The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament are the best four days of the year for hoops junkies. As soon as last year’s bracket came out, most circled Dayton versus Wichita St. as a must-see game. The two well-coached, tough-nosed teams didn’t disappoint. After watching it again this weekend, a particular Flyers set caught my eye.
It’s always a good idea to put a guard in position to create several easy scoring opportunities. After breaking down more Dayton possessions, I realized it was an action coach Archie Miller used all season to get the ball in their two senior guards’ hands in advantageous situations. The Flyers frequently took advantage of how the defense defended the play and scored numerous easy baskets.
The play starts with a simple down-screen to get the wing open for the entry pass. The point guard cuts through to the opposite side. The wing with the basketball hits the 4-man at the top of the key. As soon as the wing passes it, he cuts to the block, and the 5-man pops out to the wing. The 4-man reverses the ball to the opposite wing then cuts to the left corner. The wing throws it right back to the 5, and now he and the point guards set a stagger-screen for the wing that caught the initial entry pass. As he comes off the stagger, the 5-man dribbles toward the right to set up the dribble handoff (DHO). The 5-man rolls to the rim, and the last guy setting the stagger-screen lifts to create several passing lanes for the ball-handler in case the drive to the rim isn’t available.
In the first clip, the 5-man’s defender does a great job of hedging the ball screen, but the ball-handler does better and takes advantage of the recovering defender. The help defender is hugging his man in the corner because he’s an elite shooter. Because of the hard hedge, the rolling 5-man was also open.
In the second clip, the defender helps off the man in the corner and the ball-handler delivers a pass for an easy catch-and-shoot 3-pointer.
In the third clip, because of a skillful stagger-screen, the wing shoots the 3 off the DHO.
In the next clip, the 5-man’s defender hedges hard and stays with the ball-handler too long, forcing the stagger-screener’s defender to help in the post. The ball-handler finds the open man for an easy 3.
The final clip shows a counter to this action. Instead of setting the screen, the point guard comes off the down-screen to receive the DHO. He does an excellent job of getting downhill off the DHO to get in the paint. From there a simple jump stop creates a bunny for the rolling big.
If you have good guards, this set puts them in position to make plays. Defending the DHO is extremely difficult for most big men, and the addition of the stagger really gives the guard the advantage. With the big rolling to the basket and the shooters spotted up to space the floor, this set puts the defense in a bind in a number of ways.