The Morning Mix

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– It looks like College of Charleston will be leaving the SoCon in order to join the CAA. Davidson on the other hand will not be leaving. Jeff Eisenberg explains why both schools got it right. This is your #ReadoftheDay

– Just go read the latest from Glen Logan at A Sea of Blue. His articles are always worth your time

– This post on why North Carolina has to spend an extra $120,000 on a trip out west tells a lot about the NCAA’s lack of continuity and consistency

– We will find out on Friday if Minnesota star Trevor Mbakwe will have to serve any jail time for violating probationary terms. The situation is rather confusing, but it’s entirely possible that the Gophers star forward receives some jail time for his past discretions.  He violated terms of a restraining order and violated terms of his probation by getting a DUI

Seth Davis explains why it’s possible for Ohio State to achieve great success this season despite the “rebuilding mode” label

– Yesterday Kansas officials endorsed a major building project that includes the construction of a museum which will serve as the home to James Naismith’s “Original Rules of Basketball”

Well this is interesting: the Big East is in ongoing television negotiations with both CBS and ESPN. The Big East has called ESPN for much of the conference’s existence. It would be a huge coup if CBS could pull away the Big East from ESPN, regardless if the conference  hits a decline due to the departure of Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia

– Former-Pittsburgh star Ashton Gibbs predicts that his Alma mater will make the Final Four this year. Who am I to disagree with Ashton Gibbs? Well, nobody, but let’s be frank: Pittsburgh has struggled in post-season play with far more talented lineups than what Jamie Dixon will field in 2012-13. Sure, you can blame Scottie Reynolds for their failure to make the 2009 Final Four, but it’s the harsh reality. Could Pitt make the Final Four this year? It’s certainly possible.  But are they a team we should pencil in before the season begins?  Absolutely not

– “Russdiculous”, the Rick Pitino-owned horse named after Cardinal guard Russ Smith, will make its debut this weekend at Santa Anita Park

– Georgia? Relevant in basketball? I’ll have to see it to believe it. Gary Parrish believes it could happen

– Oklahoma State guard Brian Williams is expected to miss some significant time due to what head coach Travis Ford called a “pretty serious wrist injury”

– UMass head coach Derek Kellog has agreed to a three-year extension with the school

– Chris Burrows of Horizon League Hoops provides a great statistical breakdown of the 50 most efficient scorers in the Horizon League

– Four-star class of 2013 forward Jonathan Williams III verbally committed to Missouri yesterday, choosing the Tigers over Georgetown, Memphis and Michigan State

– Duquesne-transfer T.J. McConell isn’t happy that he has to sit out a season, but is glad to be a part of the Arizona Wildcats program

– I love Matt Norlander’s writing, I really do.  But I could pick out every single one of his articles from a blind lineup based solely on article titles. OF COURSE the title for his Mid-American Conference preview features a musical play on words. That’s such a Norlander thing to do

– While Senior Khalif Wyatt will gain the most spotlight for the Temple Owls this season, sophomores Anthony Lee and Will Cummings should be able to step up and provide quality support this season

A nice little rapid reaction piece to the Big Sky announcing it’s preseason polls

Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
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Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
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When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.