Having missed the Memphis vs Cincinnati game earlier in the day while our freshman team played, I was eager to catch the west coast game, Arizona vs UNLV. I knew that since Kevin O'Neill had taken over for Lute Olson that the defense would be different, but the offense was drastically different as well, a lot more Pro-style and the high-post motion was virtually non-existent.

UNLV played extremely well early, but struggled mightily with about 5 minutes to go. I made a short highlight clip here to show, how well the Running Rebels had been playing, especially executing their offense, and then how the offense had stalled in the final fateful 2 minutes when the game turned on them. I would be interested to hear Coach Lon Kruger's take, I think that fatigue had something to do with it, but still, players must be able to execute properly down the stretch. Watch the video and then you can read my thoughts below.

Flex Action:

The Rebels ran some really great stuff early on. Considering that they had quite the size disadvantage, I thought their flex and backdoor plays worked extremely well. Here is the second sequence from the clip.

Off of the first set of screens and cuts, O1 is actually open here but the pass is not made, which is fine. O4 is the second cutter who is less open but is a good second option.

O1 comes off a double stagger and receives the pass from O3 on the wing. At this point, if O1 has a shot, he can take it. O4 pops out after the screen to the wing. O1 chooses to pass to O4. At the same time, O5 sets a flex baseline screen for O1 who comes off the screen along the baseline up around O4 who hands off to O2 for the 3-pointer.

What makes the play great is that X2 gets caught off the flex screen, goes over the top, then tries to trail O2 and of course is way late to contest the shot.

Bad Offense:

Nothing to diagram here. I don't know if the Rebels were just tired, but obviously, you don't see any movement off-ball. The ball basically goes nowhere, dribbles a few steps one way, then passed. They use up the whole clock and though they actually get a decent shot down low, it doesn't go anywhere. They get lucky and get the ball back, and the next sequence is pretty much the same. In fact, the Rebels would not score a field goal in the final 3 minutes.

Nothing worse to me than offense where 1 guy has the ball, makes a couple of dribbles, while the other 4 players are just standing. Arizona was playing pretty good defense here, but it's easy to look like a good defensive team when the offense is just standing there.

For me, UNLV just lost their purpose on offense. They didn't know what exactly they were trying to do. Were they going to drive and kick, backdoor cuts, get the ball into the post? Their offense had no purpose. That's what hurt them in the end of the game. This kind of loss hurts, because UNLV deserved to win, but didn't.

For more info on running the flex, you should take a look at Mark Few's DVD Flex for Success, but Gary Williams of Maryland also does a great job breaking down the Flex so you should look at Gary Williams DVD on the Flex as well. Discuss this and your other favorite basketball coaching topics at the X's and O's Basketball Forum with other coaches.