Junior Cadougan

Late Night Snacks: Marquette outlasts UConn in a thriller

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Game of the Day: Marquette 82, UConn 76 OT

While the lasting memory of this game will be the substantial gaffe from the referees at the start of the overtime, it’s worth noting that the sequence that earned the fans in attendance five minutes of free basketball was one of the most entertaining finishes of the young season. With the Huskies up 67-66 and a five second difference on the shot clock and the game clock, Ryan Boatright his a tough fadeaway jumper at the shot clock buzzer to give the Huskies a five point lead. But UConn decided not to foul and no one called a timeout, which allowed Junior Cadougan to get a wide-open look at a three at the other end. He hit it as time expired. It was the first three the Golden Eagles hit on the night.

In the overtime, UConn had a bucket incorrectly waived off, and after Marquette scored and Omar Calhoun answered with a three to give UConn a one point lead, Vander Blue hit Marquette’s second three of the game, banking in a triple from the wing on a shot that Shabazz Napier nearly blocked. The Golden Eagles would go up 74-72 and never look back.

Starred: Greg Gantt, Florida Atlantic

For the sixth consecutive game, Gantt reached the 20 point plateau as he went for 24  in a 61-57 win over Hofstra. The last time Gantt scored less than 20 came against Warner South, when he finished with 19 points. The last time he didn’t break 20 points against a Division I opponent? November 18th. 10 games ago. He’s averaging 22.3 points on the season, good for fifth in the country.

Struggled: Manhattan

The Jaspers have had a rough season as their star, George Beamon, has struggled to get healthy after injuring his ankle. They lost 50-44 to Stony Brook on Tuesday night, shooting 34.1% from the floor and committing 17 turnovers.

It’s worth noting that Stony Brook now leads the nation in true road wins. They have six of them.

You can find Rob 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.