New line, similar resultsTo ask Big 12 men’s coaches about the longer three-point shooting circle, you’d have thought they’d forgotten it’s a foot farther out this year.
"We haven’t noticed a difference,” Texas Tech coach Pat Knight said. Ditto for … many. "I don’t think we’ll know until a couple of years of tracking whether it’s had an effect,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. That’s not how it was supposed to be. Moving the three-point line to 20 feet, 9 inches figured to stretch defenses. Other coaches believed the longer distance would clog the paint with defenses packing in, daring poorer shooters to fire away. But what seems to be happening is the same offensive flow as when the line was where it had been for the previous 22 years -- 19 feet, 9 inches. Through last weekend’s games, shots launched from behind the arc are falling at 34.2 percent. Last season, three-pointers dropped through at 35.2 percent. Two years ago it was 35.0. Teams are making and attempting slightly fewer threes this season: 6.37 made and 18.62 attempted per team. Last year, colleges got their long shots in at an all-time record rate of 6.72 made and 19.07 attempts. Again, not a big difference. Tech’s Knight said his staff spent many preseason hours talking about the new rule’s possible impact and set strategy.