HOUSTON—There's just something about NRG Stadium that makes it impossible to make 3-point shots.
In Friday's South Regional semifinal games, the four teams—Duke, Gonzaga, UCLA and Utah—combined to shoot just 22.8 percent from beyond the arc. According to Ken Pomeroy, teams have shot 32.2 percent all-time at NRG [formerly Reliant] Stadium in 15 games with this setup. The 30 teams playing in those 15 games shot 36.3 percent collectively during the season.
But if you ask Duke and Gonzaga, there is no correlation between NRG Stadium and poor shooting. In fact, they may have even coordinated their answers.
"I'm not convinced that that's the case," Bulldog head coach Mark Few said of the stadium's effect on shooting. "I watched our guys in our public practice, we shot around here yesterday, the day of the game, and shot the heck out of it."
"I'm a little bit surprised, like we had our shoot-around in front of everyone, we shoot the heck out of the ball..." Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Amazing how both coaches professed that their teams shot the heck out of the ball in practice, yet nobody could make a shot in the game.
There are plenty of things that could make shooting a nightmare in NRG Stadium. The black curtains behind the baskets, meant to block out the empty seats, make it seem like you're shooting into an endless abyss—although Krzyzewski is actually a fan of the curtains. The bright lights on the courts are also bright enough to blind even the reporters sitting courtside.
Of course, the issue could also simply be stingy defense and nervous players, but let's just say that despite everyone else's claims, don't expect a shooting clinic Sunday evening.
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