Jim Boeheim

Jim Boeheim gets win no. 900



Jim Boeheim has done it, 900 wins all at the same school. The Syracuse coach reached that plateau in a 72-68 victory over Detroit.

“I’ve won 900 games because of the coaches and players,” Boeheim told ESPN’s Doris Burke postgame. He also gave credit to Dave Bing, a player he played with with the Orange. Where he started out as a walk-on in 1962.

James Southerland finished with a game-high 22 points for the Orange.

You really have to think of Boeheim among the greats now, if you didn’t already, which would’ve been insane. To reach 900 wins in a coaching career with one team in any sport — maybe sans baseball, due to to 162 game seasons — is incredibly impressive, but to do it at one place is possibly one  of the greatest achievements in college sports when you factor in how times have changed. Boeheim might be one of the last coaches that gets to build a dynasty from the beginning to it’s apex. Until he wants to leave, instead of when he’s asked to leave, which has become the status quo among long-time coaches.

As a player, assistant and head coach, Boeheim has spent the last 50 years of his life within the Syracuse men’s basketball program. His entire adult life. Incredible, really. He’s also been able to do it mostly free of the NCAA’s wrath, in terms of major violations. He’s captured a national title. He’s sent numerous kids on to the NBA and to the coaching ranks. He’s graduated players.

You obviously can’t omit the Bernie Fine allegations. But since that has yet to be founded either way and, to this point, there’s no evidence to prove he knew anything, if anything occurred, he’s still a great person. He’s had his spats with the media, fans and administrators. But all coaches, if they’ve been around long enough, do.

In a time when coaches loyalties are normally to themselves, whether you love him or hate him, Boeheim has shown his loyalty to a college town in central New York and built it into a brand. People know Syracuse. It’s grown into the unofficial college of New York state. That, for the most part, is because of Jim Boeheim and the legendary program he helped build over the past 50 years.

Here’s to Boeheim and 900 wins. Whether the 68-year-old is able to catch Mike Krzyzewski for the all-time record — he’s 27 wins behind, which is a good season’s worth — is irrelevant.

He’s already established himself among the legends. Tonight just furthers it.

David Harten is a sportswriter and college basketball blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

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.