Thursday, March 01, 2012

A new look at 3-point shooting

During last night's win over Georgia Tech, the announcers reiterated Steve Donahue's goal of ten made three-pointers per game. In the past Donahue's talking points indicated that he uses advance basketball stats and trends (probably more than Skinner ever did), so I assume he found a clear demarcation point between nine converted 3s and ten. What's important to remember though is that three-point shooting is still very luck based. Kenpom explained it well last week. Even if you have a team of great shooters, your 3-point shooting will have a degree of randomness that most coaches would like to avoid. Kenpom compares it to playing the lottery.

What I find interesting is that Kenpom also list Michigan's John Beilein as a coach who is willing to gamble with the 3. Of all the coaches in big-time programs, Donahue's desired schemes are most closely aligned with Beilein's. If you want to look at the future direction of our program, you would be wise to see how Beilein implemented his schemes at Michigan and West Virginia. What BC fans should also remember are some of Beilein's West Virginia teams that buried BC with hot shooting nights from 3.

What most excites me about gambling with the 3 is where it can lead. VCU showed last year that you just need to get hot and you can outshoot more talented teams. If Donahue can get BC to become a regular tournament team, his willingness to gamble might give us one of those runs we've been waiting for.


blockparty said...

i remember in 05 when we were the number 1 seed in the BE tourney. we got the first round bye then played the 8 seed, wvu, in the noon game. they killed us. that wvu team (with mike gansey and pittsnogle) made a deep run in the ncaa tourney, upsetting wake (chris paul was on that team?). if we could run an effective offense like beilein's, i would love it. i think beilein runs a junk defense, a 1-3-1... could we implement that too?

Scott said...

I imagine Donohue has an upper and lower limit to the number of 3 point attempts, but it needs to be higher to bet use a 3-guard offense. The goal is to spread the floor and take the maximum number open looks from behind the arc, without forcing bad shots.

He probably thinks 30 3-point attempts is worth more than 30 points inside the arc. Obviously 10 3-point baskets is worth 15 normal baskets, plus deep shootting improves offensive rebounding. So the math says you should take advantage of the short 3 point line and added possessions, and keep shooting as long as your percentage is only 50% of inside points.

EL MIZ said...

blockparty, that 05 loss was tragic. i remember flying to NY on a jetblue flight with tickets to the BE tourney and watching us lose to WV on the plane. they also had a guy named "hebert" i think but the H was silent. and a jitterbug little PG who was tough to stop.

down 47-22, we came storming back behind dudley. what a classic squad that was -- dudley, craig smith, sean marshall. we ultimately got to 62-58 with 4 minutes to play, before they pulled away.

i would say thats a fair interpretation of donahue's system, and a good comparable team. we are definitely recruiting like it; you figure next year's squad is going to be:

senior: humphries (SG/SF)
junior: moton (PG/SG), rubin (SG)
sophomores: anderson (SF/PF), clifford (C), daniels (PG), jackson (PG/SG), heckman (SG/SF), caudill (C), odio (SF/PF)
freshman: hallinan (6'3 PG) and rahon (6'1 PG)

i expect a lot of 3 guard lineups and pushing the basketball. would hope for a daniels/jackson/heckmann/anderson/clifford starting 5 (with anderson/clifford having bulked up BIG TIME this offseason, and better strength & conditioning from everyone), and a bench of moton, caudill, odio, and hopefully the 2 freshman can contribute as well. i think that team can finish top half of the ACC.

jrtmurphy said...

I was also at that game. My only Big East Tourney (and our last). Got there late, 10 minutes into first half. Saw we were down by 20 as I waited in the beer line.

The best part: having all the other fans start a BC sucks chant through the second half because of our defection to the ACC.

Deacon Drake said...

The warning with the Beilein strategy... it is more of a culture, and takes several seasons to take root. It's a 4 year commitment to see results, as you are eliminating the players' instinct to attack.

Donahue's teams at Cornell were not as passive as those WVU teams, but still used the drive primarily as a ruse to set up big men outside the lane. John Oates arrived at BC to early...

A 1-3-1 defense would absolutely crush the lesser ACC teams, but would essentially be like running the Flex against the top 3 in the league (Duke, UNC, and who ever is hot). The 1-3-1 is also very passive, and takes a long time to take away that attacking instinct. If the players buy in, it works. Just like the Princeton or the 40 minutes of hell...

Joseph said...

Crawley has to go, and very quickly. This is her team and it is terrible.

ModA36 said...

For a 1-3-1 to work, you need a tall, very athletic player at both the top and bottom. We don't have any of those.

blockparty said...

that was such a great bc team, but if we win a game or two in the BE tourney we are looking at a 3 seed as opposed to what we got-- the 4 seed set up to play the number 1 overall illinois team with luther head and deron williams in the sweet 16. didnt matter obviously as we lost to bruce weber in the second round. i was on spring break on the west coast and woke up at 845 to watch that monstrosity vs WVU... i love al, but that kind of performance was typical from time to time. i remember 'erbert, such a pest. also believe beilein's son was on the team. gansey was perfect for that system.

i dont know much about implementing the beilein system but it is fun to watch. he had some rough moments at michigan in the beginning, but now i believe he has a top 15 team and a chance to win a piece of the big 10 regular season title if he wins this weekend and either OSU or MSU lose.

i dont know anything about the recruits coming in next year, other than what el miz just posted. seriously, we have 2 PGs, 6'1 and 6'3, coming in? no height? no bulk? we need some athletic swingmen who can cut to the basket, step outside and hit the 3, and rebound!

blockparty said...

bruce pearl, sorry.

Unknown said...


Not a basketball fan but been in the statistics business for many years. Thus, the "kenpom" 3-point analysis got my attention. I've read and re-read it...I cannot make it sensible. Can anybody out there help? To wit: 1) What does the half-to-half score-mapping have to do with 3-point efficiency?...and 2) Assuming the postulated co-relation is instructive to a cultured basketball fan, how would any of the regression coefficients lead to anything but conclusions of randomness?