These are the teams that can generate shots

Va Tech

Virginia Tech ranked No. 74 out of 75 major-conference teams for shot volume, and the Hokies’ offense was above-average anyway. What is this voodoo that you do, Buzz Williams?

Basketball’s a contest to see who can put the ball in the basket the most times, and for whatever reason fans, media, and, especially, coaches (at least when they speak for public consumption) have always chosen to focus on whether a particular attempt is a make or a miss. We go into exceptional and occasionally tedious detail on the importance of creating one’s own shot, the finer points of pick-and-roll kabuki (particularly on D), proper defensive stance and hand position and such.

All of which is self-evidently important, but all of which also assumes implicitly that the number of times you get to attempt a shot is more or less constant across teams and games. That assumption doesn’t hold up.

In addition to in-play success or failure, the volume of plays is the other 50 percent of the matter that’s getting perhaps five or 10 percent of the words and attention. To redress this imbalance, I’ve been using a shot volume index this season to try to measure which teams generate the most shots. I’ve listed the final results on that metric for 75 major-conference teams below.

North Carolina again leads the way, and I dare say what you see is what you get with the Tar Heels. When you watch a UNC game, you’re probably thinking “Gee, they’re good at offensive rebounding, and that must really help their offense.” True enough. I would only add that the Heels’ very good turnover rate super-charges said offensive rebounding. Baylor, to draw a counter-example, is also outstanding at crashing the offensive glass, but the Bears don’t give themselves nearly as many chances to do so.

One instance where our eyes might be leading us slightly astray is UCLA. When a team shoots historically well, that’s what we’ll be struck by, forcefully, in real time. We can’t help it. That’s fine, but we should also know that the Bruins improved significantly in the back half of the Pac-12 season both in terms of taking care of the ball and as far as offensive rebounding. Steve Alford’s team is now both accurate and high-volume. That’s a really, really exclusive club for offense, one that has Wisconsin in 2015 and not too many teams past or present as members.

Now the truth in advertising. Shot volume is not the end all and be all, and most particularly the existence of Northwestern and Virginia Tech in the same season did the SVI’s credibility no favors.

The Wildcats were shot-volume heroes, but their offense produced points at a level that was slightly below the league average in Big Ten play. Tying with Nebraska for the title of “worst non-Rutgers shooting from the field in B1G play” had a lot to do with that.

Meanwhile the Hokies were drop-dead awful at generating shots, but, particularly late in the season, Buzz Williams’ guys just could not miss. Basically, the ground rules for watching Virginia Tech are fairly straightforward. It really, really matters whether the first shot goes in (and it very often has of late against opponents not named Florida State), because better than four times out of five there will be no second shot.

Here are the final results, with pithy category titles at plus and minus one standard deviation:

Shot volume index (SVI)
Major-conference games only

Gluttonous	         TO%     OR%     SVI
1.  North Carolina      16.1    42.1    103.8
2.  Louisville          16.2    35.0    100.3
3.  Florida State       15.7    32.9     99.9
4.  Arizona             15.9    33.2     99.8
5.  UCLA                14.6    29.9     99.8
6.  Wisconsin           16.3    33.4     99.4
7.  Arkansas            15.5    30.1     98.8
8.  Butler              15.2    29.3     98.8
9.  Northwestern        15.1    28.9     98.7
10. Wake Forest         15.5    29.9     98.7
11. Oregon              15.4    29.5     98.6
12. Kentucky            16.3    31.4     98.5

Normal                   TO%     OR%     SVI
13. Minnesota           15.7    29.3     98.2
14. Colorado            17.6    33.5     97.9
15. Tennessee           16.3    30.2     97.9
16. Clemson             15.9    28.9     97.8
17. West Virginia       18.7    36.2     97.8
18. Notre Dame          14.5    25.3     97.7
19. Duke	        17.1    31.6     97.6
20. Xavier              18.9    35.7     97.4
21. Arizona State       13.7    22.4     97.2
22. Kansas              18.7    34.9     97.2
23. Michigan            14.5    24.1     97.1
24. Washington          18.4    33.7     97.1
25. Auburn              17.6    31.6     97.0
26. Florida             17.2    30.3     96.9
27. Oklahoma State      19.1    35.1     96.9
28. USC                 17.0    29.9     96.9
29. Nebraska            18.8    34.1     96.8
30. Virginia            16.0    26.8     96.7
31. California          19.0    34.1     96.5
32. South Carolina      18.6    33.0     96.5
33. Syracuse            17.4    29.9     96.5
34. Illinois            16.8    28.3     96.4
35. Iowa State          14.5    22.7     96.4
36. Iowa                18.7    32.8     96.3
37. Rutgers             19.9    35.7     96.2
38. Seton Hall          19.7    35.3     96.2
39. Baylor              22.3    42.2     96.1
40. Texas Tech          17.2    28.4     96.0
41. Villanova           18.0    30.3     96.0
42. Maryland            18.1    30.4     95.9
43. Utah                17.7    29.1     95.8 (average, huzzah)
44. Marquette           17.7    28.0     95.3
45. Miami	        19.1    31.7     95.3
46. Missouri            17.5    27.7     95.3
47. Stanford            18.2    29.0     95.1
48. Ohio State          18.5    29.4     95.0
49. Oklahoma            19.4    31.6     94.9
50. Pitt                18.4    29.0     94.9
51. Purdue              18.0    28.1     94.9
52. Alabama             21.1    35.3     94.6
53. St. John's          17.0    24.9     94.6
54. LSU                 19.1    29.9     94.5
55. Penn State          17.7    26.0     94.3
56. Providence          18.1    26.8     94.2
57. Ole Miss            19.6    30.3     94.1
58. NC State            19.3    29.6     94.1
59. Georgia             18.6    27.4     93.9
60. Vanderbilt          17.5    22.9     93.1
61. Indiana             21.3    34.2     93.8
62. TCU                 20.5    31.9     93.8
63. Kansas State        19.4    28.7     93.6
64. Creighton           17.4    23.0     93.3

Starving                 TO%     OR%     SVI
65. Texas A&M           22.7    35.9     92.9
66. Georgetown          20.2    27.5     92.1
67. DePaul              20.0    26.6     92.0
68. Georgia Tech        19.3    24.6     91.9
69. Michigan State      20.5    27.5     91.8
70. Texas               20.7    27.8     91.7
71. Mississippi State   20.6    27.4     91.6
72. Boston College      19.2    23.4     91.4
73. Washington State    17.8    20.0     91.4
74. Virginia Tech       18.0    19.9     91.2
75. Oregon State        21.9    26.6     89.8