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So Guess Who Led The ACC In Three Point Field Goal Percentage Defense Last Season?

Probably wasn’t your first guess.

Georgia Tech v Kentucky
LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 14: Head coach Josh Pastner of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets doing his best Jim Valvano impression.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Few observers, casual or close, would point to Georgia Tech as an ACC defensive power. No knock on Josh Pastner, but who knew?

Georgia Tech’s status as a negligible ACC defensive power was established long before Pastner became the head coach in 2017. For instance, the program led the ACC in scoring defense once – in 1980, the year it joined the conference.

Field goal percentage defense? Tech led five times in its 40 years as an ACC member, most recently in Pastner’s first season.

Blocked shots? Three times, including in Pastner’s inaugural season at Atlanta.

Steals? Twice, most recently in 2011.

Not much of a tradition.

But last year the Yellow Jackets did an excellent job of extending their defense, sometimes with zone alignments, to stifle opponents’ 3-point accuracy. Their rivals’ .285 conversion rate ranked a smidge behind the 2014 Clemson squad as the fourth-best ACC 3-point defense in this century.

We can’t forget that 2020 saw a longer 3-pointer go into effect, matching the international distance at 22 feet, 1.75 inches. That surely affected accuracy. Even so, the longer shot influenced everyone, and Georgia Tech was less permissive than any other ACC program and one of the most restrictive in recent memory.

Incidentally, Duke led the ACC in 3-point defense six times in this century, more than any other program, and posted three of the seven best efforts.

Best 3-Point Defense To Lead ACC During Season This Century
Opp 3% Year School Opp 3M-3A
.280 2012 Virginia Tech 155-554
.283 2010 Duke 158-559
.28524 2014 Clemson 172-603
.28571 2020 Georgia Tech 168-588
.2889 2019 Virginia 245-848
.2904 2013 Duke 160-551
.293 2017 Duke 187-639
.297 2004 Georgia Tech 218-733
.300 2015 North Carolina 247-822
.3019 2007 Maryland 205-679
.3027 2002 Duke 168-555
.30361 2006 Duke 143-471
.30396 2009 Wake Forest 207-681
.305 2008 Clemson 171-561
.30618 2011 Florida State 233-761
.30622 2005 Duke 128-418
.3069 2016 Syracuse 259-844
.310 2018 Virginia 215-694
.312 2001 Wake Forest 167-536
.322 2003 Maryland 208-646