Commentary

Focusing on '3-D'

Perimeter shooting, defense will be key in Wisconsin-Cornell clash

Updated: March 19, 2010, 6:42 PM ET
By Tom Haberstroh | Special to ESPN Insider
Ryan WittmanAP Photo/Wilfredo LeeWittman and Cornell's best shooting display could be yet to come.

The "Instant Intel" series is designed to immediately respond to a team's first-round victory by looking ahead to its next opponent.

Something had to give. Cornell, the nation's best 3-point shooting team, took on the tournament's best 3-point defense, the Temple Owls. And the Owls gave.

As stingy as Temple's defense looked on paper, the Owls hadn't faced a team that relied on the 3-ball nearly as heavily as Cornell's squad. In fact, according to Ken Pomeroy's college basketball statistics site KenPom.com, the most 3-point reliant opponent the Owls faced this season, Pennsylvania, ranked just 70th in the country with 31.4 percent of its offense coming from beyond the arc.

Cornell, on the other hand, ranked fifth in the country coming into today's game, towering above the rest of the tournament field with about 40 percent of its offense generated from the long ball. Pennsylvania may share a conference with Cornell but the Big Red strike from a different stratosphere when it comes to 3-point emphasis. So, Temple came prepared to defend the 3.

And what happened? Cornell shot 8-for-8 on 2s to open the game without hitting a 3 until 13:48 left in the first half.

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