St. Mary's is 11-3 this year, most recently with a comeback win over Harvard at home. They have shot the ball extremely well this season (4th in eFG%), but have also let their opponent's shoot well. The Gaels are 326th in defensive 3P% and 320th in defensive FT%. There has been much talk about opponent's 3P% being misleading and a lottery, but the same obviously goes for FT%.
The following are graph of St. Mary's 13 D1 games this season. The graphs plots their opponent's 3P% and FT% in the game against St. Mary's relative to their season averages (average % - St. Mary's game %). Basically, if a data point is above the x-axis that means the Gaels were lucky in their game and if a data point is below the x-axis that means the Gaels were unlucky.
St. Mary's luck (or lack thereof) has very likely just been due to random variation. I would bet that their defense will improve by the end of the season simply from regression to the mean. Still, I came up with three ideas (I'm sure there are more) that would possibly affect opponent's FT%:
1) Tempo/Fatigue - It's possible a team could play at a level of speed or physicality high enough to influence their opponent's ability to shoot.
2) Location/Game Environment - Crowd, travel, familiarity, etc. could all lead to bad shooting.
3) Player Being Fouled - Guards generally shoot better than big guys. If a defense had guards who were foul-prone, it's safe to say teams would shoot better from the line.
Next Up: Teams expected to gain from unlucky shooting