We all know the Kentucky Wildcats held off the Wofford Terriers on Saturday to move on the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. Also, we all know that Fletcher Magee has made the most three-pointers in NCAA history.
Well, the Cats weren’t about to let one of the most prolific shooters in Division-I college basketball history beat them. They forced Magee into a ton of bad shots and didn’t give him a sliver of breathing room. If Wofford was going to upset Kentucky, it was going to have to be through someone else.
Despite setting the record mentioned above just days earlier on Thursday night, Tyler Herro and the Kentucky Wildcats helped Magee achieve another three-point shooting record. After going 0-12 from downtown, Magee set the record for the most three-point attempts without a make in NCAA Tournament history.
This was due in large part to the defense of Tyler Herro and Co. Of the 12 three-pointers Magee attempted, 11 of them were contested. But that didn’t impress him – he didn’t see any difference between the Cats’ defense and the defenses he’s been playing all year.
“I’ve shot the shots I got tonight against every team in the [Southern Conference], every other team I’ve played. They were no harder,” Magee said. “I just didn’t shoot it well. Some of them felt good and were short, some of them felt good and were long, and some of them were just off. It’s just what happens.”
Sure, sometimes it just happens. But, for some context, his previous worst career game without a successful three came earlier this season against Kansas, when he went 0-9 from deep. Saturday was the fourth time in his four-year career with Wofford where he failed to make a three.
However, it seems Magee just struggles when he faces better opponents. In four games this season against KenPom top-50 defenses, Magee only shot 16 percent from behind the arc. Meanwhile, his average was exponentially higher when he competed against the lower-level teams. He shot over 45 percent against KenPom defenses rated outside the top 100 and a whooping 58 percent against non-Division 1 teams.
Magee should probably look to give credit where it’s due. I’m sure a KenPom top-10 defense like Kentucky’s was a bit more difficult to maneuver than the Citadel’s or Mercer’s. And maybe, just maybe, it had something to do with the length and athleticism of UK’s elite defense, especially that of Tyler Herro.