The Secondary Break: Tuesday’s Links


Red v. Blue: The Official Theatrical Trailer
Last week the documentary “Red V. Blue,” which chronicles the rivalry between Louisville and Kentucky, was made available for purchase on multiple websites. And it’s fitting that the film would be available now, with the two programs meeting in the Sweet 16 later this week. Above is a trailer for the film.

A few ways NCAA really could be there for student athletes (Sports Business Journal)
With the season coming to a close, some players will have to determine whether they’ll return to school for another year or decide to go pro. Unfortunately for players the NCAA’s deadline to remove their name from the draft is in mid-April, hardly enough time for a player to make an informed decision while also being prohibited from speaking with an agent. Moving its deadline to match that of the NBA is one way in which the NCAA can look out for its student-athletes.

UM basketball coach Jim Larrañaga rebuilding roster with talented newcomers (Miami Herald)
After winning the ACC a season ago the Miami Hurricanes did not qualify for postseason play, with the loss of six talented contributors proving to be too much to overcome. And Miami’s expected to be an improved team next season, with transfers Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan becoming eligible and freshman DeAndre Burnett being healthy as well.

Saint Louis facing big changes (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
After two highly successful seasons at the helm, Saint Louis head coach Jim Crews will have his work cut out for him in 2014-15. The Billikens’ loss to No. 4 Louisville Saturday meant that five senior starters have worn the SLU uniform for the last time, meaning that there will be some major changes for the program to deal with this offseason.

A Personal Choice (Sports on Earth)
With his freshman season coming to an end Friday afternoon, Duke freshman Jabari Parker now has a decision to make: does he return to Duke for his sophomore season, or will he move on to the NBA with lottery riches in his future? While it certainly seems like an easy choice from the outside, Parker will need to do what he feels is best for himself regardless of what outsiders think.

Absence proved Embiid’s worth (Lawrence Journal-World)
No. 2 Kansas saw its season come to an end Sunday, with No. 10 Stanford eliminating the Jayhawks in the Round of 32. And with Kansas playing without center Joel Embiid, it was clear that the freshman’s being sidelined had a major impact on their hopes of winning a national title.

Sweet 16 berth means big bonus for UCLA coach Steve Alford (Los Angeles Times)
An interesting subplot during March is watching which coaches end up getting paid, be it in the form of a new position, contract extension or bonus for reaching certain benchmarks. First-year UCLA head coach Steve Alford falls into the third category, as he’s added an extra $65,000 in postseason bonuses with the possibility of earning more should the Bruins continue to advance.

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.