Ken Pomeroy revisited his study on whether defenses have a say in keeping opponents' 3-point field goal percentage down, and discovered that even when you find exceptions to the rule -- teams like Syracuse, which year-after-after hold teams to lower-than-average outside shooting numbers -- the effect is "indirect" and minor: "If you look at Syracuse’s 17 NCAA tournament games since 2004, opponents have made 32.8% of their threes, about 2% below the national average over that time. I don’t have any fancy math to prove this, but I would guess that’s about the influence of the Boeheim zone on opponents shooting: somewhere around 2 to 3%. A 40% team would be expected to shoot 37% against Syracuse or Eastern Michigan. In other words, you’d be better off assuming teams have no control over three-point defense than assuming swings over a two or three game stretch say anything about one’s defense. I’m willing to concede the Boeheim zone has some influence, but it’s small. … If you want to keep opponents from making three-point shots, your best move is to prevent them from taking those shots."
In other tempo-free news, we are now deep enough into conference play for John Gasaway to add the missing remaining leagues to his illuminating Tuesday Truths feature. There are a ton of takeaways, but the two are a) the A-10 is a confusing (but fun!) mess, and b) Florida is really really good: "Florida has opened the SEC season by playing about as well as the sport permits. Granted the first half at Georgia was no oil painting, but no conference opponent has presented Billy Donovan's team with even the hint of a second-half threat. It's easy enough to envision the Gators' level of play becoming more like that of a normal very good team, but when UF finds itself actually having to compete in the second half to win games the essentials of this situation will still be the same."
Kansas's Facebook presence asked its followers what they thought about the Jayhawks' blue-on-blue uniforms worn at West Virginia Monday night. The response was, shall we say, not positive.
His team may not be playing like it much anymore, but Virginia Tech guard Erick Green is still the nation's leading scorer. TechHoops.com plots his four-year evolution.
Syracuse forward Dajuan Coleman's injury will keep him out four weeks, which means the Orange will have just six scholarship players in the interim. The Post-Standard's Mike Waters asks (and answers): "How did one of the nation's perennial powers wind up with as many players as Hickory High in the movie Hoosiers?"
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar remains confident his team can make a run: "In other years, including two Sweet 16 years, we lost three games in a row in conference and we were able to come back. A couple of guys played more. Some guys played less. We finally got it. We finally caught on and went on to play good basketball. So we’ve been able to come back before."
The infamous Bradley Center Bat wasn't the bat Bradley Center deserved, but the one it needed Saturday. And now that its work is done, and notorious supervillain The Friar is behind bars, it can go live in a really nice house and walk around on a cane and grow its wispy beard out. As it should be.
A Pulitzer Prive-winning journalist is walking around the world — from Ethiopia to Patagonia — over the next seven years, and documenting his journey along the way. That has nothing to do with basketball, but I figured you should know.