FanPost

Gonzaga to Scrimmage Texas


According to ESPN, these two will scrimmage each other on November 2nd in Phoenix. Looking forward to your comments below. I think last year they also scrimmaged each other.

Need an Insider account to access the story.

http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/jeff-goodman/post?id=1941

Below is a plagiarized article from ESPN's Seth Greenberg from last year that helps explain what scrimmages are and gets me beyond my 75 word limit:

Secret scrimmages are the worst-kept secret in college basketball. Any hoops junkie will know whom his team is scrimmaging against, when his team is scrimmaging and where his team is scrimmaging.

That's because even though the NCAA doesn't allow coaches to discuss the scrimmages publicly, and they are closed to the media and fans, every university's message board will have a full breakdown of the scrimmage within hours of its conclusion.

So what really goes on at these scrimmages? Allow me to explain how the matchups come together, how the teams benefit and the point (or lack thereof) behind the secrecy.

Secret scrimmages versus exhibition games

The NCAA allows college basketball teams to play any combination of two scrimmages or exhibition games. Some programs opt for exhibitions for two reasons: First, they are part of the school's season-ticket package and are used to help fund the athletic department; and second, experiencing a game-day routine for the first time at the college level helps new players prepare for the season in a way that closed scrimmages do not. I spoke to Duke Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski about this recently, and he told me that he believes playing two games with the lights on in front of the Cameron Crazies gives his team -- particularly his freshmen -- a valuable dress rehearsal.

The scrimmages don't offer the same game-day experience, but provide benefits in other ways. In terms of best preparing my team for the season, I preferred going the scrimmages route.

Who arranges the scrimmage?

In order to get what you need out of the scrimmage, you have to choose your opponents wisely. When I was coaching I would try to arrange one scrimmage at home and one away -- to give freshmen the experience of playing on the road -- against teams that played with different styles. I wanted to see my team against a half-court, grind-it-out team in one game, for example, and a fast-paced pressing team in the other.

But even more important than the style of play is finding matchups against teams with head coaches you know well and can trust. After all, that's how these things are scheduled, with one coach calling the other.

Trust is extra important for several reasons: You don't want the game film of the scrimmage (a valuable teaching tool to use with your players) to end up in the hands of your rivals; you want someone you work well with in order to arrange the format of the scrimmage, and you want a coach who will give you honest feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of your team.

Honest feedback is particularly important; at Virginia Tech, we would scrimmage Georgetown almost every season, and there was no better feedback than what I got from John Thompson III. The added benefit was that his father, coach emeritus John Thompson II, would always address my team after the scrimmage, doing so in such an honest and straightforward manner that I would look like a choir boy in comparison.

One of the longer-standing "secret" scrimmage matchups is between the Davidson Wildcats and Texas Longhorns, an arrangement that is beneficial to both teams. Davidson gets to play against a bigger, stronger and more athletic team (the type of team it's likely to play in an early season tournament or made-for-TV game), while Texas gets to play a less athletic but still experienced team that prides itself on screening, execution and spacing. Both coaches get valuable feedback on their respective teams' strengths and weaknesses against systems and personnel they are unable to simulate practicing against with their own rosters.

One of the more interesting secret scrimmages this season took place this weekend, when Larry Brown'sSouthern Methodist Mustangs hosted Tad Boyle'sColorado Buffaloes. Boyle played for Brown at Kansas and credits him for a great deal of his coaching philosophy. So in that case, their familiarity with each other and their systems will allow them to give and receive detailed, unfiltered feedback.

How are the scrimmages structured?

There are no time restriction on the scrimmages, so it enables the coaches involved to play a number of halves or quarters, as opposed to just a 40-minute game. This gives the coaches a chance to look at different lineup combinations and give freshmen the opportunity to play through mistakes without worrying about the outcome of the game.

Prior to the scrimmage, the two coaches might decide to play two 10-minute man-to-man scrimmages, followed by a zone segment, a pressing segment and a 20-minute game. The teams could break for lunch and use the afternoon session to work on special situations.

When we scrimmaged Georgetown, we used to run a lot of five possessions at a time with transition up and back. This enabled each coach to work on his half-court offense, as well as defensive and offensive transitions. When we scrimmaged Dave Odom's South Carolina Gamecocks, we would use the morning session for 20-minute segments and the afternoon session for five-minute scrimmages with a team starting up or down in the score to get more time and score situations.

What's with the secrecy?

You'll have to ask the NCAA on this one, because I've never really understood the logic behind keeping these scrimmages a secret and not letting coaches go on the record about them with the media (coaches have been reprimanded for doing so in the past). And like I mentioned earlier, it's not as though the news on the scrimmages doesn't get out.

However, as a coach, I always found these scrimmages to be incredibly useful. With more and more teams playing made-for-TV games against high-level competition early in the season -- and with the difference between winning and losing those games sometimes earning or costing a team an NCAA tournament bid -- gaining experience and feedback in the preseason against a quality opponent is very valuable.

Coming out of these secret scrimmages, most coaches have a reasonable snapshot of what their team is going to be that season.

This post does not reflect the views of the blog authors or SB Nation.

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