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ACC Gangs That Couldn't Shoot Straight

Some times you just can’t count on offense

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 07 ACC Tournament - Wake Forest v Boston College
BROOKLYN, NY - MARCH 07: Boston College Eagles guard Jordan Chatman (25) during the first half of the 2017 New York Life ACC Tournament first round game between the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the Boston College Eagles on March 7, 2017, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn,NY.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Back in the old days, before the 3-pointer and hurrying shot clock were instituted, you’d expect team field goal percentages were generally higher than they are now. You know, all that working the ball inside for high percentage shots, passing up the good shot for the better shot, focused inside out. No special reward for long-distance field goal tries.

Well, history says otherwise.

In fact, in the ACC’s early years it was not unusual to have one or several teams make under 40 percent of their attempts from the floor. Twice the preponderance of ACC squads shot that poorly overall — 6 of 8 in 1955 and again in 1959.

The average NCAA team field goal percentage didn’t rise above 40 percent until 1961 (.407).

Since the mid-60s, however, ACC teams dropped below the 40 percent threshold only four times, none since 1997.

A pair of squads, BC and Pitt, came awfully close last season, though, recording two of the league’s seven worst shooting performances from the floor in the past half-century.

BC’s Jim Christian, Pitt’s Jeff Capel, and Clemson’s Brad Brownell are the active ACC coaches who directed the most inaccurate collections of marksmen.

Brownell is barely in the mix with a squad that shot a sour but somewhat more palatable .4089 in 2015. Those Tigers were among the four worst-shooting modern ACC units that managed to post more wins than losses.

The Tigers weren’t in a class with last year’s gangs that couldn’t shoot straight.

Last season Boston College hit .4024 of its field goal tries, fifth-worst in the last 50 years in the ACC. No BC stalwart made even 45 percent of his shots from the floor. This despite a single Eagle regular enduring the distortion of trying a majority of his field goals from the bonusphere.

Sorry to say, the ‘20 Boston College squad was not an outlier under Christian. His 2016 unit trailed the rest of the league in shooting accuracy at .4095, 15th worst since the 1960s.

Pitt hit a miserable .4044 from the floor last season with a lone player (juco Ryan Murphy) shooting predominantly from beyond the arc. Three regulars also converted better than 46 percent of their tries, among them 12-game starter Terrell Brown, who hit .525 percent of his attempts from the floor while ranking seventh on the squad in tries.

Like Christian, Bobby Cremins twice presided over teams that fell to the bottom of the ACC in field goal efficiency. Cremins’ Georgia Tech squads did it as the last century ended.

Misfires have grown in frequency lately. Despite the apparently ever-expanding time and intensive coaching applied to perfecting players’ games, six of the worst 13 modern team field goal percentages were posted since 2015, when the ACC grew to 15 members.

Must be the defenses.

Lowest Field Goal Pct. By ACC Team, Last 50 Years
FG% School Season Record
.3870 Virginia 1994 18-13
.3892 Maryland 1968 8-16
.3961 Clemson 1968 4-20
.3962 Georgia Tech 1997 9-18
.4024 Boston College 2020 13-19
.4043 Clemson 2000 10-20
.4044 Pittsburgh 2020 16-17
.4046 Wake Forest 1998 16-14
.4054 Virginia Tech 2011 22-12
.4057 Virginia Tech 2014 9-22
.4076 Boston College 2012 9-22
.40776 Georgia Tech 2000 13-17
.40777 Georgia Tech 2015 12-19
.4089 Clemson 2015 16-15
.4095 Boston College 2016 7-25