IS IT TOO LATE FOR CHRIS LOFTON TO BREAK THE NCAA RECORD FOR CAREER THREES?

Update [2008-3-9 17:22:32 by Joel]: If you arrived here via a Google search for Lofton's pursuit of the all-time three-point record, please note that this post is several weeks old. Click on the logo in the upper left corner for the latest posts on the front page. Scroll down to find the latest "open game thread," in which we update Lofton's progress.

There hasn't been a great deal of talk yet about Chris Lofton's ability to break the all-time NCAA record for career three-point field goals made. That's probably due to the fact that he has struggled to find his shot much of this season. The past handful of games, however, have made clear that he has indeed broken out of the slump. Lofton's been hitting 50% of his attempts and averaging 5.17 threes per game over the last six games. He's back, folks.

So is it too late for him to make a run at the record? He's currently No. 8, and he needs just three more to move into 7th, but first is still a long ways off:

Player School
Record
Needed to break
J.J. Redick Duke
457
69
Keydren Clark St. Peter's
435
47
Curtis Staples Virginia
413
25
Keith Veney Lamar & Marshall
409
21
Doug Day Radford
401
13
Gerry McNamara Syracuse
400
12
Michael Watson UMKC
391
3
Chris Lofton Tennessee
389
1

Wow. Lofton needs 69 threes to overtake Reddick. That certainly seems like a lot, but whether it's in reach depends a lot on how many games he has left to play. If the Discombobulator simply continues his most-recent six game average of 5.17, he could do it in just 14 more games. But do we have that many games left?

I'd wager we do. First, note that post-season games count toward career statistics (pdf link). There are nine more games in the regular season. Because Tennessee is the current favorite to win the SEC, it's not too outlandish to suggest they'll at least play in all four SEC Tournament games. That brings us to 13 games. Simply making the NCAA Tourney would give us 14.

But even if we don't play that many games in the SEC Tournament, we should have some opportunity in the Big Dance. Assuming we finish the season as well as we have started it, we can probably anticipate at least a two seed in the NCAA Tournament, which should be good enough to ensure at least one win and therefore two games. Figure that last year's team played three games in the NCAA Tournament and that this year's team is better, four games this year is not an unreasonable assumption. If we only play one game in the SEC post season, that would give us 14.

Best guess is that we'll play another 15 games, nine in the regular season and some combination of six games in post-season play. That would mean that Lofton could average just over 4.5 threes per game and break the all-time NCAA record.

Chart? Chart:


Games remaining Needs to average
Regular season
9
7.67
SEC Tourney
10
6.9

11
6.27

12
5.75

13
5.31
NCAA Tourney
14
4.93

15
4.6

16
4.31

17
4.06

18
3.83

19
3.63
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