I made this clip out of the Sportscenter highlights because I think the Southern Illinois Salukis and by extension Coach Chris Lowery are the perfect example of a team that has become extremely good almost entirely through their defense. You look at their lineup and only one of their players was a 3-star recruit coming out of high school. They lost 61-58 to number one seed Kansas last year in the sweet sixteen. I don't want to over-generalize, but it is a heck of alot easier to coach and win when you have the athletes. Watch the clip and continue reading below,

Most of you coaches are heading into the season under these same circumstances as the Sakulis. A lucky few have the athletes and from that there will be many options for you. For most others, the way to win and achieve success is through defense. It must be through defense as that is the only area where you can nullify your opponents talent advantage. The sloppier the game, the more physical and scrappy it is will be to your advantage, much like the Sakulis.

Now, obviously you can't be completely void of all talent and ability (if you are, I've been there before as well). But what you absolutely must have is a dedicated group of players that have the right work ethic. Because good defense requires hard work. They must be willing to go through tough practices, lots of conditioning and footwork drills and most importantly they must all buy into the goal of winning through relentless defense. Your players must be more disciplined than your opponents to negate all their advantages.

The key to the Salukis defense is simple, all out ball pressure on the perimeter. They don't give you an inch and they stop all penetration. They also work extremely well together behind the play to help and recover. Their games are usually in the 50s and they usually only score 60 themselves. Though they do trap and double, they don't rely much on zone traps or presses, they are almost exclusively half-court M2M with traps set on the sideline.

Looking for more defensive drills to help turn your program around? Take a look at Coach Chris Lowery's DVD on his essential defensive drills. Coach takes you through 2-on-1 breakdowns for transition defense, working his way through to 5-on-5. Coach Lowery has taken his Salukis to the NCAA tournament each of the past 3 years since he has been head coach. Get your hoops talk fill with other coaches by going to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum.