To say that 2021 has been unkind to the two most prominent men's basketball teams in Minnesota is an understatement.
After a Jan. 3 blowout win over Ohio State, the Gophers were 10-2. They have gone just 3-10 since, sparking talks of a coaching change — with Patrick Reusse declaring on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast that "it's just over" regarding the Richard Pitino coaching era.
The Timberwolves had a (very) brief promising start, going 2-0 before a Karl-Anthony Towns injury started a nasty chain of events. They are 5-28 since those two wins, including just 5-26 since the calendar changed to 2021.
A common thread between the two teams, aside from those dismal records over the last two months? An extreme lack of efficiency stemming in large part from an over-reliance on and under-performance from beyond the three-point line.
The Gophers have attempted 634 three-pointers this season. Only 19 teams (entering play Monday) have tried more this season, and only two of those teams are in major conferences. Minnesota has made just 28.9% of those attempts. Only 11 of the 347 teams playing Division I men's college basketball this season have shot worse from long distance.
The Timberwolves are slightly better from deep: They make 35% of their tries, which is No. 24 out of 30 NBA teams. They attempt 36.2 threes per game, the 12th-most in the league.
Their inefficiency is really a three-pronged attack: Bad from three-point range, bad on close-range shots (No. 26 in the league on shooting percentage from 0-3 feet) and bad at free throws (getting to the line: fourth-fewest; free-throw percentage: eighth-worst).
If that's the holy trinity of NBA shot values, it's not hard to see why the Wolves rank No. 27 in the NBA in offensive rating and have already fired head coach Ryan Saunders while installing offensive-minded replacement Chris Finch.
The common inefficiencies of both teams also lead to a common question: If you know you aren't good at something, why do you keep doing it?