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February 24, 2014

Oklahoma needs to shoot efficiently

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A couple weeks ago a reporter asked Kansas coach Bill Self a question. He wanted to know what were the things he taught the Jayhawks that led to their being one of the best shooting teams in the country.

Only five teams in Division I shoot 50 percent or better from the floor. KU leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage and ranks second in the nation in shooting at 50.3 percent a game.

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Self's answer showed how much he values field goal percentage as a stat.

"Well, I think shooting percentage is just like defensive shooting percentage. It can be overrated sometimes," Self said. "You shoot 50 percent from 2 and don't attempt any 3s, then obviously it's not quite as good as what you think.

"You should really look at what is your adjusted field goal percentage based on your percentage of 3s and what percentage of 3s you make."

Self said he thought his team's shot selection has been above average this season, but so has the Jayhawks' effective shooting percentage -- or their adjusted field goal percentage as he called it.

KU ranks No. 10 in the country in effective shooting at 55.3 percent. That's outstanding, and better still when you take into account its ability to make baskets inside the arc.

The Jayhawks make 56.3 percent of their 2-pointers, which account for nearly 56 percent of their points. But only 38.9 percent of their shots have been 2-point jumpers.

Where the Jayhawks do the most damage is at the rim. The majority of their shot attempts -- 43.8 percent -- come right underneath the basket, and they convert most of them.

According to hoop-math.com, the average Division I team makes 60.9 percent of its attempts at the rim. Kansas makes 67.6 percent of its attempts at the rim.

With center Joel Embiid, forward Perry Ellis and the hockey line of Tarik Black and Jamari Traylor in the post, the Jayhawks are also adept at defending the rim.

Teams make just over 52 percent of their shots at the rim against Kansas -- or nearly 10 percent less than the Division I average. Embiid and Ellis combine for more than 24 points and 14 boards per game.

"They're very poised, and everyone on the floor can hurt you," said OU coach Lon Kruger.

Beating Kansas on the inside is not impossible, but it's not the way the Sooners should attack the Jayhawks at 8 tonight at Allen Fieldhouse.

They were able to run with Kansas when the Jayhawks played in Norman due in large part to senior Cameron Clark 32 points. But OU hit just 6-of-19 3-pointers in that game and were outrebounded, 36-22.

Sophomore Ryan Spangler grabbed just three boards all night and scored just four points. Both of those things will have to change for the Sooners to have an opportunity to not just make a game of it but win in Lawrence, Kan.

The game will have to look a lot like the one they played last Saturday against Kansas State where OU's effective shooting percentage was 60 percent, four players finished in double figures scoring and 44 percent of their made baskets were assisted.

The Sooners are at their best when they're shooting for a high percentage and sharing the ball. Thing is, shooting for a higher percentage and sharing the ball is how Kansas has climbed atop the Big 12 standings.

There's no reason to think KU won't play like it has since the start of the New Year, and Kruger is expecting Self's squad to play like a top 10 team.

"Kansas is clearly one of the best teams in the country, and Allen Fieldhouse is a great place to play, great atmosphere," he said. "Our guys have a ton of respect for Kansas. But athletes look forward to those types of challenges."



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