Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Cannon Casey at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cannon_casey.
Colorado basketball was tied for 193rd in division I basketball last year with a .340 shooting percentage on 3-point shots. The Buffs are on fire from deep this year. They are shooting .433 – good for 9th overall in division I basketball.
Last year’s team went 16-18 and with a 6-1 start this season, you can’t overlook the importance that three point shooting has had for this year’s team.
Colorado has shot better from deep than every team they’ve played this year except for Nebraska-Omaha and Portland. The latter saw Colorado nearly dead even with Portland at 36.8 percent for the Buffs against Portland’s 37 percent.
The percentage comparisons are as follows: they shot 39 percent compared to Iowa State’s 20 percent, 53.3 percent to Auburn’s 41.7 percent, 52 percent to Air Force’s 45.5 percent, 43.5 percent to Northern Colorado’s 14.3 percent, and 50 percent to Fort Lewis’ 42.3 percent.
The point is that Colorado is not only shooting better than their opponents, but they are also shooting the lights out. With about 43 percent shooting, it’s better than 338 other teams in division I basketball.
Colorado’s consistency from deep will make the difference against better teams. Four of the teams that made it to the Elite Eight last year ranked in the top 30 teams in three point shooting. Duke, the eventual national champion, and Michigan State were tied for 30th in three point shooting, while Gonzaga was ranked 4th and Notre Dame was 18th.
It’s not a coincidence that four of the nation’s best eight teams shot that well from behind the arc.
Colorado probably won’t be an elite eight team, but what the Buffaloes’ improved shooting will do is help them compete when they stop playing teams with the talent level of Northern Colorado or Fort Lewis.
Having that range forces teams to guard the perimeter, which opens up opportunities inside for easy buckets as well as offensive rebounds. If you spread the defense out, life gets a lot easier for guys like Josh Scott who operate best within five feet of the basket.
And once Scott gets going inside, the Buffs can start to kick it outside again and have George King and company continue to rain down from three. Dom Collier has the highest three point percentage out of the Buffaloes. He plays significant minutes with .474, while King and Josh Fortune are right behind him with .469.
The Buffaloes have the potential to be very dangerous offensively with King, Collier, Fortune and Tre’Shaun Fletcher being a big threat from the perimeter. They are also large contributors in the Buffs’ minutes this year.
Colorado needs to continue their success from three if they want to continue their success in the win column.