One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Key To Structural Integrity

What's the best way to defend the three-point line? This is a really interesting comparison of the different philosophies that govern perimeter defenses in college basketball--there are schools like Wisconsin (and Duke) that prefer to limit three-point attempts, while other schools worry less about raw attempt totals and emphasize good positioning and strong close-outs to (in theory) limit three-point accuracy.

The Ryan Doctrine: "Young people are getting to be such prolific scorers from long range -- I see it in high-school and AAU games, and all the shooting drills kids do in workouts -- so the toughest shot, lately, is the mid-range jumper. I would much rather have people taking a two-point jumper than a three where they catch the ball with their feet pointed toward the rim."

On the one hand, there are coaches building great defenses with Ryan's (and Rick Majerus') underlying philosophy, and on the other, there's Florida State where they "have the old-school belief that if you can keep the ball away from the easiest shots, and challenge the toughest ones, you'll have a higher percentage of winning."

For the most part, NC State hasn't skewed one way or the other over the last 10 years.

NCSU Defense Opp 3FGA/FGA Opp 3FG%
2003 (HS) 32.0 33.8
2004 (HS) 32.4 31.3
2005 (HS) 30.7 34.7
2006 (HS) 32.2 31.0
2007 (SL) 32.5 36.6
2008 (SL) 27.7 36.8
2009 (SL) 29.0 33.4
2010 (SL) 26.3 30.9
2011 (SL) 27.3 32.0
2012 (MG) 33.2 33.2

Opp 3FGA/FGA = Opponents' three-point attempts as a percentage of total field goal attempts.
Opp 3FG% = Opponents' three-point field goal percentage.

State did lean toward the Ryan/Majerus/K end of the spectrum during the Sidney Lowe years, but that could just as easily have been the result of a--shall we say--forgiving interior defense rather than an actual strategy. But that's another discussion. Personally I think the logic is a little sounder at this end of the spectrum, and no it's not entirely because I have a man-crush on Bo Ryan. That he was able to force opponents to take a quarter of their jump shots from "worst shot in college basketball" range is incredible, though.

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