Sometimes I’ll be watching a game and it’s noted that a team is playing small. Often this means a team is going with three or maybe four guards. But sometimes that terminology is thrown around when the 6-6 wing is moved to the four and he’s playing alongside a 6-11 center. I understand the terminology is all relative, but then I wonder what’s small in an absolute sense in the D-I universe. Well, I have found that out. Presented here for your knowledge are the smallest and tallest lineups that have seen action for at least one minute of playing time this season. Let’s begin with the shorties.
4. (tie) Fairleigh Dickinson, Total size = 365”, Time on floor = 1:50 (46th-most common lineup used by FDU)
Malachi Nix (5-8), Sidney Sanders, Jr. (5-11), Jayde Dawson (6-2), Mustafaa Jones (6-3), Matt MacDonald (6-5)
This is truly a five-guard lineup. MacDonald takes over 70 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
4. (tie) Mississippi Valley State, Total size = 365”, Time on floor = 1:56 (36th-most common lineup)
Jordan Washington (5-10), Darryl Marshall (5-11), Anthony McDonald (6-1), DeAngelo Priar (6-3), Vacha Vaughn (6-4)
Vacha Vaughn would appear to be the Delta Devils’ backup center, what with leading the team in defensive rebounding percentage.
4. (tie) UMass Lowell, Total size = 365”, Time on floor = 8:01 (11th-most common lineup)
Chad Holley (5-10), Akeem Williams (5-10), DJ Mlachnik (6-2), Mark Cornelius (6-2), Tyler Livingston (6-5)
UMass Lowell ranks 351st in average height, so they get points for consistently playing small, but they haven’t used the smallest lineup in the country.
3. St, Francis PA, Total size = 364”, Time on floor = 6:39 (12th-most common lineup)
Dominique Major (5-9), Malik Harmon (5-11), Stephon Whyatt (6-1), Ben Millaud-Menier (6-3), Earl Brown (6-6)
The Red Flash has a number of different combinations that are super small. (For the purposes of this list, only the smallest lineup from each team is eligible.) This is the smallest most-frequently played lineup that Rob Krimmel uses.
2. Lamar, Total size = 363”, Time on floor = 1:33 (45th-most common lineup)
Keilan Blanks (5-8), Nimrod Hilliard (6-0), Anthony Holliday (6-1), Marcus Owens (6-1), Donovan Ross (6-5)
Despite being 350th in offensive three-point rate, the Cardinals are actually shooting more three-pointers this season than last. And with no rotation player taller than 6-6, they better.
1. Alabama A&M, Total size = 362”, Time on floor = 1:33 (45th-most common lineup)
Jeremy Crutcher (5-8), Green Hill (5-10), Rakiya Battle (5-10), Demarquelle Tabb (6-5), Jose Long (6-5)
The Bulldogs still have 7-1 Justan Banks on their roster but they’re not afraid to play tiny, going with three players under six feet in this configuration. When somebody talks about a team playing small, A&M head coach Willie Hayes stifles a chuckle.
Power conference honorable mention
TCU, Total size = 367”, Time on floor = 1:00 (45th-most common lineup)
Kyan Anderson (5-11), Christian Gore (6-2), Michael Williams (6-2), Charles Hill, Jr. (6-2), Thomas Montigel (6-2)
With the Horned Frogs’ front court wrecked by injuries, TCU has to play small when 6-10 Karviar Shepherd needs a breather or gets in foul trouble. This, however, is an extreme case that was spotted in the second half of an 82-79 loss to Longwood.
Which teams have side on their size? Here are the five tallest lineups that have been on the floor for a minimum of one minute.
5. Florida State, Total size = 402”, Time on floor = 40:22 (1st-most common lineup)
Devon Bookert (6-3), Montay Brandon (6-7), Okaro White (6-9), Robert Gilchrist (6-9), Boris Bojanovsky (7-3)
Leonard Hamilton always tries to corner the market on size and this season is no exception. When Montay Brandon is playing the 2 (as opposed to the relatively “short” 6-5 Aaron Thomas), Hamilton really goes HAM in the height department. Unlike some of the other lineups in this list, this is no gimmick – it’s the Seminoles starting fivesome.
4. Notre Dame, Total size = 403”, Time on floor = 3:44 (18th-most common lineup)
Steve Vasturia (6-6), V.J. Beachem (6-8), Austin Burgett (6-9), Zach Auguste (6-10), Tom Knight (6-10)
This is my favorite lineup on the list. Mike Brey showed mercy on the country’s worst defense by rolling out this group of largely unfamiliar names in garbage-time against Cornell. Vasturia and Beachem have played 79 minutes combined this season. I’m not exactly sure who handles the ball in this lineup but I suppose it doesn’t matter much.
3. Providence, Total size = 404”, Time on floor = 1:08 (45th-most common lineup)
Ted Bancroft (6-6), Brice Kofane (6-8), Tyler Harris (6-9), Lee Goldsbrough (6-9), Carson Desrosiers (7-0)
This is yet another garbage-time offering, used when Providence was working on a 50-point lead against Marist. Ed Cooley’s rotation is seven, but when the game is out of reach, he’ll throw some serious size at you just because he can.
1 (tie). UTEP, Total size = 405”, Time on floor = 1:45 (40th-most common lineup)
McKenzie Moore (6-6), Vince Hunter (6-8), Julian Washburn (6-8), Cedrick Lang (6-10), Matt Willms (7-1)
OK, we’re back to real lineups used in real situations. These lineups may not be suitable for all audiences. This group deployed by Tim Floyd might not feel quite as big as its listed height because Willms checks in at 220 pounds and doesn’t rebound or block shots like your typical seven-footer.
1 (tie). Kentucky, Total size = 405”, Time on floor = 4:32 (19th-most common lineup)
Andrew Harrison (6-6), James Young (6-6), Julius Randle (6-9), Willie Cauley-Stein (7-0), Dakari Johnson (7-0)
Kentucky can provide quite a few different tall configurations, largely owing to a lot of height in the backcourt. But this is as tall as their frontcourt can go, with the two seven-footers playing alongside Randle. It’s not one you’ll see often, but 4:32 is not insignificant. The next time you witness this or UTEP’s group on the floor, know that it’s the tallest in college hoops. At least until Leonard Hamilton decides to play 7-1 Michael Ojo with 7-3 Boris Bojanovsky.