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January 6, 2009

Evansville Seeks Shelter from this Modern World

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 2:07 am

You may have already known that Evansville is the least likely team in the nation to shoot a three. But what you didn’t know is that coach Marty Simmons has apparently decided that even giving 18 percent of your shots to threes (as the Purple Aces have done so far this season) is far too modern and louche.

So now that the Aces have reached conference play, the coach has put the hammer down. In their first three games in Missouri Valley play, Evansville has attempted just 21 threes out of 164 shots from the field. In other words, just 13 percent of the Aces’ attempts have been launched from beyond the arc. Keep an eye on this: Simmons is on track to set a record here, whether for fewest threes, highest degree of antediluvian fervor, or both.

Simmons of course played for a coach who didn’t like threes much. And, speaking purely as an aesthetic matter, that’s OK. There’s no law mandating that threes must be loved. But as a strategic matter here’s the thing:

When you’re a D-I coach in 2009, you’ll probably find that your team makes about 34 percent of the threes it shoots. And, not to be redundant, each one of those makes is worth three points. To declare to opponents in advance that you’re not even going to try to make them is a precious scouting gift. It makes defending your team ever so much more simple. Why would you do that?

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