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Barry Jacobs On Three Point Futility

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When Maryland rallied to defeat N.C. State the other evening, the Terrapins did a peculiar thing. Or, rather, they did not do a familiar thing.

Namely, the Terps attempted only one shot from 3-point range. And missed.

That reluctance to try threes harkens to 1987, when the shot was new and ACC coaches as dissimilar as Georgia Tech's Bobby Cremins and Virginia's Terry Holland minimized its use. The thought then was to remain firm in accenting the importance of feeding the post, and to avoid riskier shots from the far perimeter even if the point-payoff might be great.

The '87 Cavaliers attempted 130 3-pointers in 31 games, an average of 4.2 tries per outing. The Yellow Jackets risked 162 in 29 games, a 5.6 average. "We were playing everything so close to the vest I couldn't afford to have a sail flapping and have it tear up the other sails," Holland explained at the time.

The other six teams in the ACC that season each tried more than twice as many threes as either Georgia Tech or Virginia.

The next year Georgia Tech added McDonald's All-American Dennis Scott, a cagey bombardier, and Cremins' accent shifted. (Not his Bronx accent, his strategic accent.) Scott single-handedly attempted 292 threes in 1988, exactly the combined tries for the entire teams at both Georgia Tech and UVa the previous season.

To lend further perspective: Duke, the 2011 ACC leader in 3-point accuracy (.389), has attempted as many 3-pointers in its last eight games as Georgia Tech or Virginia ventured during the entire 1987 season.

The current Terps are not the ACC's most sparing in learning to love the bomb in 2011, but they're close. Maryland launches 13.4 times per game from the bonusphere. The only ACC squad that averages fewer tries from long range is N.C. State, with 13.2 through its loss at College Park.

Maryland's Gary Williams explains his team simply plays to its strengths, starting with center Jordan Williams and forward Dino Gregory. "It's not a conscious effort," the coach says. "We have to go to Jordan inside first."

In an up-and-down, defense-lite shootout against the Wolfpack, that emphasis on post production resulted in the 0-1 effort on threes, a miss by wing Sean Mosley (.225 on the year).

"We didn't have to shoot threes," Williams says. "We were getting the ball inside to Jordan. Dino was scoring. (Terrell) Stoglin was penetrating."

As a whole, Maryland ranks in the middle of the ACC in 3-point accuracy -- .340, virtually tied with N.C. State for seventh. But no Terp attempting more than one three per game is particularly accurate from beyond the arc. So Williams' group uses the shot judiciously, twice posting the fewest attempts and conversions in a 2011 contest involving an ACC squad.

Fewest 3-Pointers Made by ACC Teams in 2011
Three Pointers
Made Attempted School Result Opponent
0 1 Maryland Won N.C. State
0 6 Maryland Won Georgia Tech
1 8 Virginia Tech Won Florida State
1 10 N.C. State Won East Carolina
1 10 N.C. State Lost Duke
1 11 Miami Won Akron
1 11 North Carolina Won Kentucky
1 11 Virginia Tech Lost Georgia Tech
1 12 N.C. State Won Delaware State
Fewest and Most Threes Tried By Each ACC Team in 2011
School Fewest Made, Opponent Most Tried, Opponent
BC 3-19 vs. Yale (L) 32, made 13 vs. South Carolina (W)
C 3-16 vs. South Carolina (L) 29, made 7 vs. Michigan (L)
29, made 9 vs. North Carolina (L)
29, made 10 vs. North Carolina (L)
D 5-20 vs. Virginia (W) 35, made 11 vs. Florida State (L)
5-26 vs. St. John's (L)
FS 3-17 vs. Ohio State (L) 28, made 10 vs. Butler (L)
3-17 vs. Miami (W)
GT 2-11 vs. Richmond (W) 31, made 13 vs. Charlotte (L)
2-15 vs. Clemson (L)
M 0-1 vs. N.C. State (W) 28, made 10 vs. Longwood (W)
0-6 vs. Georgia Tech (L)
Mi 1-11 vs. Akron (W) 33, made 13 vs. Florida Gulf Coast (W)
NC 1-11 vs. Kentucky (W) 27, made 5 vs. Wake Forest (W)
NS 1-10 vs. East Carolina (W) 23, made 8 vs. Syracuse (L)
1-10 vs. Duke (L)
V 2-20 vs. Seattle (L) 30, made 11 vs. Florida State (L)_
VT 1-8 vs. Florida State (W) 25, made 9 vs. Mississippi State (W)
1-11 vs. Georgia Tech (L)
WF 2-10 vs. Presbyterian (L) 26, made 8 vs. Stetson (L)
2-15 vs. Georgia Tech (L)
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