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The Chase for 180: Tale of two games for Stanford’s Anthony Brown

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Who is the best shooter in the country?

It’s a tough question to answer, isn’t it? Does being a “shooter” simply mean merely being a high-level marksman from beyond the arc? Can a player who thrives in the mid-range but rarely ventures out into three-point land be eligible? How heavily should we be valuing stats like efficiency and effective field goal percentage when taking all of this into account?

One number that we like to use is “180″. How do you become a 180 shooter? By shooting 50% or better from the field overall, 40% or better from three and at least 90% from the charity stripe. From this point forward we’ll track this until the end of the regular season, providing weekly updates as well as a look into how some of the nation’s best find (and connect on) their quality looks.

When looking at the improvements made by Stanford redshirt junior guard Anthony Brown, it’s best to compare this season’s numbers to the ones he produced as a sophomore in 2011-12. Brown played just five games last season due to a hip injury, leaving the Cardinal without a key option in their attack. As a sophomore Brown, who was a Pac-10 All-Freshman Team selection in 2011, averaged 8.7 points per game while shooting 39.6% from the field and 35.0% from beyond the arc.

According to hoop-math.com Brown attempted just 17.2% of his shots at the rim, making 56.5% of those attempts. And one of the big reasons why his overall field goal percentage (51.9%) has improved are the increased number of opportunities he’s found in that area of the floor. Through 15 games nearly 35% of Brown’s field goal attempts have come at the rim, and he’s converted 61.7% of those shots. Brown’s percentage at the rim may also provide a clue as to why his two performances in Oregon last week were so drastically different.

Against then-No. 17 Oregon on Sunday afternoon Brown was outstanding, shooting 10-for-12 from the field and scoring a game-high 24 points to go along with six rebounds. Four of Brown’s 12 field goal attempts could be classified as layups and he made all four to go along with hitting six of his eight jumpers (1-for-2 3PT). That wasn’t the case in Stanford’s 81-72 loss at Oregon State on Thursday night, as Brown shot 1-for-10 from the field and scored just seven points.

Brown shot 0-for-7 from two, with three of the misses being layups. On some nights things just don’t click, and missed opportunities at the rim can certainly add up when that’s the case. Was that game an anomaly for Brown? It likely was, because the junior’s shot lower than 40% from the field in just five of Stanford’s 15 games to date. If Brown can continue to get to the basket and, just as importantly, continue to convert those opportunities other parts of the floor should open up for him.

While scoring options such as Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell receive the majority of the attention and rightfully so, Brown’s return (especially with the loss of Andy Brown to another knee injury) was an important development for a Stanford program looking to break through and reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008.

THE TOP TEN (Note: Players much be eligible to be ranked in FG%, 3PT% and FT%. And here’s a glossary that includes the stats you’ll see used in these posts. Tempo neutral numbers per kenpom.com.)

1) Austin Tillotson (Colgate)
63.5% FG, 60.0% 3PT, 71.2% FT = 194.7
Shot %: 18.4
eFG %: 71.8
True shooting %: 72.4

2) Jason Calliste (Oregon) 
48.8, 56.1, 88.8 = 193.7
Shot %: 13.9
eFG %: 61.4
True shooting %: 71.5

3) Riley Grabau (Wyoming)
48.1, 51.9, 89.8 = 189.8
Shot %: 16.5
eFG %: 67.0
True shooting %: 71.9

4) Matt Kennedy (Charleston Southern) 
48.6, 52.3, 86.8 = 187.7
Shot %: 18.2
eFG %: 59.7
True shooting %: 64.5

5) Anthony Brown (Stanford) 
51.9, 52.9, 81.3 = 186.1
Shot %: 18.9
eFG %: 61.9
True shooting %: 65.3

6) Keawe Enos (Utah Valley) 
48.8, 50.0, 85.0 = 183.8
Shot %: 15.0
eFG %: 65.5
True shooting %: 67.9

7) Michael Frazier II (Florida)
49.2, 47.3, 86.2 = 182.7
Shot %: 21.5
eFG %: 65.4
True shooting %: 67.8

8) Doug McDermott (Creighton) 
49.5, 43.4, 89.6 = 182.5
Shot %: 37.3
eFG %: 56.8
True shooting %: 62.3

9) Nic Moore (SMU)
50.4, 51.5, 80.0 = 181.9
Shot %: 20.1
eFG %: 63.7
True shooting %: 66.3

10) Jarvis Summers (Ole Miss)
52.4, 51.8, 77.4 = 181.6
Shot %: 26.0
eFG %: 61.1
True shooting %: 65.1

Five Perimeter Marksmen (20 or fewer two-point attempts) 

1) Ethan Wragge (Creighton)
50.0% 3 PT (2-for-6 2PT)

2) Jeff Elorriaga (Boise State) 
50.0% 3PT (5-for-9 2PT)

3) Ben Cherry (Charlotte)
50.0% 3PT (5-for-15 2PT)

4) Brady Heslip (Baylor) 
49.4% 3PT (7-for-20 2PT)

5) Jordan Potts (UNCG) 
47.9% 3PT (9-for-15 2PT)

Previous Installments
November 11
December 4
December 11
December 18
January 8

Wesley Iwundu, Kansas State knock off No. 1 Oklahoma

Kansa State forward Wesley Iwundu (25) pulls down a rebound against Mississippi during an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kansas, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (Bo Rader /The Wichita Eagle via AP) LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; MAGS OUT; LOCAL RADIO OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT
Bo Rader /The Wichita Eagle via AP
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One of the big questions regarding No. 1 Oklahoma was how they’d handle an off shooting night. On multiple occasions this season the Sooners have managed to win in spite of a subpar effort from one of their guards, thanks in large part to national Player of the Year frontrunner Buddy Hield. But what would they do against a team that managed to limit Hield (by his standards)?

That’s what happened at Kansas State Saturday night, and the Sooners did not have the right answers for the Wildcats on either end of the floor. Wesley Iwundu scored 22 points, dished out seven assists and played excellent defense on Hield throughout the game to lead the way. And freshman forward Dean Wade chipped in with 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench as the Wildcats won by the final score of 80-69.

Hield scored 23 points but did so on 7-for-16 shooting, and a lot of that damage was done during the second half as he scored 17 points during the game’s final 20 minutes. But it wasn’t enough as the Sooners didn’t get much from anyone other than Ryan Spangler (nine points) as they looked to mount a comeback. Jordan Woodard, who’s been a consistent supplementary scoring option this season, went scoreless Saturday and that essentially left Oklahoma with three scorers (Hield, Ryan Spangler and Isaiah Cousins).

It’s highly unlikely that anyone’s going to completely take away Hield; the key there is to make him work for everything he gets and the long, athletic Iwundu managed to do that. But if you can take away one (or more) of Oklahoma’s supplementary scorers you’ve got a shot at knocking them off.

Oklahoma also had issues defensively, as the Wildcats shot 52.9 percent from the field. Iwundu was very good at finding scoring opportunities not only for himself but for his teammates as well, and in the post players such as Wade and B.J. Johnson were effective against Spangler, Khadeem Lattin and Akolda Manyang. Kansas State outplayed Oklahoma in the post, and their execution offensively helped the Wildcats pull off the upset despite committing 15 turnovers.

If not for those turnovers the margin likely would have been worse for Oklahoma, which scored 26 points off of Kansas State turnovers and many of its 15 fast break points came via K-State mistakes. The Sooners are lethal in transition, something we’ve seen on many occasions this season. Kansas State, when they didn’t turn the ball over, kept Oklahoma from running out and finding the quality looks that have made them so successful.

As a result, Bruce Weber’s Wildcats made sure that Hield and his fellow Oklahoma seniors will graduate without a win in Manhattan.

Ryan Anderson, Gabe York pace No. 23 Arizona at Washington

Arizona's Ryan Anderson (12) dunks against Washington State's Conor Clifford (42) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Pullman, Wash. Arizona won 79-64. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
College basketball is better when the Arizona-Washington rivalry is relevant, and we got a perfect example of that on Saturday, as No. 23 Arizona landed an important, 77-72 win at Washington in a ugly-but-thrilling game. Washington has one of the nation's most high-octane, uptempo offenses, as Lorenzo Romar does what he can to maximize the pieces that he has on his roster. Andrew Andrews and DeJounte Murray make up one of the nation's most talented backcourts, and when combined with the myriad of athletes of populate the rest of the roster, what you get is a team that is top five in pace, according to KenPom.com. What they don't have is much strength in the paint, and Ryan Anderson took complete advantage of that. The fifth-year senior had arguably his best game as a Wildcats, finishing with 22 points and 15 boards -- eight offensive -- to pace Arizona. Gabe York added 18 points as well, which is a great sign for the Wildcats. The knock on this team has been that they don't have a star or a go-to guy, and two of them stepped up in a tough road game on Saturday. Perhaps more importantly, it was Kadeem Allen that his the biggest shot of the game, hitting a three to break a 70-all tie with a minute left in the game. And should we mention that Allonzo Trier, who was Arizona's leading scorer when he broke his hand a month ago, returned to the lineup? Yeah, we probably should, because Trier is the best one-on-one player that Sean Miller has on his roster. All-in-all, this was a promising road trip for Arizona, who got swept at home by the Oregon schools last weekend. I'm not sure that Arizona, who is still two games back of Oregon in the Pac-12 standings, has a real shot of winning the league's regular season title. But I am sure that, when they're at full-strength and playing well, the Wildcats are good enough to win the Pac-12 tournament and get to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.
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College basketball is better when the Arizona-Washington rivalry is relevant, and we got a perfect example of that on Saturday, as No. 23 Arizona landed an important, 77-72 win at Washington in a ugly-but-thrilling game.

Washington has one of the nation’s most high-octane, uptempo offenses, as Lorenzo Romar does what he can to maximize the pieces that he has on his roster. Andrew Andrews and DeJounte Murray make up one of the nation’s most talented backcourts, and when combined with the myriad of athletes of populate the rest of the roster, what you get is a team that is top five in pace, according to KenPom.com.

What they don’t have is much strength in the paint, and Ryan Anderson took complete advantage of that.

The fifth-year senior had arguably his best game as a Wildcats, finishing with 22 points and 15 boards — eight offensive — to pace Arizona. Gabe York added 18 points as well, which is a great sign for the Wildcats. The knock on this team has been that they don’t have a star or a go-to guy, and two of them stepped up in a tough road game on Saturday.

Perhaps more importantly, it was Kadeem Allen that his the biggest shot of the game, hitting a three to break a 70-all tie with a minute left in the game.

And should we mention that Allonzo Trier, who was Arizona’s leading scorer when he broke his hand a month ago, returned to the lineup? Yeah, we probably should, because Trier is the best one-on-one player that Sean Miller has on his roster.

All-in-all, this was a promising road trip for Arizona, who got swept at home by the Oregon schools last weekend.

I’m not sure that Arizona, who is still two games back of Oregon in the Pac-12 standings, has a real shot of winning the league’s regular season title.

But I am sure that, when they’re at full-strength and playing well, the Wildcats are good enough to win the Pac-12 tournament and get to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.