Still in holiday mode watching some football and movies. But I did manage to catch a great college basketball game today, probably one of the better games I've watched in a while. Stephen F. Austin was taking on Southern Methodist (SMU) at SMU. Those most people would say it was a sloppy game, I really liked watching the physical play. 2 teams, playing hard, playing physical, bodies flying, really going right at each other, it's the way basketball used to be played, old-school. I'm a regular reader of SMU head coach Matt Doherty's blog and I've actually watched 3 (including today) of their games so far this season. I feel kind of bad for coach as they've had some real tough close losses.

As for Stephen F. Austin (SFA), I knew based on their record (11-1) that they are a good team, but I was pleasantly surprised with how great they play. They've won 9 straight (including today) and have beaten some good teams in the process, such as Oklahoma and San Diego. Their only loss on the year was against Texas Tech. They appear headed to the NCAAs, something that hasn't happened in a long time I'm guessing. They play hard M2M defense, don't press, and on offense they are mainly flex motion against M2M and 4-out 1-in against zone. Let's take a look at their flex motion offense, watch the video and read my thoughts below,

Believe it or not, there are variations of the flex and flex motion. Gonzaga is mostly a wing flex team in that most of their flex screens are set from the wing. Boston College is a baseline flex so they use the block to corner flex screen on the baseline, those are the more popular ones. Here, SFA uses mostly top to elbow flex screens to free up shooters, upscreens for basket cuts and screen the screener action. All flex motion offenses have one thing in common though, all players go through all positions, so you must have versatile players that can all shoot, all set screens, all cut to the basket and all post up.

Flex Motion Offense:

There are a lot of sequences, so bare with me while I go through them. It doesn't really matter how you start, but the forwards are setup in a double high-post set. They set a down screen on 1 side, and an upscreen on the other side, the ball is reversed.

For almost all sequences, there is some sort of basket cut option and shooting option. Here, it is O1 and O5.

There is a side shuffle screen springing O2 on the basket cut, O3 flares out after the screen for the shot.

The ball is reversed again and O5 goes for the backdoor after passing. O2 comes up off the flex screen looking for the shot.

They reverse the ball again to the other side. O2 can shoot if open.

Another basket cut on the long curl around, and a double screen to spring O3 for the shot.


Now, I purposely showed the longest sequence just so you can see the motion offense at work for almost a whole 35 second possession. SMU does a great job defending by switching, bumping cutters, and closing out shooters, that is why the possession ends in a bad shot. Later in the second half, SFA was very successful in freeing up open shots which they hit with deadly accuracy. SMU would answer, but SFA hit some clutch free throws to win it at the end. I have a feeling that Danny Kaspar, head coach of SFA, is going to get a lot of pub towards March as SFA makes it's journey to the NCAAs, they just might be a team that will upset the big names.

Flex offenses are great if you have a team full of tweeners. Good versatile players that can do a little of everything. The motion is great because if forces teams to defend all 5 players for the whole possession. You must be patient though, your players must buy into the system fully.

For more great info on running the flex, take a look at Gary Williams DVD on the Flex. You will learn everything you need to know about how to run this motion offense. To discuss this and many more of your favorite basketball topics, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk with other coaches from around the world.