Jarrod Uthoff

Iowa defeats Notre Dame 98-93 in offensive shootout


The Big Ten got its first win in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge from Iowa’s offensive firepower. The Hawkeyes, playing in front of a raucous crowd, held off a Notre Dame second half comeback, countering the rally and holding off the Fighting Irish in a 98-93 win on Tuesday night.

The Irish posted 43 points in the first half and still trailed by nine heading into the break. Notre Dame used a 14-3 run to take a 57-55 before the first media timeout of the second half.

Though the Iowa offense Roy Devyn Marble responded to Notre Dame’s run with 13 (of his 17) straight points of his own. The Irish couldn’t stop him, and if it wasn’t Marble, it was Aaron White (20 points) or Jarrod Uthoff (17 points) or any of the other Hawkeyes that scored in double figures that made plays down the stretch.

The Hawkeyes shot 57 percent (53 from three). Notre Dame shot over 50 percent (41 from deep) and like Iowa had multiple double-digit scoring, including Eric Atkins’ 23 to go along with Sherman’ s big night. Iowa wasn’t there defensively either, but the Hawkeyes had more weapons to win the shootout, while also outrebounding the Irish by 10.

The Irish fought back to get into the game, led by Garrick Sherman’s career-high 29 points, but the same problems for Mike Brey’s program caught up to them late in the game. Notre Dame couldn’t get enough stops — whether it was man-to-man or zone — to complete the comeback.

This was a good test for each team. Iowa was coming off a tough loss in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game against Villanova and Notre Dame was playing its first road game of the season. Iowa showed its a talented and deep team, averaging a tick under 90 points per game. Although Notre Dame found itself in a hole early, the Irish battled back, but the similar problems we’ve seen so far handed them their second loss of the season.

On Nov. 17, Notre Dame allow Indiana State to hit 11 threes, 55 percent from deep, on its way to an 83-70 win. And that was in South Bend. If Notre Dame can’t defend, how does it expect to contend in the ACC with the likes of Duke and Syracuse, which both have impressive perimeter attacks of their own?

Notre Dame has three games at home against Delaware, Bryant and North Dakota State — none of them high-major teams, but all contenders in their respective conference — before games against Indiana and Ohio State, both games on neutral floors.

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.