Just when it seemed that there were enough statistics to prove virtually anything, along comes our good friend Mark Bockelman, the sports information director at North Carolina State, to offer a new figure for consideration.
Bockelman's school has three of the nation's top long distance shooters in Rodney Monroe, Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta. To attempt to determine the value of the three-point shot, Bockelman has devised a new statistic called the shooting efficiency percentage (SEP).
What the percentage purports to do is place into perspective how important the three-point shot is to a team and its offense.
To determine the SEP, take a player's total points scored and subtract the made free throws. Divide that figure by two, then divide the resulting number by the number of field goal attempts. That number is the SEP.
For example, Gugliotta, who has made 20 of his last 36 three-point tries, has scored 297 points through Sunday's game. He had made 36 free throws and had taken 208 shots.
When the numbers are run through the wringer, Gugliotta's SEP is 62.7 percent.
That means that if all of Gugliotta's shots were from inside the bonus line, he would have to hit 62.7 percent of them to get to 297 points, and when his three-point tries are factored in, he is effectively shooting 63 percent from the floor.
Monroe, the Atlantic Coast Conference's leading scorer, has an SEP of .546, while Corchiani's percentage is .559.
Through conventional calculations, Gugliotta, who should get some attention for the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team, is shooting 53 percent from the floor for the year.
We'll take a look at some teams in the near future.
* TOO MUCH MUSTARD ON THAT HOT DOG: For the most part, we think officiating in college basketball is as good as it gets in sports. But there are exceptions.
Dick Paparo, who worked the Final Four last year, is one of them. Many observers in the ACC say privately that he is a showman who feels a need to assert his control over games. That may have cost Georgia Tech a game last week.
The Yellow Jackets were trailing Duke at home in the first half when center Matt Geiger was called on consecutive plays for charging.
After the second call, debris was thrown from the stands, and after it was cleared, Paparo, the lead official, walked over to the scorer's table, made a remark to the public address announcer, then went back to put the ball in play to Duke.
However, another item landed on the court, and Paparo immediately whistled the home crowd for a technical foul. The normally placid Bobby Cremins, the Tech coach, was incensed at Paparo because he had not had a chance to warn the crowd about throwing objects.
After Duke's Bill McCaffrey made the two foul shots, Cremins told the crowd that if anything else was thrown, he would pull his team off the court and forfeit the game.
The game ended without further incident and Duke won 77-75. The Yellow Jackets and their fans will likely wonder what the outcome might have been if Paparo had ordered Cremins to make his statement a few minutes earlier.
* THE END GAME: Vanderbilt coach Eddie Fogler has a big week ahead of him. The Commodores, fresh off an appearance in last year's National Invitation Tournament, are 13-7 overall and 6-3 in the Southeastern Conference. They'll host the Mississippi State
Bulldogs tonight for a share of the SEC lead.
But Fogler, whose team has won four of its last five games, has had to answer questions about his home court, the Memorial Gym.
It is one of the few courts in the country where the teams and coaches sit behind the basket, and not along the side.
After last weekend's loss in Nashville, Louisiana State coach Dale Brown blasted the set-up, saying it inhibited his ability to coach his team, and Brown has a few supporters in the league.
Fogler agrees that he's "not particularly crazy" about the set-up, but said that former Vandy coach C.M. Newton, who is now the athletic director at Kentucky, said that renovations would be expensive and that moving the benches to the sides would be physically impossible.
"I can understand the other coaches' perspective," said Fogler. "It's a different view. It's something that I'm getting used to."
But no one else is.
* FP REPEATED: This week, for emphasis, the Fearless Prognosticator, brought back to earth with a 1-3 record after Minnesota's loss to Indiana, will repeat that Nevada-Las Vegas will beat Arkansas Sunday in a national championship game preview in Fayetteville, Ark.