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2013 NCAA Tournament: Wichita State Needs To Stay Hot With The Three

Wichita State's main game is playing tough defense, swarming the boards and creating turnovers. Offensively though, the Shockers have a clutch weapon in their three-point shooting to create havoc.


Three point shooting is where many teams live and die. You tend to see it in teams like La Salle and Boise State where the play-makers are mostly guards who shoot from either just inside the arc, or more likely, outside the arc, 40-50% of the game.

Wichita State is not one of those teams. Most of their scoring will come from their forwards Cleanthony Early or Carl Hall. Early is a different kind of forward however: one who will occasionally shoot a three-point field goal when he's hot.

Outside of the first game in the NCAA Tournament, where neither Wichita State or Pitt could make a three-pointer to save their lives, the Shockers have made 45% of their attempted shots beyond the arc. This isn't just from a small sample either: Wichita State has averaged 20 three-point attempts in those games (as well as the first game).

Early, surprisingly, is not the go to three-point shooter on this team: Malcolm Armstead, Ron Baker, Tekele Cotton and Fred Van Vleet have all contributed to this high percentage. What makes this team especially intriguing from beyond the arc is that when one player is hot, all of them seem to warm up simultaneously. By understanding the fact that many of the three-pointers that are being made come off the transition, one then realizes, that Wichita State becomes more dangerous than what is just seen on paper.

Compare this to Louisville, who has not shot well from the three-point line in this tournament (only shooting 4-13 on average, but in contrast has averaged 82.0 PPG compared to Wichita State's 72.8 PPG). For the Shockers to have a chance to win, they don't need to go gung-ho on attempting three-pointers, but they need to stay efficient in making them.

Louisville will not make the same mistake that Ohio State did, in underestimating the Shockers. The mistake that the Shockers will have to capitalize on, is Louisville defending the wrong man and the three-point opportunity that will open up gradually.