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WANT A QUALITY SHOT? DITCH THE TREY!
John O'Keefe
March 22, 2004
Here's SI's theory on which style of offense might give teams the best chance to advance
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March 22, 2004

Want A Quality Shot? Ditch The Trey!

Here's SI's theory on which style of offense might give teams the best chance to advance

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TEAM

PCT.FGA/2PTS

PCT.FGM/2PTS

QSR

1. Texas Tech

.814

.864

1.628

2. Boston College

.780

.845

1.560

3. Oklahoma State

.776

.832

1.554

4. Syracuse

.768

.844

1.536

5. Maryland

.759

.817

1.518

6. Nevada

.756

.812

1.511

7. Pittsburgh

.746

.835

1.492

8. Connecticut

.745

.785

1.490

9. DePaul

.742

.801

1.484

10 Stanford

.741

.804

1.482

11. Gonzaga

.720

.773

1.440

12. East Tennessee State

.719

.787

1.437

13. Manhattan

.716

.768

1.436

14. North Carolina

.714

.781

1.428

15. UTEP

.707

.761

1.414

16. Seton Hall

.707

.775

1.414

17. Arizona

.705

.765

1.410

18. Kansas

.703

.786

1.406

19. Washington

.730

.772

1.405

20. Texas

.699

.754

1.398

21. Valparaiso

.695

.787

1.390

22. BYU

.695

.782

1.389

23. Kentucky

.693

.768

1.387

24. Southern Illinois

.693

.773

1.386

25. Utah

.691

.742

1.382

26. VCU

.691

.748

1.382

27. Eastern Washington

.690

.758

1.380

28. Mississippi State

.688

.764

1.376

29. Michigan State

.687

.764

1.374

30. UAB

.684

.765

1.368

31. Cincinnati

.682

.732

1.364

32. Western Michigan

.681

.739

1.362

33. Illinois-Chicago

.674

.744

1.348

34. Murray State

.674

.779

1.347

35. Lehigh

.672

.730

1.344

36. Wisconsin

.668

.764

1.341

37. Wake Forest

.670

.732

1.340

38. Georgia Tech

.668

.764

1.336

39. Duke

.666

.739

1.331

40. Pacific

.665

.745

1.330

41. Alabama State

.661

.731

1.322

42. Alabama

.661

.713

1.321

43. Richmond

.659

.744

1.318

44. Texas-San Antonio

.655

.709

1.309

45. Vermont

.651

.731

1.308

46. Liberty

.651

.749

1.302

47. Illinois

.646

.743

1.294

48. South Carolina

.644

.730

1.286

49. UNC Charlotte

.646

.713

1.269

50. Xavier

.630

.690

1.261

51. Louisiana-Lafayette

.630

.730

1.260

52. Monmouth

.630

.691

1.259

53. Princeton

.628

.743

1.252

54. Dayton

.625

.729

1.251

55. Vanderbilt

.623

.734

1.246

56. Central Florida

.621

.707

1.242

57. Northern Iowa

.621

.696

1.241

58. Providence

.606

.680

1.212

59. Louisville

.598

.676

1.196

60. Florida

.587

.648

1.194

61. Memphis

.587

.641

1.174

62. Saint Joseph's

.578

.648

1.156

63. Florida A&M

.556

.633

1.118

64. N.C. State

.554

.662

1.108

65. Air Force

.472

.583

.944

Once viewed as a ticket to NCAA tournament success, the three-point shot may now be a trap. Advancing out to the perimeter, quick, agile defenses are harassing trey shooters into increasingly tougher attempts. Our suggestion for these besieged offenses is elementary: Work to get a shot closer to the basket—what we call a Quality Shot. Such shots are conversions in or around the paint, or dunks and layups in transition. (We'll agree that some two-point attempts are bad shots, just as an open three is often a good one.)

To recognize which teams are most adept at getting such Quality Shots, SI has devised a Quality Shot Rating. We use the following calculation: (percentage of team field goal attempts that are two-pointers + percentage of field goals made that are two-pointers)-(percentage of field goal attempts that are three-pointers-percentage of field goals made that are threes) = Quality Shot Rating.

Put simply: A team is rewarded for taking twos and further rewarded for making them; it is penalized for taking threes, but the penalty is mitigated by making them.

Does the QSR correlate with tournament advancement? It did last year. We calculated the regular-season QSRs for the pretournament Top 25. Each of the Final Four finished no lower than sixth: NCAA runner-up Kansas (1.548, the No. I rating); champion Syracuse (1.490, No. 3); Texas (1.462, No. 5); and Marquette (1.458, No. 6). Further down in the field a couple of Cinderellas scored first-round upsets that might have been predicted by the teams' QSRs: Tulsa (1.358), a No. 13 seed, dispatched No. 4 Dayton (1.230), and No. 11 Central Michigan (1.326) knocked off No. 6 Creighton (1.287). The system wasn't foolproof, as evidenced by the victory of No. 12 Butler (1.146) over No. 5 Mississippi State (1.419).

Below are the QSRs for this season's tournament field.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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