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.
No. 2 Virginia’s starting point guard day-to-day with broken nose, mild concussion
With junior wing Justin Anderson sidelined with a broken left hand, No. 2 Virginia has continued to go about its business in hopes of winning a second consecutive ACC title. And in Sunday’s home game against Florida State, which the Cavaliers won 51-41, Tony Bennett had to account for another personnel loss in the second half.
While playing defense guards Malcolm Brogdon and London Perrantes collided, with Perrantes’ nose meeting the side of Brogdon’s face. While both left the game to be attended to, Brogdon was able to return to the court. The same could not be said for Perrantes, and on Monday the program announced that he suffered both a broken nose and a mild concussion.
Perrantes is considered to be day-to-day moving forward, with the Cavaliers visiting Wake Forest Wednesday night.
Without Perrantes freshman Devon Hall saw time at the point, playing nine minutes in the second half. And there were also occasions in which, once he returned to the game, that Brogdon was used to initiate the offense for Virginia. Should Perrantes have to miss game action, those two will share the responsibilities at the point for the Cavaliers.
Brogdon finished the game with ten points, with forwards Anthony Gill (13 points, nine rebounds) and Darion Atkins (11) leading the way for Virginia. Freshman wing Marial Shayok added seven points and six rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench.
Yet even with the recent injury issues the pack line defense remains a constant for Virginia, which held Florida State without a field goal for the final 10:33 Sunday night. Following a Jarquez Smith jumper that gave the Seminoles a 37-36 lead, Florida State scored just four points (all from the foul line).
Whether or not Perrantes has to miss time, Virginia will continue to rely on a defense that has been right there with No. 1 Kentucky when it comes to the nation’s best.
Weekly Awards: Larry Nance leads Wyoming, Seton Hall’s pair of upsets
Nance was terrific in the first week of Mountain West play, leading the Cowboys to a 2-0 start and putting them in a position where they look like the favorite to win the league. On New Year’s Eve, Nance out-dueled UNLV’s Christian Wood, finishing with 29 points, five boards, three blocks and two steals in an impressive 76-71 win. He followed that up with 18 points, 13 boards and two assists as the Pokes came from behind to knock off San Jose State on the road. In the two games, Nance shot 17-for-27 from the floor.
As good as Wyoming has been in stretches this season, if they are going to be a Mountain West contender, they’re going to have a chance to prove it this week. They’ll be paying a visit to Colorado State on Wednesday night.
THE ‘ALL THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM
Jahlil Okafor, Duke: In wins over Elon, Wofford and Boston College, Okafor averaged 26.3 points, 8.0 boards, 2.3 blocks and shot 30-for-39 from the floor.
Kyle Collinsworth, BYU: Collinsworth notched his third triple-double of the season in a win at San Francisco and averaged 13.7 points, 11.7 boards and 6.7 assists in three WCC wins.
London Perrantes, Virginia: Perrantes has been in a shooting slump this season but busted out of it in a big way on Saturday, finishing with 26 points and eight assists, hitting five threes, in a double-overtime win at Miami.
Shannon Evans, Buffalo: There have been six triple-doubles on the season, Evans has one of them, going for 14 points, 10 boards and 10 assists in a win at Binghamton. He followed that up with 33 points, five boards and four assists against Cornell.
Phil Forte, Oklahoma State: Forte led the Pokes to a pair of wins over Kansas State and Missouri last week, averaging 20.5 points and shooting 14.for-22 from the floor and 6-for-12 from three.
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Seton Hall Pirates
Things didn’t look bright for Seton Hall entering this week, as the Pirates kicked off Big East play with home games against No. 15 St. John’s and No. 6 Villanova without their star guard, Isaiah Whitehead. That didn’t matter, however, as Kevin Willard’s club landed the two upset wins, which included a thrilling overtime win against the Wildcats.
The star of the week for the Pirates was Sterling Gibbs, who averaged 22.5 points and 6.0 assists in the two games. There is not a player in the conference who has been in better form than Gibbs, and his play — along with that of Jaren Sina and Khadeen Carrington — made the fans in Newark forget about Whitehead’s absence really quickly. Here’s the question: what happens when Whitehead, a high-volume and low-efficiency scorer, returns to the mix?
THEY WERE GOOD, TOO
South Carolina: The Gamecocks made a statement on Saturday as they knocked off No. 9 Iowa State at the Barclays Center.
Maryland: The Terps moved to 2-0 in their first season in the Big Ten, picking up a win at Michigan State and knocking off Minnesota in College Park.
New Mexico: The Lobos lost Cullen Neal for the season, but they won their first two Mountain West games, including a blowout win over previously undefeated Colorado State.
Dayton: The Flyers put together a 2-0 week, including a win over Ole Miss, despite playing shot-handed.
Cincinnati: Mick Cronin won’t be coaching for the rest of the season, but the Bearcats played well without him. They blew out N.C. State in Raleigh and followed that up by beating SMU at home.
DePaul: The Blue Demons are 2-0 in the Big East. Seriously.
SET YOUR DVR
No. 14 Notre Dame at No. 19 North Carolina, Mon. 7:00 p.m.
No. 18 Oklahoma at No. 11 Texas, Mon. 9:00 p.m.
Wyoming at No. 24 Colorado State, Wed. 9:00 p.m.
No. 13 Kansas at No. 22 Baylor, Wed. 9:00 p.m.
No. 5 Louisville at No. 19 North Carolina, Sat. 2:00 p.m.
No. 3 Virginia at No. 14 Notre Dame, Sat. 6:00 p.m.
No. 9 Iowa State at No. 17 West Virginia, Sat. 8:00 p.m.