Penn makes it tough on 3-point shooters

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) puts up a three over Syracuse guard Frank Howard (23) during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at American Airlines Arena in Miami.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) puts up a three over Syracuse guard Frank Howard (23) during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at American Airlines Arena in Miami. by Nick Krug

Dan Majerle twice was named NBA All-Defensive second team when playing for the Phoenix Suns. Majerle not only knew how to play defense, he knows how to teach it.

Thunder Dan is in his fifth season as head coach of Grand Canyon University, which ranks No. 1 in the country in 3-point-percentage defense (.267). The Antelopes (22-11) are bound for the CBI tournament.

The nation’s second-best 3-point percentage defense belongs to Penn (.296), first-round foe of Kansas in the NCAA tournament, 1 p.m. tipoff Thursday in Wichita.

Kansas relies more heavily on the 3-point shot than in any season under coach Bill Self and subpar 3-point shooting has been a common denominator in each of KU’s seven losses.

Date Opponent 3-pt. FG-A
12-06-17 Washington 5-20 (.250)
12-10-17 ARIZONA ST.
14-38 (.368)
6-26 (.231)
01-23-18 @Oklahoma 10-32 (.313)
02-03-18 OKLAHOMA ST.
8-22 (.364)
02-10-18 @ Baylor
6-31 (.194)
03-03-18 @ Oklahoma St.
7-20 (.350)
Totals 56-189 (.296)

That doesn't mean that the opponent's necessarily is the primary factor in KU's 3-point shooting.

The Quakers will be KU's seventh opponent with a 3-point percentage defense now ranked in the top 50 in the nation, per rankings. KU didn't shoot particularly well (.348, compared to a season 3-point accuracy rate of .403) in the first six, but they went 5-1, so it's not as if the Jayhawks can't survive off days from 3-point range.

Perhaps because when he gets hot few defenses can follow him out to the limits of his range, Devonte' Graham has shot well (.476) from long distance in those half dozen games.

Date Opponent
3-pct def.
KU 3-pt
Devonte' Graham
3-pt. FG-FGA (pct.)
11-14-17 Kentucky (5)
8-28, .286
W, 65-61
2-8 (.250)
Syracuse (50)
11-31, .355
W, 76-60
7-13 (.538)
12-16-17 @ Nebraska (25)
7-22, .318
W, 73-72
1-4 (.250)
01-02-18 TEXAS TECH (47)
6-26, .231
L, 85-73
4-5 (.800)
01-27-18 TEXAS A&M (29)
12-26, .462
W, 79-68
2-5 (.400)
02-24-18 @ Texas Tech (47)
11-25, .440
W, 74-72
4-7 (.571)
2 N, 2H, 2A
55-158, .348
5-1 20-42 (.476)


Sam Allen

We can't just rely on one player

5 days, 11 hours ago


David Morrison

You have to factor in who Penn has played that enabled them to have such lofty 3pt. defensive numbers. They play in the Ivy League. KU will be their worst nightmare.... KU by 20.

5 days, 6 hours ago


Craig Carson

exactly...the one team that Penn played that resembled KU was Villinova..Nova won by Ivy league team presents the kind of challenge they are gonna face with KU and their 3 point shooting...KU has also done a better job at driving to the rim plus dont think Self isnt gonna feed DeSousa in the paint...

4 days, 16 hours ago


Marcia Parsons

I looked up their schedule, but I know so little about the other teams I still didn't know how hard the games were. Mostly Ivy League, but some outside. Mostly mid-majors, I think.

5 days, 4 hours ago


Alan Dickey

I think the content of this site has improved recently, and is very good, but I don’t think this analysis is very deep.

Penn has the #2 3-pt% defense in Division 1, but let’s look at the few decent teams that they have played. There aren’t many. Penn has the 272nd best SOS in the nation (KenPom). Let’s look at the top 200 teams Penn has played. Here are those mostly mediocre teams’ 3-point percentages against Penn:

15.4%: La Salle
43.8%: Towson
30.4%: Monmouth
50.0%: Villanova
34.6%: Dayton
64.3%: Toledo
5.3%: Yale
33.3%: Princeton
43.8%: Temple
24.0%: St. Josephs
33.3%: Harvard
47.6%: Harvard
50.0%: Yale
20.0%: Yale
38.9%: Harvard

Yale obviously is a terrible 3-point shooting team (32.9%) overall, but regardless, Penn’s top-200 opponents have fared as follows (the Div. 1 average is 35.1%):

64.3%: Toledo
50.0%: Villanova
50.0%: Yale
47.6%: Harvard
43.8%: Towson
43.8%: Temple
38.9%: Harvard

34.6%: Dayton
33.3%: Princeton
33.3%: Harvard
30.4%: Monmouth

24.0%: St. Josephs
20.0%: Yale
15.4%: La Salle
5.3%: Yale

The rest of the teams that have given Penn its #2 anti-3-pointer rating are in the bottom 151 teams in Division 1.

In other words, Harvard defends the three against very terrible teams really well. Against decent teams, not so much.

I think we’re okay.

5 days, 4 hours ago


David Morrison

Sure glad we are playing Penn and not

5 days, 3 hours ago


Sam Denny

I'm a Texas raised Jayhawk that was born in Lawrence, and I've been reading articles on this site since I was ten. I've never commented before, but kusports has been such a big part of my life that it felt like a necessary moment to add to the discussion. I want thank all the editors and contributors for all the years of joyous articles. My parents have told me so many stories about being at the games in the 60s and 70s, and I can only dream that one day soon I will be able to step inside Phog Allen fieldhouse. Rock Chalk from deep south Texas!

4 days, 13 hours ago