Put the Ball in the Basket!

How well do you need to shoot the ball to win it all? As we continue our look at the Last Ten Champions at each level, we come to the analysis of shooting percentages. Namely, True Shooting Percentage and Effective Field Goal Percentage.

As a refresher from previous blog entries, True Shooting Percentage factors in free throws so a good free throw shooting team and one that gets to the line more frequently is rewarded in this category. Effective Field Goal Percentage gives an added boost to three-pointers so the more of those you make (and that’s the key, you have to make them) the more effective you’re being from a points standpoint.

On the men’s side, no level averaged under 57% on true shooting and 53% in effective field goal percentage.

Level True Shooting % Effective Field Goal %
NCAA D2 60.1% 56.5%
NCAA D3 59.6% 56.1%
NAIA D2 59.3% 55.4%
NCAA D1 57.6% 53.2%
NAIA D1 57.1% 52.9%

On the women’s side, the highest average true shooting percentage is at the D1 level with 58.5%. The next best is almost 3% less. Same is true of effective field goal percentage where 55% is almost 3.5% percentage.  As we’ve discussed in previous entries about recent champions on the women’s side, this is the UConn effect – they’ve won six of the last ten titles and their data overwhelms that category.

Level True Shooting % Effective Field Goal %
NCAA D1 58.5% 55.1%
NAIA D2 55.9% 51.7%
NCAA D2 55.4% 51.4%
NAIA D1 55.3% 51.7%
NCAA D3 52.8% 49.0%

When you’re looking at your own team and thinking about how to get to one of these levels, make sure you understand the levers that need to be pulled in order to raise either of these numbers.

With True Shooting Percentage, if you’re not a great perimeter shooting team, this could be a great way to explain to your team that being more aggressive and getting to the free throw line is going to make a palpable difference to your team’s shooting percentage and hence, overall success.

With Effective Field Goal Percentage, shot selection is really more of the issue.  So many teams now take more and more three-pointers, but some teams just aren’t skilled enough for that to be effective for them.  This stat could be a good indicator of poor shot selection and how better shots can drive this number up, even if they aren’t three-pointers.

In either case, knowing the level at which the recent champions have been shooting, should be a great bar for your team this upcoming season!

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