Will Michigan's "three point defense" improve?

Dylan noted in his nonconference review that Michigan had gotten somewhat “unlucky” in its three-point defense. In other words, Michigan prevented teams from taking a lot of 3s – something kenpom notes teams can control – but the teams hit a large percentage of them – something kenpom believes is largely out of a teams control.

That trend has continued through 2 B1G games. Iowa hit 58% of its 19 3s against UM, well above its 38% average. PSU, a team hitting 35% of its 19 3s, hit 42% against UM, and Josh Reaves, who had hit 8 of his first 59 3s in college, went 2 for 3. Neither team took a ton but made a lot.

Now, I do think Michigan’s defense has something to do with this – poor closeouts, letting opposing players feel comfortable shooting, etc. But there is some hope that Michigan’s 3 point defensive luck will improve in the future.

Interesting observation and discussion. I’ve always thought that our lack of physicality allowed other teams to keep their legs longer and shoot better. I don’t know how that translates statistically but when I coached (small HS ball…) I always wanted my offense to wear down my opponent simply to prevent them from shooting as well. Movement, Screens, attacking the glass, quick transitions, etc.

I don’t know that our offense does that, and maybe at this level it doesn’t matter. I do hope Donlon gets his hands dirty in practice and tweaks a few things.

I actually had this exact conversation with my brother after the game. We’ve been extraordinarily unlucky with that recently. I forget the exact numbers but he said (and he knows a lot more about the statistics side of it than me) that if a team’s 3pt defense is 45% for the first half of the year they’ll revert to about 36% for the rest of the year, and if they give up 25% for the first half then it’ll be 35% (Like I said, numbers are rough estimates, I forget what the ones he said were). AKA three point defense has a tiny impact on percentages but it’s mostly just luck based and some teams happen to get unlucky over a season.

Yeah, even if you don’t believe that teams have as little effect on opponents’ 3pt% as kenpom suggests, and it does seem a little counter-intuitive, Michigan has been even more “unlucky” than their somewhat lackluster defense would account for.

Yes, but sadly, I don’t believe it’s that a team with “bad” 3pt defense will revert to the average, it’s that the average of teams with “bad” 3 pt defenses will revert. In other words, 3pt defense has little if any predictive value. A team with “bad” – i.e., unlucky – 3 pt defense for the first half of the season is just as likely to have a “good” 3 pt defense going forward as a team with “good” defense so far.

Let’s just hope we’re not one of those teams that gets unlucky for the whole year.

Kenpom has touched on “3pt defense” quite a bit. The conclusion is that good defense doesn’t affect 3pt % (much at all), but rather total number of 3pt FGs made.

In other words:
-A team hitting an unusually high % of their shots is bad luck.
-A team hitting an unusually high number of 3pt FGs is bad defense.

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Michigan has done a really good job of limiting 3PA this year – 22nd nationally. So that’s something, but I wouldn’t say they are necessarily good at closing out and it doesn’t surprise me when guys shoot over Irvin, Duncan, DJ, MAAR, etc.

Still something to watch though.

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I don’t think that’s different from what I’ve been saying, but are you suggesting it is? The only way a team can control how many 3pt FGs the opposition makes, if it can’t control the 3 pt FG%, is to control the number of attempts. But maybe I’m missing something?

No I don’t think it is

Huh, I didn’t realize they were that high. IF 3pt FG% really is (even largely) out of the team’s control and Michigan has just gotten unlucky, then they could be in line for a significant uptick in defensive success. If they can also start boxing out on free throws then they could really have something!

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Okay, good…

I think without strength/size underneath that opens up the opponent for ‘step in’ looks from 3pt. Many times the wings and guards get trapped inside with help defense, and the spacing gets screwed up.

Or shooting over x. That defensive sub did not seem to help vs penn state.

Perhaps a new thread but how about our 3P%? Seems like we miss a lot of good looks, especially against Iowa, except for DJ

Eh, I thought that too but after looking at the stats MAAR is the only player who I can really complain about in terms of shooting threes. Irvin is 36%, Walton is 40%, Wagner is 47%, Robinson is 40%, Wilson is 38%. MAAR shooting 29% is the main thing bringing our shooting down. Well I guess if you count Ibi’s 7% then there’s two problems…

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Maybe most of my memories are from robinsons early struggles and maars in general; and fewer from Walton and Irvin than I thought.

I agree with you that it definitely feels like we miss too many wide open shots though.

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Walton gives guys WAY too much space in late shot clock ISO situations. Trimble and Cowan both hit huge ones over him that were just too easy

Maryland hit literally every three today. So frustrating.

Team shoots 67% on our floor. Ouch. Maybe, uh, get your hand up?

We can’t keep our man in front of us. So we rotate - late - and also give up wide open kickouts.