Welcome back to Play-by-Play Theater, the semi-regular feature where we mine play-by-play data from the past 2+ seasons to discover the wacky things that happen in college hoops. Last week, we beat consecutive fouls to death. Today’s topic was suggested by a reader. Read on…

Mr. Pomeroy,

The host of a local sports call-in show used an example from the Kentucky-Tennessee women’s game last night to exemplify why he “hated” women’s basketball.  At one point in the game, these two top-10 teams combined to miss 26 consecutive shots.  He proclaimed that would never happen in a men’s game with two top-10 teams.  I agree on the surface, but am curious what the data say.  Something similar to the foul analysis you did on the previous play-by-play theater may be interesting.

Louisville, KY (UK Wildcats fan)

Kentucky has some weird laws, but my favorite one is that if you reside in Louisville and are a Kentucky fan, you are required to note this in your signature.

Indeed, the UK and Tennessee women put together quite a brick-fest late in the first half the other night. Here’s the play-by-play of that game if you need proof. (Never believe anything a sports talk personality says.) Could this happen in a men’s game?

This is pretty straightforward to tackle. Let’s look at the games since the beginning of the 2009-10 season that featured the most consecutive missed field goal attempts by both teams. Note here that all free throw attempts are ignored for the purpose of determining consecutive misses.

Most consecutive missed field goals since 11/2009

23 Radford at Virginia, 12/7/10
23 Alabama A&M at Ark Pine Bluff, 1/10/11
21 Georgetown at Villanova, 1/17/10
21 Rider at UMass, 11/12/10
20 SE Louisiana at Alabama, 12/15/10
20 Loyola Chicago at Kansas State, 11/13/09

Here’s the PBP from the Radford at Virginia game, with the just the field goal attempts for the streak in question.

GOOD! LAYUP by Harris, Joe [PNT]     19:31  34-19  H 15
                                     18:23              MISSED JUMPER by SONMEZ,Gorkem
MISSED 3 PTR by Harris, Joe          18:08
                                     17:38              MISSED JUMPER by SONMEZ,Gorkem
                                     17:37              MISSED JUMPER by FAULKNER,Evan
                                     17:30              MISSED 3 PTR by SONMEZ,Gorkem
MISSED JUMPER by Farrakhan, Mustapha 17:16
MISSED LAYUP by Sene, Assane         17:05
MISSED 3 PTR by Zeglinski, Sammy     16:17
                                     15:47              MISSED JUMPER by SMITH,Jareal
                                     15:07              MISSED JUMPER by SONMEZ,Gorkem
MISSED JUMPER by Harris, Joe         14:52
MISSED JUMPER by Harrell, KT         14:10
                                     13:36              MISSED 3 PTR by FAULKNER,Evan
MISSED 3 PTR by Farrakhan, Mustapha  13:15
MISSED JUMPER by Scott, Mike         12:56
MISSED 3 PTR by Farrakhan, Mustapha  12:25
                                     12:15              MISSED 3 PTR by SONMEZ,Gorkem
                                     12:08              MISSED JUMPER by ABELE,Martins
MISSED 3 PTR by Zeglinski, Sammy     11:48
MISSED TIP-IN by Mitchell, Akil      11:43
                                     11:37              MISSED JUMPER by SMITH,Jareal
                                     11:02              MISSED JUMPER by ROBINSON,Jeremy
MISSED 3 PTR by Baron, Billy         10:48
                                     10:37  38-23  H 15 GOOD! LAYUP by SMITH,Jareal [FB/PNT]

I’ve never been a supporter of the “GOOD!” descriptor in the play-by-play. This is a cold document representing the events that took place in the game. Not every made shot is a cause for celebration as the exclamation point implies. But when Jareal Smith made a layup to end a field goal drought of 23 attempts and nearly nine minutes, there was cause for real celebration.

Virginia went 4-24 from the field in the second half and still won by 10. So the sports-talk dude referenced above is probably on solid footing – missing 26 consecutive shots hardly ever happens in the men’s game, whether it involves top ten teams or not..

Let’s end on a positive note and look at the flip side of the situation. What’s the record for consecutive made field goal attempts? As you would expect, since field goals are less than a 50/50 proposition in hoops, the values here are somewhat lower than for consecutive misses.

Most consecutive made field goals since 11/2009

16 Kentucky at Louisville, 12/31/10
16 Charlotte at Chattanooga, 1/17/11
15 Cornell at Wofford 12/30/10
14 William & Mary at Longwood, 12/29/10
14 Saint Louis at Xavier, 2/5/11

Coincidentally, given our reader’s location and loyalties, the 2010 Kentucky/Louisville game is at the top of the list. Here’s the relevant portion of the second half where the streak occurred.

MISSED 3 PTR by SIVA, Peyton            16:06
                                        15:56  26-44  V 18 GOOD! 3 PTR by Josh Harrellson
GOOD! LAYUP by JENNINGS, Terrence [PNT] 14:34  28-44  V 16
                                        14:19  28-46  V 18 GOOD! LAYUP by Doron Lamb [PNT]
GOOD! 3 PTR by KNOWLES, Preston         13:52  31-46  V 15
                                        13:19  31-48  V 17 GOOD! DUNK by Josh Harrellson [PNT]
GOOD! 3 PTR by SMITH, Chris             12:48  34-48  V 14
GOOD! LAYUP by KURIC, Kyle [FB/PNT]     12:35  36-48  V 12
                                        12:25  36-50  V 14 GOOD! LAYUP by Josh Harrellson [PNT]
                                        11:48  37-52  V 15 GOOD! JUMPER by Josh Harrellson [PNT]
GOOD! 3 PTR by KNOWLES, Preston         11:17  40-52  V 12
                                        10:48  40-54  V 14 GOOD! JUMPER by Terrence Jones
GOOD! 3 PTR by KNOWLES, Preston         10:31  43-54  V 11
GOOD! JUMPER by KNOWLES, Preston        09:49  45-54  V 9
                                        09:09  45-57  V 12 GOOD! 3 PTR by Brandon Knight
GOOD! JUMPER by KNOWLES, Preston        08:59  47-57  V 10
GOOD! JUMPER by SMITH, Chris            08:02  49-59  V 10
MISSED JUMPER by JENNINGS, Terrence     07:37

So many exclamation points! The sequence gets started by, what else, a Josh Harrellson three-pointer, one of just two he made all season. Using that as inspiration, the participants in this game went for nearly eight consecutive minutes without missing. Five three-pointers and five two-point jumpers were converted here, so it’s not like this was a dunk fest, either.

That wraps up another illuminating edition of Play-by-Play Theater. Thanks for reading and feel free to send along suggestion for future columns.