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Northwestern men’s basketball 2021 player reviews: Boo Buie

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It was a hot and cold season for the sophomore.

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

After an overall impressive freshman campaign, Boo Buie came out guns blazing. The sophomore guard averaged 14.4 points per game through the first seven games of the year, including his 30-point outburst against then-No. 4 Michigan State.

However, Buie soon hit a wall. Against Iowa, he scored just two points on 1-of-8 shooting. He wouldn’t score another point over the next two games and largely struggled through the midsection of the schedule. Eventually, Buie returned to his scoring ways, specifically in the last four games of the regular season, where he averaged 17.5 points per game.

Stats

The following numbers are taken from KenPom.com.

A stat that immediately jumps out from this season is Buie’s field goal percentage on two-point attempts. The guard shot just 38% from two this year, down quite a bit from the 45% he shot during his freshman campaign. That being said, his three-point percentage jumped, going from just 28% his freshman year to a far more respectable 36% this season.

Another thing of note, Buie’s assist rate increased this season to 29.9%, good for 74th in the country. Last season, his assist rate sat at just 21.7%, indicating an improvement in Buie’s passing abilities.

Shot Distribution

The following percentages are taken from hoop-math.com.

Much like the stats from KenPom, one immediately hops off the page here. Buie took over 51% of his shots from beyond the arc this season and only 22.5% of them came at the rim. The good news from this is that Buie shot better from three this year while attempting more threes, so that three-point percentage doesn’t appear to be a fluke. Additionally, Buie seems to be operating well off the ball, at least beyond the arc, as almost 71% of his made threes were assisted.

The Good

When he’s hot, he’s hot. Scorching, even. His 30-point dismantling of the Spartans late last year saw him shooting 5-of-6 from three and 9-of-15 for the game. He also added four assists and three rebounds. Buie is clearly a pivotal piece for Northwestern offensively, as he dropped 25 points to help end the Wildcats’ 13-game losing streak against Minnesota. He can score at will when he’s feeling it, there’s no doubt about that.

The Bad

To put it simply: Buie is inconsistent. As previously mentioned, Buie scored two points against Iowa in their first matchup of the season, then proceeded to disappear entirely from the scoring column over the next two games. He struggled constantly throughout Northwestern’s losing streak aside from an 18-point outburst against Penn State.

The Bottom Line

If the season consisted of the first seven and last four games of the regular season, then Buie might have been considered a First Team All-Big Ten player (maybe not, but you never know). His inconsistency in the scoring column hurt Northwestern significantly this year, and in order for the ‘Cats to take the next step, Buie must do so as well. With Miller Kopp looking to transfer elsewhere, it is imperative that Buie finds some consistency as Northwestern’s leading scorer.