USF Men's Basketball Screw The Haters Season Preview: Stan Heath

Jamie Rhodes-US PRESSWIRE

Let's not forget this is a coach that knows how to make teams get better

Here's the thing:

We have a tremendous amount of faith in Stan Heath as a game coach. He has a philosophy that he wants his teams to execute, but he's always willing to adjust to the personnel he has to find a way to win. And for a coach with his game planning creativity, having lots of options at multiple positions makes his ability to pilot the team even more effective.

The team that we saw Dominique Jones lead to an NIT bid in 2010 was completely different then the team that won two NCAA Tournament games in 2012. The 2010 team was designed to get players space to create after using Jones as both a distributor and a scorer. In 2012 the offense became secondary, and the team made a major commitment to defense that had their dentist's chair as the focal point of the most successful team in USF history.

In 2010 USF was 338th out of 347 in America in 3 point percentage at 28.8% for the season, but finished 33rd in free throw rate (one of the Four Factors the sabermetricians have figured out makes a difference in winning basketball games). In 2012 the Bulls were 230th in FTA/FGA, but 14th in the country in effective field goal percentage defense. The held opponents to just 44.1%, even when counting made 3's 50% more than made 2's.

To completely change the way you want to win basketball games in just two seasons and to have success in two completely different ways shows that Heath and his staff are willing to cater to the talent on the roster. They will use the early part of the season to figure out the best player combinations, and by league play we'll know what they want to do. It might be a lot of high screens for Anthony Collins, or turning up the pressure and trapping in half & 3/4 court to create turnovers, or maybe some dribble-drive motion if the new rules we mentioned earlier are getting enforced and players like Corey Allen and Victor Rudd can get to the rim off the wing.

It's the same way defensively: all coaches ideally (outside of Jim Boeheim) usually want to play man-to-man, but some zones to protect weaker defenders or for certain opponents are always in the playbook. Which slides and rotations will be called on in man-to-man and which zones will be deployed are all decisions that will be decided based on talent, not stubborn or iron clad coaching beliefs. And that's a credit to a head coach that has been superior in his X's and O's during his time in Tampa.

From a game management and matchup perspective, we've got one of the best in Stan Heath. And he should have more weapons at his disposal in 2013-14 than we've seen from any of his teams in recent memory.

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