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Indiana men’s basketball and the three point shot

It’s a complicated relationship.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 07 Florida Gulf Coast at Indiana Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The year is 2023.

Indiana men’s basketball’s opponents have combined for 72 shots from deep in two games, connecting on 26 of them. As for the Hoosiers themselves? They’ve attempted... 24.

If it feels like Indiana’s

The last time the Hoosiers were anywhere near the top-100 of the 3PA/FGA category in KenPom was the final year of the Crean era, 2016-17, where they finished at 116. The year before that there were at 57.

For the past few years Indiana has hovered somewhere around the 300s. There are only about 351 teams at the Division-I level. Archie Miller’s teams were rather notorious for their reluctance and overall inability to shoot 3-pointers and that carried into the first two years of the Woodson era.

It’s rather wild that a team from Indiana of all places, where every dude in the state is expected to have at least a shot form, eschews attempts from the arc.

The numbers under Woodson for the first two years at least made some sense. Large swaths of Indiana’s roster the past two years were players recruited or coached by Miller.

But it’s year three. And that’s about as many scholarship players on the roster that were coached and/or recruited by Miller. And still, they avoid the arc like the plague. It’s kind of baffling in 2023.

In the starting lineup alone, all five players have at least attempted a 3-pointer during their time in college.

  • Ware isn’t a knockdown shooter but is a modern five who will attempt open shots
  • Reneau has hit a few during exhibition matchups when left unguarded
  • Mgbako is a shot creator with incredibly pure form
  • Galloway has taken a few and has made strides
  • Johnson, despite a weird looking jumper, was Indiana’s best returning shooter

All that size in the lineup doesn’t cater all that well to motion and getting someone open. But it’s odd to see mid-major squads running simple actions to get open from the arc while Indiana keeps looking for points in the post.

There’s not much from the bench either. Gunn was a volume shooter in high school but needs to find a rhythm that he just hasn’t at Indiana yet. Cupps is a bit busy running the offense and guys like Sparks and Walker aren’t exactly known for their 3-point prowess.

Someone’s gotta step up and be given the opportunity to do so. We live in a post-Trayce Jackson-Davis world in Bloomington. That’s not a near-guaranteed two points in the paint anymore and won’t be this season.

I’m not a basketball genius, but I would like to see more of Mgbako at the four rather than the three. It’s his more natural position and one that would allow him to thrive as a scorer.

He’s more than capable of shooting from the perimeter, driving with the ball and putting numbers on the scoreboard. I haven’t seen enough from this offense that gives him chances to do that.

But again, it is only the second game of the season. That may come with time but you’d really rather see it sooner rather than later, especially with two close wins over mid-majors that felt shaky at multiple times throughout the night.