The 3-point shot is the bread and butter of Michigan coach John Beilein’s offense.

So when senior guard Stu Douglass and junior guard Matt Vogrich, both prolific shooters, committed to the Wolverines out of high school, both were expected to complement Beilein’s system like butter on bread.

Douglass, a two-star recruit on, was one of Beilein’s first two signees, joining former center and current student assistant Ben Cronin. Though his overall talent was considered subpar, he shot 45 percent from 3-point range in high school.

“Two really important areas that we needed were a young man who could shoot the ball and someone who could really rebound the ball and pass it from the center position,” Beilein said in 2008 when the pair signed their letters of intent. “Ben and Stu fit those needs.”

Vogrich was also an unheralded recruit until the summer before his senior year, when his shooting in AAU tournaments caught the eyes of coaches and scouts, eventually propelling him to four-star status.

His recruiting profile listed his strengths as “3-point range” and “perimeter shot,” and his weaknesses were “ball handling” and “strength.” Questions surrounding Vogrich’s athleticism still remain, making him a liability as a defender as well.

While Vogrich and Douglass’s styles of play aren’t identical — Douglass, unlike Vogrich, has the capability to play point guard and sometimes guard opposing teams’ top offensive player — their roles are essentially limited to one thing.

Shoot the three.

So what happens when the shooters are having trouble shooting?

This season, Douglass is shooting a meager 27.8 percent from long range.

But even that doesn’t sound too bad compared to Vogrich’s paltry 8.3 percent. His lone 3-pointer came 11 minutes into Michigan’s third game of the season against Western Illinois. He’s made just two baskets since, and his minutes have dwindled.

Beilein sounds puzzled as he tries to explain why two sharp shooters can’t find the bottom of the net from beyond the arc.

“There’s not much you can do,” Beilein said after Saturday’s win over Iowa State. “They’re either hurrying or pressing. I’ve been there before, I’ve watched it with my own son.”

But the coach, who has seen many talented shooters go though slumps, emphasized that his confidence hasn’t waivered with regards to their shot selection.

“For their own attitudes, I want them to just know that they still have the green light when they’re open because that’s the type of shooters that they are,” Beilein said.

Mechanics aren’t an issue with either guard. Both possess pure shots that leaves fans wondering how they ever miss — something they rarely do in pregame shootarounds.

Freshman guard Trey Burke had the same thing to say about the pair in practice.

“Practice is night and day (compared to games),” Burke said. “They hit (their 3-pointers) in practice.”

Just three weeks ago, Michigan’s storyline surrounded a point guard controversy between Douglass and Burke. But since Burke took over the starting role in the second game of the season, he’s averaging nine more minutes per game than the veteran. Douglass played just 16 minutes against the Cyclones — the second-lowest total since January of his freshman year, and lowest since last year’s season-opening 31-point win over USC Upstate.

But the matchup with Iowa State was significantly more competitive than the blowout over the Spartans, showing Douglass’s minutes have truly taken a hit. Beilein even suggested that junior guard Eso Akunne, who played 12 minutes on Saturday, may continue to see a rise in his minutes. The former walk-on hasn’t missed a 3-pointer yet this season, and has made a shot from deep in three of the last four games.

Douglass is a senior who has shown he can overcome adversity — remember, he wasn’t supposed to be talented enough to play, let alone start, on a Big Ten roster. The Carmel, Ind. product has gone through ups and downs throughout his career and has an established mental toughness.

But the more inexperienced Vogrich hasn’t yet shown he can overcome adversity. In fact, Burke said his teammate’s confidence may be waning.

As the two shooters continue to struggle, it’s up to the team’s leaders to keep their confidence high. Beilein’s outspoken support came as no surprise, but Burke is already demonstrating that he can utilize his newfound role as the “quarterback” of the team, as Beilein likes to say — proving that his play on the court isn’t the only attribute that seems beyond his years.

“(Vogrich) misses some shots and he kind of gets down on himself,” Burke said. “I think it’s just a comfort level (issue). … On the break when he’s wide open, you just know it’s going in but it might go in and go out.

“I just tell him, ‘Keep shooting, keep shooting.’ ”

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