Offense in college basketball is bad right now. This isn’t an opinion, it’s an objective fact. Sure, it’s early in the season, but the numbers would indicate we’re headed for the worst offensive year since 2015-16, when the shot clock was reduced to 30 seconds. You can attribute this decrease in efficiency to a number of things, but the deeper three-point line is the most likely culprit.
Don’t tell Mike Young. His Hokies are in a contest with no one for how many threes they can shoot every game—deeper line be damned—and they’re 6-0 doing it. If you watched his Wofford squad last year, maybe you’re not surprised. But there’s no Fletcher Magee in Blacksburg right now, and Young is still letting his guys play bombs away to the extent that more than half their shots are coming from three. To be exact, 51.3% of their attempts are coming from behind the new line, which puts them as the third-highest in that category.
What’s notable, though, isn’t so much that they’re shooting them but the percentage they’re connecting on with that kind of volume. The Hokies are shooting almost 43% on just over 30 threes per game. So how are they doing it? It all comes down to shot type. Take a look at their three-point makes from last night:
Notice anything? None of these are off the bounce or behind ball screens, and only one came early in the shot clock—a wide-open rhythm catch-and-shoot three. Seven of their ten makes against the Spartans came inside-out, six off of drive-kicks and one off a post touch.
And you’ll find that consistently. Game after game, Young’s teams aren’t just running and chucking. They’re getting high-value threes in rhythm situations.
Not all threes are created equal, but Mike Young’s bunch is proving you can take a whole lot of them, as long as they’re the right type.
Aaron Hanshaw is a former Division I men’s basketball staffer and a national account manager for Just Play. He studies film and analytics in-season to identify trends and interesting topics in college basketball, while also finding better ways to help staffs teach their players. You can contact Aaron at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @CoachAaronH. To learn more about Just Play, click here.