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Will Three Point Shooting Be Duke’s Downfall?

Hot three point shooting might make this team unbeatable but if it hasn’t shown up yet it probably won’t now.

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ACC Basketball Tournament - Championship
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 16: A fan of the Duke Blue Devils watches on during the championship game against the Florida State Seminoles in the 2019 Men’s ACC Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 16, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The question at Duke’s post-game press conference was a bit convoluted, although the thrust was clear.

The issue arose in the wake of the Blue Devils’ ACC Tournament title-game victory over Florida State. The Devils had made 2 of 14 3-pointers, one each by Cam Reddish and Tre Jones, against FSU. In all, they hit a painful 24.6 percent from the bonusphere in three tournament outings.

Par for the course for a squad that was the least accurate on threes of Krzyzewski’s tenure, hitting 30.2 percent on the 2019 season. By far the worst of his tenure.

“There have been games certainly this year where you guys have made 3-pointers,” the questioner began. “But the season numbers, they are what they are. How do you think that has shaped who you guys are as a tournament team going into next week where you play a game like tonight?”

Mike Krzyzewski didn’t quite answer the question, such as it was.

First he said, “We believe that we’re a good offensive team.” Then the coach veered into noting all four freshmen scored in double figures, and that the team committed “not too many turnovers” (13) and had a “very balanced” offense.

“Usually like when Zion was out, RJ had to put up a lot, and he’s put up a lot the whole year,” Krzyzewski continued, somewhat relevantly. Barrett made 30.4 percent of his three attempts, which were second-most on the squad. Against FSU, Barrett tried and missed four 3-pointers.

Before veering into discussion of Tre Jones’ scoring and playmaking, Krzyzewski said on the subject of long-distance dialing: “And then the two of them put up a lot together, and then tonight, though, Cam hit a big three.”

The coach meant Cam Reddish, who was 1 of 5 against Florida State, his made three coming with 1:24 to go to snuff the last FSU rally. On the year entering NCAA play, Reddish was 82 of 251 on 3-pointers, 32.7 percent accuracy.

To gauge the recently-minted champs’ relative prowess, we’ve listed the 3-point efficiency of all ACC Tournament champions during the last decade.

We’ve included threes made as an attempt of all converted field goals; the percent of made field goals overall that were threes; the percent of overall attempts that were threes; and the percentage of a team’s points achieved via 3-pointers.

The ’19 Devils don’t stack up so well, shooting plenty from long-distance without notable point production. Not the worst, but far from the best, especially among champs from Duke.

3-Point Prowess, Or Lack Thereof, By ACC Champions, 2010-19
(Current Season Stats Only Through Games of March 16)
Year Team W-L 3Pct 3M of All FGM %FGM3 %FGA3 %Pts3
2019 Duke 28-5 .305 245 of 1010 24.3 37.96 26.57
2018 Virginia 31-3 .383 247 of 848 29.1 34.98 35.46
2017 Duke 28-9 .379 311 of 1019 30.5 38.28 33.19
2016 UNC 33-7 .327 224 of 1235 18.1 26.75 20.30
2015 N Dame 32-6 .390 302 of 1050 28.8 37.60 30.58
2014 Virginia 30-7 .369 206 of 855 24.1 29.67 25.23
2013 Miami 29-7 .362 254 of 895 28.4 35.62 30.37
2012 FSU 25-10 .354 216 of 877 24.6 31.77 26.52
2011 Duke 32-5 .374 291 of 1040 28.0 35.27 29.17
2010 Duke 35-5 .385 301 of 1048 28.7 32.94 29.33
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