Devyn Marble, Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller

Hulls scoreless in Indiana’s close win at Iowa


Indiana was able to hold off Iowa in a 69-65 victory at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday, and they did it without anything from Jordan Hulls, offensively. Literally.

The senior guard who has been the deep threat and the offensive stalwart on the perimeter for the Hoosiers finished with no points after missing all 10 of his shots, including four three-pointers.

Hulls had an off-day shooting, and finished with six assists, three rebounds and two steals in the win.

That’s got to be a disconcerting sign for Indiana fans. He’s the most reliable perimeter threat for the team and makes them tick whenever Cody Zeller is off. Hulls averages 11.8 points per game and is hitting a ridiculous 54.4-percent from the three-point line on the season.

Playing their conference opener, that’s a bad way to start. If a team that’s rebuilding like the Hawkeyes are can hold him — which they did. Iowa did a great job of hedging perimeter screens and always keeping an eye on him — what happens when it’s time to play Ohio State? Michigan? It’s nowhere near a time to panic or anything, just a something to watch. Hulls has been the model of consistency in terms of scoring for Indiana over his four seasons, averaging 11 points per game since he was a sophomore.

Zeller, however, did Cody Zeller things on Monday, finishing with 19 points and 10 boards on 7-of-12 shooting in the victory. Victor Oladipo had 14 and Christian Watford finished with 11. Will Sheehey had 13.

Aaron White finished with 15 in 33 minutes and Roy Marble had 14 in 33 minutes for Iowa, who stayed in it despite a 3-for-17 shooting day from three. That has to upset Fran McCaffery, knowing that even an average day from the perimeter could’ve meant an upset. Especially when Marble went 1-for-14 overall from the field. Iowa was 21-for-63 (33.3 percent) overall from the field.

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.