Entering Wednesday’s Diamond Head Classic title game, senior guard DeAndre Kane has been one of the key contributors for No. 14 Iowa State. The Marshall transfer’s versatility makes him a tough matchup for many of the Cyclones’ opponents, with his ability as both a scorer and distributor leading to advantageous situations for he and his teammates.
If there’s been any issue for Kane it’s been his proficiency from beyond the arc, as he made just 25% of his three-pointers prior to the game against Boise State. With that in mind the Broncos sagged off of Kane in the first half, and in ball screen situations the defender went under the screen.
In the first half the results worked in favor of the Broncos, as Kane scored ten points but needed eight shots (making three) to do so. And as a team the Cyclones shot just 31.2% from the field in the first half, as they failed to convert many of the open looks they were able to create.
But Kane and his teammates adjusted in the second half, shooting 50% from the field on their way to the 70-66 victory. Kane (23 points, five rebounds) was one of four Iowa State players to finish in double figures, and the way in which Boise State attempted to defend him is something he’ll likely see more of as the season wears on. With that being the case, Kane’s 4-for-6 night from deep has the potential to be an important step forward if he can build on that.
Another area of importance for Iowa State was their work on the offensive glass, as they rebounded 38.9% of their missed shots. The last of those came with nine seconds remaining and the Cyclones leading by four, with Dustin Hogue’s effort essentially sealing the outcome. Iowa State entered the game ranked 300th in offensive rebounding percentage, so while they do have proficient rebounders (led by Hogue and Melvin Ejim) this is not an area of strength. It was against Boise State, and the 16-5 edge in second chance points was a key factor on Wednesday night.
Rebounding will be key for Iowa State in the Big 12, especially when considering the size at Baylor and Kansas. But the most important factor moving forward could end up being Kane’s ability to knock down perimeter shots, thus keeping teams honest. He was able to do so against Boise State, and the end result was a Diamond Head Classic title.
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.
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.