Meet the nation’s best teams at taking shots

meeks

The man is a shot-volume super-hero…and, in a very different way, so too is Markelle Fultz. (dailytarheel.com)

If you’ve wondered how North Carolina can shoot a hair worse than the league average in ACC play yet still lead the conference in offense, the answer is shot volume.

Thanks in part to the Tar Heels’ accuracy-agnostic exertions, sheer volume has actually outperformed effective field goal percentage in predicting an ACC team’s scoring in conference play thus far. (Which, for the record, is highly weird and unusual and purely a function of eFG correlating in an aberrantly poor manner in this single instance. The weird state of affairs will correct toward normalcy, this being a sport where putting the ball in the basket tends to translate very well into scoring. Still, this volume stuff does beat the predictive pants off of plain old turnover and offensive rebound rates alone.)

Here are your shot volume leaders, stragglers, and mean-huggers in major-conference play, with handy categorical labels at one standard deviation on either side of the average. Teams that appear at or near the bottom have offenses that are more susceptible to being hurt by an off shooting night. Conversely if you’re near the top of the list and your offense is bad anyway, you may be looking at issues of misplaced two-point-jumper devotion, the wrong guy taking your shots, etc.

Shot volume index (SVI)

Conference games only
Through January 25
                        SVI
Voracious
1.  North Carolina     102.5
2.  Washington         101.6
3.  Wisconsin          101.3
4.  Louisville         100.7
5.  Kentucky           100.1
6.  West Virginia      100.1

Normal
7.  Oregon              99.6
8.  Northwestern        99.4
9.  Arizona             99.3
10. Butler              99.3
11. Nebraska            99.3
12. Tennessee           99.0
13. Cal                 98.8
14. Kansas              98.4
15. Arkansas            98.4
16. Utah                98.0
17. USC                 97.9
18. Syracuse            97.8
19. Florida State       97.6
20. Iowa State          97.6
21. Arizona State       97.6
22. Florida             97.2
23. Illinois            97.1
24. Colorado            97.1
25. Michigan            97.1
26. Marquette           97.0
27. Auburn              97.0
28. Xavier              96.9
29. Indiana             96.8
30. Wake Forest         96.8
31. Notre Dame          96.7
32. UCLA                96.6
33. South Carolina      96.5
34. Duke                96.1
35. Clemson             96.1
36. Ohio State          96.0
37. LSU                 96.0  Average, congrats
38. Oklahoma State      95.6
39. Alabama             95.6
40. Iowa                95.6
41. Minnesota           95.5
42. Villanova           95.4
43. Texas Tech          95.2
44. Pitt                95.0
45. Creighton           95.0
46. Virginia            94.9
47. Miami               94.8
48. Baylor              94.7
49. Stanford            94.7
50. Seton Hall          94.6
51. Vanderbilt          94.5
52. Rutgers             94.4
53. Kansas State        94.3
54. Missouri            94.3
55. TCU                 94.2
56. Georgia Tech        94.0
57. Purdue              93.9
58. Virginia Tech       93.8
59. DePaul              93.8
60. Georgetown          93.8
61. NC State            93.5
62. Mississippi State   93.5
63. Oklahoma            93.5
64. Maryland            93.4
65. St. John's          93.4

Starving
66. Penn State          93.0
67. Washington State    92.7
68. Georgia             92.7
69. Providence          92.3
70. Michigan State      91.7
71. Boston College      90.9
72. Texas A&M           90.5
73. Oregon State        90.4
74. Ole Miss            89.9
75. Texas               89.2

Let stylistic pluralism reign. Shot volume can be the product of beastly offensive rebounding, but it doesn’t have to be. Take a closer look at Nos. 1 and 2….

Turnover and offensive rebound percentages
Conference games only
                       TO%      OR%      SVI
1.  North Carolina    17.8     43.9     102.5   
2.  Washington        14.2     32.6     101.6 

Not every team is going to be able to be historically great on the offensive glass, but the Washington Model is eminently doable. Take fanatically good care of the ball, and get something around 31 or 32 percent of your misses. (See also Notre Dame last year.) You’ll be amazed at how good your offense can be as long as you’re not actually, you know, Washington in 2017. Speaking of which….

Markelle Fultz is doing amazing and largely unseen things. If his teammates could make shots and secure an occasional defensive rebound, Fultz’s amazingness would actually pay dividends in the here and now. When he gets to the next level and he’s playing with guys who can put the ball in the basket, I suspect something rather seismic could take place. Markelle, if you need an agent, I’m available.

More shots can cure what ails salty Tom Izzo. Michigan State plays better than average defense and has connected on 52 percent of its twos and 39 percent of its threes in Big Ten play. All the pieces are in place for another nationwide eruption of “He did it again!” Izzo euphoria if the Spartans would only hang on to the ball and add four or five percentage points to their offensive rebound rate.