Free Throw shooting

This year’s team has often been called the worst free throw shooting team ever. The team ended the year at rounded down to 66%.

However, looking at Arkansas history is quite revealing.

Sutton era (11 years)

3 of his teams shot worse than this year’s team.

76-77 65%
82-83 63%
84-85. 65%

2 of his teams shot almost the same as this year

81-82. 67%
83-84. 67%

Nolan era (17 years)

3 of his teams shot worse than this year

95-96. 62%
99-00 60%
01-02. 65%

3 of his teams shot almost the same as this year

85-86 66%
87-88 67%
98-99 66%

Heath era (5 years)

He had his 02-03 team shooting worse at 60% and 04-05 shooting the same

Pelphrey era (4 years)

Nine of his teams shot worse or equal to this year

Anderson era (8 years)

The 12-13 team shot the same as this year

So, overall 7 other teams shot worse than this year’s team and 7 shot about the same. That is 14 in 45 years. A lot of company for this year’s squad.

On the positive side, if you consider 73 as a respectable free throw shooting percentage…

Eddie’s 77-78 team shot 75%
Nolan’s 95-96 team shot 74%, points 96-96 and 97-98 teams shot 73%
Anderson’s 16-17 team shot 76%.

If you consider 70% as average,

5 of Eddie’s 11 teams were average or above, I.e 45% of teams
3 of Nolan’s 17 teams were average or above average, I.e. 18% of teams
1 of Heath’s 5 teams was average, I.e, 20%
1 of Pelohrey’s 4 teams was average, I.e 25%
4 of Anderson’s 8 teams were average or above, I.e. 50%

Thank you for those interesting statistics. At least, for me, perception was less than statistics. I probably should adjust my perception upward.

Winning teams can make free throws late to win games this years team could not!
The free throw line cost the hogs several games this season.

Even more interesting we had 3 players that jacked up a combined 100 3’s this season prior to the Florida game making only 15! That’s pretty miserable. What even more amazing in a win or go home game the 3 brick layers each jacked up at least one a piece and none of them made not one single 3! The red light needs to enter the mind at some point. Those 3’s for those players they were left WIDE open! Role player either need to know their role or don’t need to see the floor.
That was hard this season going 9 deep!
Limited and challenged offensively at key positions.

I had a different perception too. I am amazed how many times we have shot under 70% in the last forty five years. I bet a lot here thought we were fundamentally very sound in free throw shooting in the Sutton era.

Many think across college basketball, bad free throw shooting is an issue with players of recent times. I am beginning to doubt it. Would love to see a stat on that.

Once a perception sets in, it sometimes becomes the narrative, even if it is not backed up by facts.

And sometimes facts are still facts. 66% is still not great, and as Army stated- we were not clutch in some cases. Granted, end of games on tired legs makes it more challenging. I thought Gafford got better as the year went on but I haven’t researched it. Just my perception.

I expect really young teams to be worse at the free throw line, especially if it’s not a roster full of pure shooters. That was a given going into this season. This team wasn’t as horrid as it can get.

Yeah, 66% is not great. I think as far as clutch shooting it depends on who goes to the line. You could see signs this year as to who could be clutch next year. Have a feeling Joe and Jones will be that next year.

BTW, our NC team shot 68% and the runner-up team shot 67.5%. Not that far off the 66% this year.

I’m not going to try to figure out the average FT% in CBB this year, but the median may be instructive – half the teams worse, half better. Since there are 353 teams in DI this year, the median is #177. Turns out #177 this year was 70.5%. Auburn was #178, also at 70.5. OM, Tennessee and LSU all shot better than 75% and in the case of the Rebnecks that may be why they’re in the Dance.

In 2014 the median was 69.9%.

In 2009 the median was 69.0%.

In 2004 the median was 69.1%.

So in the last 15 years, at least in these 5-year bites, the trend is up.

Interesting that the 76-77 Hogs shot so poorly. That was the year we went 26-2, ran the table in the SWC until we couldn’t handle Wake Forest’s desperation press in the NCAAT. My vague memory of that game is that we turned it over a lot, not that we were bricking FTs, but it may have been both (no double bonus in those days; 1-and-1 to infinity). However, I just found the box at We shot 68% from the field, but 60% from the line, Wake shot 82% from the line, and we turned it over 23 times (10 by Jimmy Counce, 4 by Sidney). So turnovers and FT shooting may have both been factors. With endless 1-and-1s, it could be even worse than the eight foul shots we actually missed; brick a front end and it costs you two potential points, not just one. We lost by six; hit both ends three times and it’s overtime.