Sunday, November 25, 2007

Last night marked the conclusion of the Great Alaska Shootout, one of the many men's collegiate basketball tournaments taking place over the Thanksgiving weekend. The word Shootout was particularly apt, as the two finalists, champion Butler and runner-up Texas Tech, lit things up from behind the three-point arc all tournament long.

Here is Butler's report card on three-pointers:

Quarter-final vs. Michigan: 17-32, .531, with the top individual performances coming from Pete Campbell (6 of 11) and A.J. Graves (5 of 10).

Semi-final vs. Virginia Tech: 14-33, .424, including Campbell at 7-13 (Graves was a little off at 4-13).

Final vs. Texas Tech: 16-24, .667, with Campbell 4-7, Graves 6-8, and Mike Green 4-4.

Overall, the Bulldogs were thus 47-89 (.528) in the Alaska Shootout.

On Texas Tech's side:

Quarter-final vs. Alaska-Anchorage: 7-13, .538, largely based on John Roberson's 6 of 7.

Semi-final vs. Gonzaga: 8-18, .444, led by Alan Voskuil's 5-7.

Final vs. Butler: 3-PT FGS: 6-12, .500, with Voskuil going a perfect 4-4.

Overall, the Red Raiders were thus 21-43 (.488).

Historically, I don't know how often two teams in the same tournament (of at least three rounds) have maintained three-point shooting percentages this high, but I doubt it's very often!

Hot three-point shooting to start the season is nothing new for the Red Raiders. Almost exactly one year ago, the Texas Tech men were leading the nation in three-point shooting percentage (.504). As I discussed back then, the team's three-point percentage was likely to go down over the course of the season, purely as a matter of two statistical principles, regression to the mean and the small sample size for early-season statistics.

Indeed, the Red Raiders ended the year with a .412 three-point percentage, for eighth in the nation (because other fast-starting teams were also susceptible to the same statistical considerations, I did not predict that Tech would necessarily fall out of first place, just that the team's absolute percentage would go down).

As of this moment, according to's statistics page, Butler is fourth in the nation in team three-point shooting, making 77-164, for a .470 percentage.

Last year's three-point leader was Northern Arizona at .426 and, as I documented in a posting last year, from 2002-2006 no team led the nation in three-point shooting with anything higher than a .440 percentage. Thus, we'll see if Butler can exceed that level for a full season.

Texas Tech currently sits tied for 53rd in the nation from behind the arc (35-86, 40.7), due to some poor pre-Alaska shooting. From the Red Raiders' perspective, we'll see if their hot shooting in Alaska was a temporary blip or part of an incipient trend...

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