Commentary

Three-point shot is great equalizer

Updated: January 7, 2010, 9:40 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

I have always felt that the three-point shot is a great equalizer in college basketball. To win in this sport today, it is so important to have good shooters on the perimeter. It only takes a couple of solid players and, if they are hot, it can lead to upset city, baby!

Here are a few examples.

When Bobby Cremins led the College of Charleston to 'shock city' over the Tar Heels of North Carolina, trifectas were a big part of the story. The Cougars made 13 three-pointers out of 32 attempts. Roy Williams' club made just one-of-six.

Charleston was smart enough to realize it needed to hit from long range to offset North Carolina's dominant inside game, led by Ed Davis and Deon Thompson.

Let's face it -- the Tar Heels have several McDonald's All-Americans. How many kids playing at Charleston were actually recruited by the Tar Heels? Are you serious?

I have stated before that when a three-star player competes and performs like a five-star athlete, he is capable of great things. When the five-star player performs at a lower level, that's when the stunner takes place. Throw in the value of the trifecta and that's why the scoreboard read, "COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON 82, NORTH CAROLINA 79."

Then look at what happened when Syracuse lost its first game of the season. The game took place at the Carrier Dome, and Pittsburgh was a prohibitive underdog. This was a squad that was blown out at Madison Square Garden by Indiana.

But you couldn't tell Jamie Dixon's club that they had no shot against the top-10 Orange.

Pittsburgh hit 10-of-24 shots from beyond the arc. Syracuse made just one-of-13. You don't have to be a math major or Harvard graduate to figure that out.

The Panthers scored 27 more points on trifectas, and that is a large obstacle to overcome, even at home. Jim Boeheim's club had an off shooting day, and it led to a real shock.

My friends, that is the beauty of college basketball -- "PITTSBURGH 82, SYRACUSE 72."

When William and Mary went into Maryland and stunned the Terps, the three-pointer was a factor. Tony Shaver's team made eight-of-23 while Maryland hit just four-of-25. Gary Williams had to be frustrated by that performance.

As we go deeper into conference play, and later on in championship week and the big dance, understand that the three-point shot is a weapon that can make games interesting. The line was moved back, but deep shots still make the college game intriguing.

The trifecta can make David a contender against Golaith, baby!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ESPN TOP HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM