Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Time to check in again on the three-point shooting of the Texas Tech men's basketball team. As noted in my November 30 posting (see below or in November 2006 archives), the Red Raiders were leading the nation in shooting percentage behind the arc, at 50.4. Citing the statistical concepts of extremity of outcomes in small sample sizes and regression to the mean, I predicted the team would drop off some.

It should also be noted that, over the past five seasons, none of the teams that led the nation in three-point percentage exceeded 44%.

2002 Oregon 42.4
2003 Illinois St. 44.0
2004 Birm. Southern 43.0
2005 Oklahoma St. 42.1
2006 Southern Utah 42.9

Since my last posting on this topic, Texas Tech has experienced a small drop in its accuracy from long distance, sitting currently in second place nationally at 47.8.

In the Red Raiders' three most recent games (season log), they had two poor outings from three-point land (4-14, .286 vs. Stanford, and 2-10, .200 vs. Louisiana Tech), followed by an 11-18 (.611) explosion vs. Centenary. I was at the Centenary game and noticed some fans marking each of Texas Tech's made treys by unveiling a succession of cloth signs with 3's on them. With the help of my faculty colleague Bo Cleveland (with later technical assistance by Rachna Mutreja), we were able to take the following photo of the display in full glory at game's end.

I'll continue to track the story. It's important to state that, even if Texas Tech's three-point percentage continues to drop -- as I predict it will -- the team could still lead the nation, as other teams will likely drop too. In other words, Texas Tech's anticipated drop would be in absolute terms, but not necessarily in relative terms.

In terms of individual players, BYU's Austin (Got the Range) Ainge is now down from his earlier 70.6 three-point percentage (which I cited in my previous write-up) to 54.2.

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