Butler's Brad Stevens goes onto the court against Indiana during an NCAA basketball game in Indianapolis

Brad Stevens says he has ‘no shot’ at 900 wins

Leave a comment

Two weeks ago, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim became the third coach in the history of men’s Division I basketball to win 900 games. The milestone by the Hall of Famer has sparked the discussion of what current college coach could someday join Boeheim, Bob Knight and the all-time leader, Mike Krzyzewski.

Bob Huggins, Bill Self, Billy Donovan, Roy Williams, and Thad Matta all have realistic chances at notching 900 victories. Even John Calipari and Rick Pitino, who both spent years as an NBA coach, could someday join the three-man club.

However, Butler head coach Brad Stevens doesn’t believe he will reach that milestone.

“No shot. No shot. No shot,” Stevens told David Woods of the Indianapolis Star. “I’m not much into guarantees, but I guarantee that I will not get to 900.”

Stevens is on the heels of a milestone of his own; his 150th career victory, which he could get Wednesday night against Penn. At 36-years-old, has already been to two Final Fours and through his first five years has averaged 27.8 wins per game. And as Woods reports, is on a great pace to rack up the wins.

Stevens has already set NCAA records for victories in the first three (89), four (117) and five (139) years as a head coach. He would set the six-year record with 25 this season.

If Stevens can keep up the pace from his first five seasons, he would amass over 900 victories by the time he was 60. Vying an early retirement, there is a strong chance that the sixth-year head coach could be up there on the all-time wins list someday.

College coaches have been very modest and have downplayed the 900 win milestone since Boeheim eclipsed that mark on Dec. 17. Last week, Self, who has 487 wins at age 50, said he has no interest in passing Coach K’s record.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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.