Tourney Wrapup II — The 3 Point Shooting Teams

By A.J. Coltrane

For purposes of Vegas/March Madness this year I thought it might be helpful to consider how 3-point dependent individual teams were during the regular season. Some of that screwing around was discussed in this post.

Below are the top 10 teams in what I called “Vol” (for volatility) in that post. Below it’s called 3DEP (3 point dependency), which is what I’ll stick with going forward. 3DEP is simply 3 point percentage (x) % of 3 pointers attempted. At least in theory these ten teams rely upon the 3-pointer for a large percentage of their offense, so I’d kind of expect their performances to be very “up and down”. (To have a wider than usual deviation in their level of performance.) If the 3-pointer abandoned them, they were screwed. The flipside is that maybe they can get hot and beat a better team.

Look what happened in the game that knocked them out of the tournament:

Team (Seed) 3DEP 3P% 2P% 3PA% 3P% in Loss 2P% in Loss
Creighton 7 1667 42.1 56.4 39.6 10.5 41.2
Iowa St. 10 1624 37 52.1 43.9 48.0 40.7
Florida 3 1539 38.1 54.9 40.4 20.0 45.7
Valparaiso 14 1493 37.5 56.1 39.8 28.0 41.4
Belmont 11 1485 37.6 57.1 39.5 29.6 50.0
SD St 13 1434 39.4 50.3 36.4 34.8 50.0
St. Mary’s 11 1421 37.3 53.2 38.1 20.0 37.2
Davidson 14 1409 36.6 52.2 38.5 35.3 44.8
Arizona 6 1376 36.3 50.3 37.9 33.3 50.0
Boise St. 13 1362 38.7 48.2 35.2 38.9 54.3
Total 38.1 53.1 38.9 31.0 45.4

Well, duh. They didn’t shoot well and they lost the game. They didn’t shoot well from 2 either. I’m sure that happened to a lot of the losers, regardless of how many 3’s they attempted. If something hadn’t gone wrong they’d still be playing. We don’t really learn anything from that.

Continuing to mess with data though — as a group those are some low seeds — 7 of the 10 teams are double digit seeds. They’d all be underdogs starting with their first game. Look at when they got knocked out of the tournament:

Team (Seed) Lost To Round?
Creighton 7 Duke Round of 32
Iowa St. 10 Ohio St Round of 32
Florida 3 Michigan Elite 8
Valparaiso 14 Michigan St Round of 64
Belmont 11 Arizona Round of 64
SD St 13 FGCU Round of 32
St. Mary’s 11 Memphis Round of 64
Davidson 14 Marquette Round of 64
Arizona 6 Ohio St Sweet 16
Boise St. 13 La Salle Play In

In aggregate the underdogs went 2-4 in their first “real” game (St Mary’s won their play-in game.) Given a fat enough money line of between +150 and +200,  maybe they’d be worth betting on. Hmm…

Here’s 2012:

2012 Team 3P% 3PA% 3DEP Round?
Florida 7 38.0 44.6 1695 Elite 8
Vanderbilt 5 38.8 41.2 1599 Round 32
Iowa St. 8 37.3 41.6 1552 Round 32
Belmont 14 38.1 40.1 1528 Round 64
Wisconsin 4 36.8 41.3 1520 Sweet 16
Missouri 2 39.8 37.9 1508 Round 64
Creighton 8 42.4 35.0 1484 Round 32
South Dakota St. 14 39.0 37.8 1474 Round 64
Duke 2 37.1 38.6 1432 Round 64
Nevada Las Vegas 6 36.7 38.9 1428 Round 64

Note the two upsets — both the #2 seeds lost. Is that useful? Maybe. But I am taking a note on it for later.

As far as the underdogs:  This year there were only two. And they both lost their first game. Our underdogs are now 2-6.

One more year. Here’s 2011:

2011 Team 3P% 3PA% 3DEP Round?
Belmont 13 37.8 42.3 1599 Round 64
Wisconsin 4 37.4 41.2 1541 Sweet 16
Virginia Commonwealth 11 37.0 41.2 1524 Final Four
Michigan 8 35.3 43.0 1518 Round 32
Northern Colorado 15 38.3 39.4 1509 Round 64
Notre Dame 2 38.6 38.6 1490 Round 32
Louisville 4 36.2 40.8 1477 Round 64
Arizona 5 39.7 36.1 1433 Elite 8
Richmond 12 39.0 36.6 1427 Sweet 16
Boston University 16 35.5 40.1 1424 Round 64

I wouldn’t bet a 16 seed to beat a one seed regardless, so we’re tossing that one out. That leaves four teams who combined to go 2-2 in their first game.  All three years combined for 4-6 (not counting St. Mary’s play-in game).

If we restrict it to only the #10, #11, and #12 seeds the record is 3-2. Maybe there’s something there. I may have to do more digging. Coincidentally, my only money-line bet this year was on #12 seed Oregon at +160, and that one worked out. But Oregon didn’t rely on 3’s — they were 138th out of 150 during the regular season…

The never-ending quest for an angle continues.

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