Michael Dixon

UPDATED: Michael Dixon’s career at Missouri is over


According to Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com, suspended guard Michael Dixon’s career as a Tiger is over. NBCSports.com was able to confirm DeArmond’s report.

Dixon was suspended back in October, but it wasn’t until this week that the cause of the suspension started to leak out. In August, a woman accused Dixon of forcible rape, and while Dixon was never charged by police — there wasn’t enough evidence to press charges — he did have to face punishment from the university. You can read the entire account of the encounter here.

Without Dixon in the fold, getting Jabari Brown eligible becomes the most important part of the season for the Tigers. They have a lack of perimeter shooting right now, and Brown may actually be the best shooter in the program. He’ll be able to take the floor at the end of the semester.

(UPDATE: It’s now official.

“It’s been a challenging few months and while I appreciate the support of many in the Mizzou community including my coaches and teammates,” Dixon said in a statement, “it’s in the best interest of me, my family and the University of Missouri to finish my career elsewhere.”

The decision stems from a second rape allegation that surfaced on Thursday. From the KC Star:

According to a police report obtained Thursday by The Star, a woman who worked in the MU athletic department said she was sexually assaulted by Dixon on Jan. 9, 2010. The report, filed by the University of Missouri Police on Jan. 11, says the alleged assault took place at her apartment.

A source told The Star on Wednesday that the victim alerted former MU basketball coach Mike Anderson about the incident, who told her he would support her if she decided to press charges. She ultimately decided not to, the source said, because Dixon was a basketball player, and “she was afraid of what might happen.” According to the police report, she told detective Sam Easley on Jan. 21 that she did not want to prosecute in this case, and she did not want Dixon to be contacted regarding the case.

Dixon isn’t facing criminal charges in either case.)

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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.