Thursday, March 13, 2008

CLEMSON: FREE (THROW) FALLIN’(?)

There’s a blog about Clemson sports called DANNY FORD IS GOD. The subtitle these days is something of an instant blogshpere classic: “The 320th Best Free Throw Shooting Team In The Country.”

Coach Oliver Purnell must have nightmares about Clemson’s free throw shooting. They finished last in the league at 62.3%. They finished the season 22–8 overall and 10-6 in the conference.

The gang that couldn’t shoot free throws straight was just 26 made freebies from being 27-3, and 13-3. In terms of pure math, the misses from the charity stripe wouldn’t have saved the day against Carolina in Chapel Hill, Duke or UNC-Charlotte. In the other five losses , the free throw margin could have reversed the outcome.

Now, nobody makes all their free throws. But if Clemson had made enough to win the five games in question they would have improved from 369 out of 592 to 396 out of 592. That would have upped their percentage from a league-last 62.3% to 66.8% -- good enough for... last.

Long story short, Clemson didn’t need to be a whole bunch better from the free throw line to be 27-3. They still could have been last in the conference in free throw percentage if they had just made the right shots at the right time.

For Clemson the new right time is now.

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

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