As Gonzaga fans, it seems one of our favorite pastimes is ragging on our team about perimeter defense. Contested, uncontested, half-court, off-balance circus shots all falling in for three; we have seen it all. Our favorable tourney seeding could very well hinge on two crucial games this week, at St. Mary’s and San Francisco. It just so happens that these two teams favor the long ball. All I can hope is that we really are as good as most analysts and CBB experts say we are and believe that our inside-out game works, our perimeter defense can disrupt enough shots that they don’t fall, and that we have worked hard this week on rebounding and defending the pick and roll.
However, unable to shake the uneasy feeling about the possible outcomes for these games, I decided to review St. Mary’s and San Francisco’s season, hoping to assuage my fears about their proficiency at connecting with the 3 ball. I also checked to see overall this season the percentage of three pointers that were shot and made against us.
- 37.8 percent of all St. Mary’s shots are three pointers, connecting on 39.5 percent (207/524)
- 36 percent of all San Francisco’s shots are three pointers, connecting on 40.6 percent (189/465)
- 30 percent of all Gonzaga’s shots are three pointers, connecting on 38.5 percent (162/421)
- We have shot fewer treys this year than St. Mary’s and San Francisco. St. Mary’s has taken 103 more 3 point attempts than us, and San Francisco has attempted 44 more than us.
- 37.4 percent of our opponents shot selection against us have been three pointers, connecting on just 32.8 percent. 515 three pointers have been attempted against us.
So, does this really help define if we are lousy at perimeter defense? Maybe on any given night but I think overall we have been performing much better. Am I more relaxed about the games this week? Maybe. I might be able to sleep tonight knowing that teams are not blowing us out of the gyms with three point precision.
Then again, I read a story about Rivalry Week and how Moraga has been talking about this game since November. When the entire town and student body wait all season for the Big Dogs to come to town, anything can happen, especially the three point half-court off balance circus shot that wins the game….for us….by Rem! It is about time a little luck falls our way.