Buddy Hield couldn't buy a bucket at the start of Oklahoma's Round of 32 game against VCU on Sunday. The Sooners senior star went scoreless for the first 10 minutes and entered halftime only 1-of-6 from three-point range.
After carrying Oklahoma all year, was Hield finally showing signs of slowing down?
Not quite. As VCU cut into Oklahoma's lead in the second half, Hield ensured the Sooners' season wouldn't be ending. He went off for 19 points in the final eight minutes to finish the afternoon with 36 points on 6-of-14 shooting from three.
This is what happens in the Year of Buddy, when a cold start is merely a precursor for a blistering finish. Oklahoma will look to keep it going as long as possible when it plays Texas A&M in the Sweet 16 on Thursday.
It's not like Hield came out of nowhere this season -- he was Big 12 Player of the Year as a junior -- but the 6'4 shooting guard has taken his game to remarkable heights as a senior. Here are three charts that show how he's done it.
1) Hield is college's most efficient three-point leader since Steph Curry
Hield's 127 makes from three-point range led college basketball during the regular season. He's also one of the most efficient shooters in country from behind the arc.
This chart shows three-point makes vs. three-point percentage for college basketball's regular season leader in threes since Curry moved on to the NBA. There have been players who have hit more threes than Hield did this season, but never someone who led the country in threes while still being so efficient.
To put it in perspective, Curry hit 162 threes at a 43.9 percent clip during his sophomore season of 2008 if you factor in Davidson's NCAA Tournament run. Hield is up to 136 threes at a 46.3 percent clip if you count Oklahoma's tournament wins over CSU Bakersfield and VCU.
2) Hield's remarkable year-over-year improvement
It's hard to believe that Hield never shot better than 38 percent from three before his senior season. This is chart shows Hield's three-point makes vs. his three-point efficiency over his four years at Oklahoma. It's a testament to his remarkable work ethic.
3) Hield stacks up against college basketball's recent legends
We're looking at one of the great scoring seasons in the recent history of college basketball, and it's not over yet.
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