back to HOT News

CBB - Opening Night News and Notes

by: Rich Salvatori @dickiesalvatori - posted on: 10-Nov-2013

Oklahoma had four different players reach double figures, including a 15 point, 12 rebound effort from sophomore forward Ryan Spangler. They also incorporated a four guard lineup which enabled them to limit turnovers (only 9) and protect the ball in a tight game.

Guard depth will be critical given the new rules changes to hand checking. Not only will fouls pile up (which hit guards harder in end of game situations), but pressure defenses will be incorporated more often in order to stretch games out. Being able to handle pressure and make foul shouts will settle many teams' fates, just as a team's ability to play sound, fundamental defense will also affect pace throughout.

Speaking of guard depth, UConn doesn't have it. They choked away a big lead late and almost lost to undermanned Maryland. As for their interior play, Phillip Nolan logged 17 minutes after starting and Tyler Olander only played 9. Amida Brimah played well, but also logged four personal fouls in just fifteen minutes of play.

Many of the problems faced by UConn came from rotation uncertainty. The same can be said for St. John's. A team stacked with talent on paper, they struggled to find consistent offense and were unable to defend the three point shot with any consistency (an issue which plagued them in 2012) in their 11 point loss to Wisconsin.

The new rules also wreaked havoc on the Johnnies. Josh Gasser, a fundamental guard who can stretch the defense, shot 8 free throws in the game despite attacking the rim very rarely. Gasser's performance was both a testimony to the quality play Wisconsin had at the 1-4 spots, but also an indictment against teams who play lazy defense. This season, more so than in the past, they will be penalized for cheaper fouls, at least early on.

Georgetown proved they did not need two key pieces, nor center Waverly Austin who fouled out midway through the second half, in order to outscore the Hoyas of Georgetown. Josh Smith played well for the Hoyas, but his being constantly substituted in and out of the lineup due to both personal fouls and conditioning disrupted the Georgetown defense and its continuity.

But the Ducks also showed that they have a pair of offensive weapons in Joseph Young and Mike Moser who can light up a good defense.

Oregon was impressive with their ball movement and also out rebounded the bigger Hoyas by a count of 40-32. Quickness and the ability to stay in front of ball handlers will be a critical element to success on that end of the floor given current officiating, and the Ducks seem pretty solid in that regard

The Oregon ball movement as a team was significantly stronger than year ago. They notched 15 assists against what had been a statistically solid defense in 2012, all while without their starting point guard.

Providence and B.C. might have been the game of the day. The Friars struggled offensively without Kris Dunn at the point. Bryce Cotton should be a first team all conference player and offensive juggernaut this season. The performance, however, indicated that Providence is not good enough defensively right now to really contend for anything relevant.

Joe Rahon from B.C. was very impressive in this game. He shouldered the lead guard load and was both crafty and instinctive. He did a great job of getting Ryan Anderson and Olivier Hanlan the ball while still keeping himself involved.

But B.C. is a team that will struggle with athletic opponents. Duke and Carolina should grade out significantly better, while teams like Maryland, virginia and even Georgia Tech should still give them trouble.

VCU proved too fast for a slower opponent with limited guard experience or continuity. I look forward to their date with Virginia in several days as it poses an interesting challenge for a program that is clearly inching toward stardom if they aren't already their

People will look at that game and assume it is defensive minded. UVA gets a big boost for being at home, but I really do not know if they have the point guard play to establish a true half court game. They might, but I've been unimpressed with their players at that position, and that is a critical aspect of their ability to get the home win here.