Facing pressure? Give the ball to the big guy

Niang, Georges_Viterbo_2014-15_3

Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson brought his “40 minutes of hell”, full-court, pressing defense to Ames Saturday.

That, of course, raised concern in the Cyclones’ camp. How would Iowa State attack the pressure and exploit it?

Coach Fred Hoiberg was counting on steady ball handling and heady decision making.

With one of college basketball’s top point guards at his disposal, Hoiberg decided to put the ball in his hands. At least some of the time.

The other thing Hoiberg did, of course, was give the ball to his center and then sit back and watch.

Georges Niang – the 6-7, do-everything, center/forward – logged 35 minutes against the Hogs’ pressure. He demonstrated steady ball handling (only two turnovers) and heady decision making (eight assists). In his spare time, he scored 26 points and had six rebounds.

Every team that faces Arkansas’ full-throttle attack will devise a plan to cope. It’s probably a reasonable thought that many of those approaches won’t utilize a big man as much as Hoiberg did.

That isn’t because only Hoiberg can draw up those strategies. It’s that only Hoiberg has Niang capable of handling the chores.

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