Hot for three

Shooting from downtown may determine teams' March longevity

Originally Published: March 7, 2013
By Carl Carchia | ESPN The Magazine
John GroceAP Photo/Jeff RobersonIllinois' first-year coach John Groce has successfully launched three after three this season.

Tim Hardaway may not have passed down his killer crossover to his son, Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (really, who can duplicate that ankle-breaking move?), but junior certainly inherited some of his father's marksmanship (Tim was a career 35.5 percent 3-point shooter).

It was evident early in the second half of the Feb. 5 OSU matchup when Timmy -- a 38.7 percent 3-point shooter through March 4 -- caught fire, hitting four straight threes to help turn a five-point deficit into a one-point lead. The virtuoso effort single-handedly kept the Wolverines in the game at a time when Ohio State was consistently getting, and converting, easy looks inside.

And as the Buckeyes found out, nothing can turn momentum faster than a shooter like Hardaway Jr. taking over. Conversely, nothing can lead to an upset faster than a team going cold from beyond the arc (Michigan was 5-of-20 in their loss at Penn State last week). History has shown, time and again, one of the few certainties this time of year is that being too reliant on the three will likely get you on the first flight home. Just ask Duke circa 2012.

With that in mind, here's an in-depth look at some teams that will be bombing away in the NCAA Tournament, for better or worse.