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Michigan State basketball: 3-point shooting on a historic pace, and not the good kind

The season is young, but this area of concern is growing.

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Michigan State basketball
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Michigan State basketball is on a historically bad pace for 3-point shooting. Hopefully they can stop this trend.

Michigan State basketball entered this season ranked fourth in the nation and with high expectations from both fans and national media. The team is now unranked and currently sits at 4-3. The early season has been a mixed bag of easy opponents and contenders such as Arizona and Duke. At this point in the year, a seven-game sample size of various opponents is just enough of a pool of data to begin evaluating this team’s potential.

While the Spartans have flashed potential, there are a few areas of concern that continue to show up this year. The rebounding efforts of the team are inconsistent, the free throw shooting is lacking and the 3-point shooting has been bad. Really bad.

For context, the Spartans are currently shooting 26.9% from beyond the arc. This puts them at 12th in the conference.

This pace would make this the worst 3-point shorting team ever coached by Tom Izzo. To date, the worst 3-point shooting team under Izzo has been the 1996-1997 roster that shot 32 percent.

While the sky isn’t falling quite yet in East Lansing, this is a struggle most fans didn’t see coming. The team returns guard Jaden Akins who shot 40 percent from three in back-to-back seasons. Akins is currently shooting 29 percent from deep. The team is also led by the All-Big Ten guard Tyson Walker who shot 41.5% from deep last year. He’s now currently firing at 29.6%.

Last year, Joey Hauser shot an impressive 46.1% from three. Entering this season, it’s possible many overlooked the impact losing him would have on this roster. Last year, defenses had to account for Houser hanging out on the wing and this, in turn, created open shots for other shooters. Guys like Walker and Akin were able to shoot at such a high rate because many of their looks were open due to Houser’s draw on the defense.

This year‘s team requires the guards to create more off the dribble. Luckily for Michigan State, they have the guards necessary to do this.

The Spartans are set to begin conference play on Tuesday night, Dec. 5, against Wisconsin. With most of the schedule still in front of the Spartans, it’s likely this percentage goes up. It’s still worth noting though, for a guard-dominant team, this may not be as great of a deep-shooting sqaud as expectations suggested entering the year.

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