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The Biggest Adjustment Each Top 10 College Basketball Team Needs to Make

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2013

The Biggest Adjustment Each Top 10 College Basketball Team Needs to Make

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    Selection Sunday is three weeks away.

    By that time, conference regular season champs will be crowned and league tournament titles will be captured.

    To get ready for March Madness, even the best teams in the country still need to fine-tune offensive sets, alter defensive strategies and tweak substitution patterns.

    Let's take a quick look at the biggest adjustment each Top 10 team needs to make.

10. Louisville Cardinals: Find Consistent 3-Point Shooting

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    Louisville (22-5; 10-4 Big East) is not a good three-point shooting team.

    On the season, the Cardinals are only connecting on 32.2 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.

    That's No. 251 in the country.

    This is almost the identical percentage that Rick Pitino's squad shot last year (31.8 percent).

    Luke Hancock (pictured) was supposed to provide some long-distance punch this year, but so far the George Mason transfer is only knocking down 32.1 percent of his threes.

    This weekend's win against Seton Hall showed that Louisville can hit shots from distance. The Cardinals put in 7-of-15 threes with Hancock leading the way, hitting all three of his treys.

    There's hope.

9. Kansas Jayhawks: Help Ben McLemore Regain His 3-Point Shooting Touch

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    Ben McLemore has been one of the best shooters this year in college basketball.

    Recently, McLemore is in a three-game three-point shooting slump, only knocking down five of his last 14 shots from beyond the arc.

    If the Jayhawks are going to make a deep run in this year's NCAA tournament, Bill Self needs to help his redshirt freshman phenom get back on track and start hitting shots from downtown again. 

8. Syracuse Orange: Keep Opponents off Their Offensive Glass

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    Syracuse (22-5; 10-4 Big East) is one of the best defensive teams in the country.

    But in the five games that the Orange have lost this year, they have allowed their opponents to freely get to the offensive glass, as follows.

    Temple: 16 Offensive Rebounds (ORs)

    Villanova: 17 ORs

    Pitt: 14 ORs

    UConn: 11 ORs

    Georgetown: 12 ORs

    Moving forward, the Orange need to give focused attention to boxing out and going after the ball on both ends of the court, but especially on the defensive side.

    Too many put-backs and easy buckets.

7. Michigan Wolverines: Get to the Line More Often

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    Michigan (22-4; 9-4 Big Ten) has a high-powered offense but does so little of its damage from the free-throw line.

    On the year, the Wolverines have only gone to the line 413 times. That's No. 326 in the nation.

    Trey Burke (pictured) is one of the best PGs in college basketball. He goes to the line more than anyone else on the team, and he only goes less than four times per game.

    If the team starts drawing more fouls and gets to the line more regularly, Michigan could realize the double benefit of increased scoring and getting key opponents in foul trouble early.

6. Duke Blue Devils: Get More Aggressive on the Offensive Glass

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    Duke (23-3; 10-3 ACC) has adjusted fairly well since Ryan Kelly went down with a serious foot injury in mid-January.

    After initially dropping two of three games, the Blue Devils have now won seven of their last eight games.

    One place they still need to improve is on the offensive glass.

    On the season, they have only pulled down 265 offensive rebounds (No. 254 in the nation).

    Because of their three-guard lineup, they don't usually commit too many players to the O-glass.

    As a result, lots of Duke's possessions consist of one shot...and that's all.

    Keeping Cook and Curry out and back is a good prevention for being vulnerable to their opponents' fast breaks.

    But, Coach K could cut athletic freshman wing Rasheed Sulaimon loose to go get some offensive rebounds.

5. Florida Gators: Get More Shots from Beyond the Arc for Erik Murphy

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    Not too many 6'10", 240-pound players have the skill set that Florida's Erik Murphy has.

    Because he is the best long-distance shooter (47.8 three-point percentage) among the starting five, head coach Billy Donovan needs to leverage this in order to keep the floor spread and to fully utilize Murphy's beyond-the-arc scoring ability.

4. Michigan State Spartans: Turn Up the Defensive Pressure

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    Michigan State (22-5; 11-3 Big Ten) is one of the best defensive teams in all of college hoops.

    On the season, the Spartans hold their opponents to 39 percent field-goal shooting (No. 36 in the country) and 31.9 percent from beyond the arc (No. 93). 

    But in Michigan State's five losses, the Spartans' opponents have shot 49 percent from the floor and 44.7 percent from downtown.

    Tom Izzo's squad needs to come together at the defensive end and focus on challenging every shot and get in every shooter's face.

3. Gonzaga Bulldogs: Stay Focused

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    Gonzaga (27-2; 14-0 WCC) has been blowing teams out lately. Over the last six games (which they've won all six), the Bulldogs' average margin of victory has been 26 points. 

    Head coach Mark Few has a unique challenge. When victories are piling up like they are (18-1 in their last 19 games), it is possible to lose focus and begin to coast.

    The team's biggest challenge is doing everything possible to maintain momentum. As the Zags go to Provo to play BYU this week, the team needs to not let up.

    The last thing that Few's crew wants to do is work hard to have such a great season, only to fizzle out before making a deep run in the NCAA tournament. 

2. Miami Hurricanes: Learn from the Loss...and Leave It Behind

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    Miami (22-4; 13-1 ACC) was not sharp in its loss to Wake Forest yesterday.

    Rather than closing out the conference schedule with an unblemished record, the Hurricanes will have to shake themselves and prepare to get back on track as they play three of their four remaining regular season games at home.

    The best decision for the 'Canes is to learn from the loss and leave it behind.

    On March 2, Miami travels to Durham to play Duke in an important contest for both teams. As Jim Larranaga's group approaches the ACC tournament, nothing would clear out the cobwebs better than knocking off the Blue Devils on their home court.

1. Indiana Hoosiers: Find Minutes for Will Sheehey

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    Indiana (24-3; 12-2 Big Ten) has the best starting five in college basketball.

    There are no holes and no weaknesses when the Hoosiers take the court.

    But there is still room for improvement.

    Tom Crean has one of the best sixth men in college hoops, Will Sheehey, coming off his bench.

    The 6'7" junior forward averages 9.9 PPG and 3.6 RPG. Even though he already plays 22 minutes per game, getting him some extra playing time will do nothing but help IU as they move towards March Madness.

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