By KEITH PEEL
Guest post: Will UK’s poor shooting cost it a trip to the Final Four this year?
Can a Division 1 college basketball team be a poor 3-point shooting team and still win it all?
That’s the question I asked myself after watching UK shoot 33 percent from 3-point range to UCLA’s 44 percent in a loss earlier this season.
Based on the eye test it appears one of UK’s weak points is 3-point shooting. So to confirm what my eyes have seen I checked the facts.
UK is currently shooting 32.2 percent and ranks 261 out of 347 Division 1 teams in 3-point shooting. To put that in perspective No. 1Villanova is 25th in 3-point shooting, No. 2 UCLA is ranked second in 3-point shooting, No. 3 Kansas is ninth in 3 point shooting and finally No. 4 Duke is ranked 141st in 3-point shooting.
Current rankings seem to support the premise that good 3-point shooting teams rise to the top but does that hold true for the winners of the biggest prize of all, the College National Championship?
Here’s what I found out when looking at the 3-point shooting percentages of the past five National Champions (the 2013 U of L team is still currently included in that group).
2016. Villanova. Ranked #105 in 3 point shooting; 36.2% for year; 46% in last 3 games
2015. Duke. Ranked #25 in 3 point shooting; 38.7% for year; 34.2% in last 3 games
2014. Connecticut. Ranked #23 in 3 point shooting; 38.9% for year; 35.8% in last 3 games
2013. Louisville. Ranked #216 in 3 point shooting; 32.9% for year; 29.4% in last 3 games
2012. Kentucky. Ranked #43 in 3 point shooting; 37.7% for year; 42.3% in last 3 games.
Based on those facts it looks like UK has as good a chance as any other Top 10 team to win it all if they can get their 3-point shooting percentage up into the 36 to 38 percent range. But if they continue to shoot the 3 ball at the pace they are on right now, it looks like they will need an extremely dominate defensive team to still be playing on the first weekend of April in Phoenix.