Mike Slive

SEC coaches in favor of using experimental 30-second shot clock

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Two weeks ago at its conference meetings, the ACC announced that it would experiment with a 30-second shot clock for exhibition games during the 2014-15 season. Some coaches have already expressed their approval of the move, and their feedback following those exhibition games will be key as the conference (and maybe college basketball as a whole) considers changing a clock that has been set to 35 seconds since 1993.

And if the coaches in the SEC have their way, they’ll also be able to experiment with the 30-second shot clock in 2014-15. At the SEC’s annual league meetings this week, men’s basketball coaches have approved the use of a 30-second shot clock during exhibition games.

All that’s left now is the stamp of approval from the conference’s athletic directors, who will discuss the matter in their own meetings this week.

For some a quicker shot clock would surely mean an increase in scoring, while detractors have opined that defenses are at an advantage due to the fact that they have to defend for five fewer seconds. As for South Carolina head coach Frank Martin, he sees another issue at play when it comes to increasing the amount of offense in college basketball games.

“I think the shot clock is the last concern why it doesn’t flow. The NBA has a 24-second shot clock and I just watched an NBA team score 36 points in a half the other day,” Martin said. “We’re talking playoffs, not a boring game at the end of January.

“Our problem is not with shot clock or defensive styles. Our problem is we’re under-teaching the game at the grassroots level.”

In an attempt to increase scoring in recent years the NCAA allowed its officials to crack down on contact on and off the basketball, and there was also the adjustment to the block/charge call that certainly agitated some participants (and fans, as well). It will be interesting to see what the findings in these exhibition games are with regards to the effectiveness of the 30-second shot clock, since those results will likely impact what other conferences across the country choose to do.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.