Last year I posted two items concerning the effects of the change to a thirty-second shot clock in NCAA mens’ college basketball. I found that total scoring had increased by nearly twelve points per game between the 2014-2015 season and the 2015-2016 season after the shot-clock rule was changed. However the margin of victory was unaffected. An equally dramatic effect was seen for three-point shooting. Teams were hoisting nearly two more three-point shots per game, probably because the shorter clock meant more “desperation” threes were being taken. However I found no change in the accuracy of three-point shooting after the clock was shortened.
Scoring in the current 2016-2017 season differs hardly at all from last season. All three measures show insignificant gains compared to last year.
This table extends the results for three-point shooting to include all games played though January 20th of this year.
Three-point attempts have continued to rise in the 2016-2017 season, but we also see an improvement in three-point accuracy. Teams are shooting three more three-pointers every four games than they did last season, and their accuracy has improved by about half a percentage point.
This change might represent improvements in players’ abilities over time, or a conscious decision by coaches to recruit better three-point shooters out of high schools. However it may also simply be random fluctuation. If we go back to the data for 2008-2009, the earliest year available at the NCAA’s site, accuracy was 34.7 percent, hardly different from this year’s figure. Attempts in 2008-2009 were still significantly lower at 18.9 per game.