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Value of 3-point defense

By Greg Peterson  () 

Many people focus on teams that are good at shooting 3-pointers as good choices to bet on or against, but what about the opposite?

Teams that have struggled to guard the arc have also struggled to get to the window. Iona is the worst cover team in the country at 3-13-1 and ranks 352nd of 353 Division I teams in 3-point shooting percentage defense.

The only team worse is UT Martin, which is just 6-13 against the spread. Among the bottom 12 teams in 3-point shooting defense, just two have a cover rate above 50%. Those two are Central Arkansas and Central Michigan, both individually entered Tuesday night just one game above .500 against the spread.

By comparison, teams that have locked down the most on the perimeter have also locked up covers. Arkansas, the top team in the country in 3-point shooting percentage, is 12-9 against the spread. No. 2 is West Virginia, which is also 12-9 against the spread.

Yale, leading Division I in cover rate, is ninth in opponents’ 3-point shooting percentage. The nation’s lone undefeated team, San Diego State, is sixth.

Just one of the top 10 teams in 3-point shooting percentage, Temple, has covered fewer than 50% of its games, and eight are above .500. The top 10 are a combined 123-85 against the spread, while the bottom 10 are 82-121 against the spread.

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