Nothing signals the start of the college basketball season quite like preseason Multi-Team Events (MTEs). These tournaments offer a valuable early-season gauge of team performance for several reasons. First, they provide teams with the opportunity to play multiple games in a short span, an experience they will not encounter again until March Madness.
Second, coaches and players get to face opponents from different conferences and playing styles, again, a rarity outside of the NCAA Tournament. Every tournament presents a unique challenge, and today, we will examine the champions of three MTEs to uncover their winning strategies and areas of excellence. Let’s delve into the details powered by Just Play.
Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship – Miami Hurricanes
Coach Larrañaga and the Miami Hurricanes emerged victorious in the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship, securing decisive wins over the Georgia Bulldogs and the Kansas State Wildcats. The Hurricanes’ offensive prowess was on full display throughout the two victories, as they averaged an impressive 1.35 points per possession (PPP) in the first eight seconds of the shot clock, converting 60% of their three-point attempts and 72.7% of their shots at the rim.
They also demonstrated their ability to capitalize on late-clock opportunities, averaging 1.22 PPP, and maximized their possessions that included an offensive rebound, achieving a remarkable 1.56 PPP. Additionally, the Hurricanes’ connected on 39.6% of their three-point field goal attempts, while also hitting from the free-throw line, sinking 89.2% of their shots. On the defensive end, the Hurricanes held their opponents to a mere 0.97 PPP in the half-court and restricted them to a very low 22% shooting percentage from beyond the arc.
Myrtle Beach Invitational – Liberty Flames
Few teams reap the benefits of early-season tournaments as effectively as Coach McKay and the Liberty Flames. Why? Because most teams are reluctant to schedule Liberty in non-conference matchups. Liberty seized the opportunities presented by their early tournament play, winning three games in four days to remain undefeated at 5-0. Over those three games, 91% of Liberty’s scoring came from three zones: beyond the arc, at the rim, and from the foul line.
Moreover, 87% of their shots were attempted from the three-point line and at the rim. Liberty also demonstrated exceptional ball control, turning the ball over on only 14.2% of their possessions, a mark that places them among the top 15% in the country. When turnovers did occur, Liberty’s defense prevented their opponents from capitalizing on these mistakes, holding them to 11 points per game off of Liberty’s turnovers.
Defensively, Liberty clamped down on their opponents, restricting them to 67 points per game. Their ability to slow down their opponents and hold the line defensively was further evidenced by their impressive 0.83 PPP in defensive transition. Opponents were held to a 12.5% shooting percentage from beyond the arc in transition and a similarly low 53.3% shooting percentage at the rim against the Flames in transition. Liberty’s dominance extended to the rebounding game as well, limiting their opponents to recovering only 22.2% of their missed shots, a remarkably low percentage.
Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic – Houston Cougars
Defense was the cornerstone of the Cougars’ success under Coach Sampson at the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic. A glance at the stat sheet reveals how effectively the Cougars stifled their opponents. Throughout their three victories in Charleston, the Cougars dictated the pace, limiting their opponents to a mere 62.7 possessions per 40 minutes, which resulted in Houston holding their opponents to 56.7 points per game.
Analyzing their opponents’ PPP statistics, it is evident that they struggled to score in transition (0.7 PPP), in the half court (0.97 PPP), and late in the shot clock (0.6 PPP). Opponents also struggled to find their shooting rhythm, connecting on just 38% of their field goal attempts over the three games. Houston’s defensive prowess played a pivotal role in securing their championship title in Charleston and maintaining their undefeated 6-0 record.
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