaining sharpshooters.
Singler has struggled at times with his shooting this year, but overall, the junior forward from Oregon has connected on 39 percent of his three-point attempts to hit a career-high 75 trifectas.
Duke's biggest strength this year might be the margin between its three-point offense and defense. The Blue Devils are 35th in three-point shooting and first in three-point defense. That's a major advantage.
14. Syracuse's Wes Johnson
When Wes Johnson was healthy, the junior transfer drilled about 50 percent of his three-point attempts. He later battled injuries, and his shooting percentage plummeted to below 40 percent from three.
Now, Johnson is healthy once again, and he's shooting the lights out. The Big East Tournament loss to Georgetown was the first game he looked healthy in months. In the last three games, Johnson has hit 10 of 16 three-balls (62.5 percent).
If he continues to shoot the ball well and stay aggressive, beating Syracuse will be nearly impossible.
13. Northern Iowa's Ali Farokhmanesh
Throughout the season, Ali Farokhmanesh was a good three-point shooter. Not a great three-point shooter, but just a good one.
In the NCAA Tournament, he's been very clutch, including one of the gutsiest three-pointers in recent memory.
Farokhmanesh pulled up from three instead of trying to kill clock, and for his sake especially, he connected on the shot to seal the game for the Panthers.
His name quickly became a verb as Kansas got "farok'd." He's succeeded at becoming the first college player to have his name turned into a verb since Kevin Pittsnogle began "pittsnogling" people.
12. Baylor's Tweety Carter
Tweety Carter's minutes really haven't increased much, but his role has drastically. He's become a vital part of Baylor's offense, and his production in almost every facet of the game has increased.
His three-point percentage is slightly down, but he's taking many more per game. Carter's ability to penetrate forces opponents to give him some room to shoot, and when hot, the Baylor point guard frequently will pull up in the half court to knock down the three-pointer.
11. Michigan State's Chris Allen
Without Kalin Lucas, somebody will need to pick up his solid scoring and distributing. Chris Allen isn't much of a distributor, but he can be a scorer if he gets open looks from behind the arc.
He's improved dramatically as a shooter from last year. In 2009, Allen hit just 31 percent of his three-point attempts, but this year, he's jumped over 40 percent.
It will be necessary to get him three to five extra looks in each remaining game for the offense to begin to pick up Lucas' production.
10. Saint Mary's' Matthew Dellavedova
Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!
It's fitting that cheer yells Aussie three consecutive times because it seems like these Aussies' best attribute as basketball players is the ability to never miss from behind the arc.
It's clear the only explanation for these Aussies' outstanding shooting is the Coriolis effect.
Matthew Dellavedova hit a studly 72 three-pointers on 41 percent shooting as a freshman. This kid is going to be real good by the time he's a senior.
Dellavedova is one of three Australians on this team that are deadly from three. One is 6'10" senior forward Ben Allen, who hits 38 percent of his balls. The other you'll see later on this list.
9. Xavier's Jordan Crawford
Jordan Crawford will be hitting threes from Provo, Utah this weekend in the West Regional Final. His range is where you stop guarding him, and when you do guard him, he'll just blow by you and score at will in the paint.
Crawford hits 40 percent of his three-balls and hits 2.5 per game. That's some serious shooting.
Crawford could singlehandedly destroy Syracuse's 2-3 zone in the Elite Eight, or he could self-implode if he gets wide eyes and starts launching from 25 feet.
8. Cornell: Throw a Dart at the Roster
If each Cornell shooter got his own individual slide, about five players wouldn't get their due as top sharpshooters. Cornell is THAT good from three.
One player is so good, he'll get his own slide, but five must be honored here in one spot in the rankings.
Five players have hit at least 20 threes, with four dropping 39 or more. All five of those players shoot at least 39 percent from deep.
Last year's freshman of the year, Chris Wroblewski hit the second most on the team with 53 at 45.7 percent. Former Ivy League Player of the Year Louis Dale is third on the team with 48 threes at 39.3 percent.
Senior Jon Jaques has emerged as a world-class shooter and New York Times blogger. He's connected on over 45 percent of his threes this season. Teams tend to lose him on the perimeter, and Jaques makes them play.
Geoff Reeves is one away from being the fifth Cornell player to drop 40 trifectas. Finally, transfer Max Groebe hit 23 of 41 attempts for a slick 56 percent.
It's pretty obvious why Cornell is first in the country in three-point shooting.
7. Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn
LaceDarius Dunn rarely gets more than a few inches off the ground when he takes a three-ball, but his almost set shot is quite effective. Dunn's improvement as a shooter can be traced through the roles he's had under Scott Drew.
As a freshman, he was the team's sixth man, and his job was to hit threes off the bench and be a spark plug. He relished this role.
As a sophomore, Drew needed Dunn to be more of a star, but Dunn wasn't quite ready to handle that, and his shooting dropped off.
Now as a highly developed stud, Dunn hits 42 percent of his threes again and takes an eye-popping eight per game. He'll have the occasional stinker of a game, but overall he's a deadly threat to hit four per game.
6. Duke's Jon Scheyer
The final dangerous shooter from Duke has taken major strides forward in almost every part of his game.
Jon Scheyer's three-point shooting hasn't gotten much better, but when you consider how many more shots he's taking, shooting at the same percentage as last year is an under-appreciated feat.
When opponents gaze into the eyes of the "Scheyer face," they know a three-ball could be coming, and if it is, Scheyer will make about 38 percent of them.
The senior has attempted and made a career high 98 of 257 entering the Sweet 16.
5. Syracuse's Andy Rautins
Andy Rautins' transformation as an all-around star has been remarkable during his five years on the Syracuse hill. The one thing that has stayed consistent is the senior's ability to knock down a three-point shot.
Rautins originally could only catch and shoot, but now he has a nice pump fake and also the ability to turn and shoot as well as anybody in the country.
The result has been a Gerry McNamara-like performance from long range with 94 three-pointers at 40.3 percent this year. He's already the second all-time leading shooter from behind the arc.
With a solid performance in the maximum of four remaining games, Rautins could finish with 300 three-pointers for his career.
4. Kansas State's Jacob Pullen
Jacob Pullen's emergence as Kansas State's go-to guy is a bit surprising considering pundits pegged Denis Clemente to become that guy.
The source behind Pullen's impressive rise to stardom can be found in his offensive efficiency.
Posting just a 102 rating last year made Pullen barely a productive member of the Wildcats' unit. Now, his rating stands above 120 after Pullen improved, among other things, his three-point shooting.
The junior cashed in 39 percent of his three-point attempts to hit 102 trifectas this year.
3. Cornell's Ryan Wittman
The lone, aforementioned Cornell player that would get his own slide is none other than Ryan Wittman. This kid can flat-out stroke it from anywhere on the court with any kind of shot.
The senior has never hit fewer than 78 three-balls or shot less than 41.5 percent from behind the line. He stands at 375 career three-pointers.
None of those 375 will be bigger than the ones he'll hit against Kentucky in the Sweet 16, as Wittman is really Cornell's only hope to beat the Wildcats.
If he goes for 35 points, which he's capable of, then Cornell will have a shot. If he doesn't, the Big Red may not have enough sources of scoring to pick up the slack.
2. Ohio State's Jon Diebler
To be able to outshoot Ryan Wittman, you must be pretty darn good.
The Ohio State junior exploded onto the shooting scene last year after an abysmal freshman season. He's hit over 41 percent of his three-pointers each of the last two years to make him one of the most consistent shooters in the country.
Of his 147 field goals, 115 of them are three-pointers, and that mark of 115 is the most of any player in the country.
His ability to shoot creates space for Evan Turner to go to work in the paint where he's so deadly. Without Diebler, the Buckeyes' spacing is subpar, and the offense falters.
1. Saint Mary's Mickey McConnell
Okay—to be listed ahead of Jon Diebler and Ryan Wittman, you must REALLY, REALLY be able to hit a rainmaker.
This clutch shooter can do just that.
With Patty Mills gone, junior Mickey McConnell's minutes and role in the offense increased, and his shooting improved.
By golly, did his shooting ever improve. It jumped from 40 percent to almost 52 percent.
To put that into perspective, he took the 369th-most three-point attempts in the country, yet he ranks 93rd in treys made. He's first in the nation in three-point percentage.
For more updates on college hoops, follow @JamesonFleming on Twitter. Jameson will be covering the East Regional Finals in Syracuse as well as the Final Four in Indianapolis for Bleacher Report.