I watched the half-time show here with Seth Davis and he thinks that the Mountain West will likely only get the 1 automatic bid (conference tournament winner) to the NCAA tournament in March. That is truly unfortunate, because there is some great basketball teams in the Mountain West. SDSU has the athletes and is the favorite, but I also like BYU, Utah and Air Force. Tonight's game between Air Force and Colorado St. was a great game for tacticians like me. Both teams played zone and junk defenses exclusively and zone offense was a big factor as well in the ultimate result. I really liked the matchup zone that Air Force used, it really confused the heck out of Colorado St. for most of the first half. Here is what it looked like when they ran it during the first half,

The matchup zone that Air Force uses uses switches extensively. I'm not exactly sure of the terminology so I'll just go with bump and switch. Communication is key, so with cutters, you must follow your defender until he moves to your teammates area, then bump your teammate down to cover your check. You then switch to cover both an area and your new check.

I think what makes the defense so effective is in the confusion it creates. Is is a M2M defense, or a zone. It kind of looks like a pack-line with a lot of switching. But you break it like you would any zone defense, like Duke did earlier in the year against Air Force.

As the game progressed, Colorado St. was able to make some outside shots and so Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds switched to a Box and 1 to take away the Rams best player. It worked for the most part. When the Rams finally made yet another adjustment, Reynolds went with full-court pressure. Constantly changing the defense, keeping the opponent from executing what they want and forcing them to adjust. That's the kind of basketball a tactician can really appreciate.

If you like the idea of changing zone defenses, you'll probably want to take a look at Wayne Morgan's DVD on the 2-3 zone and changing defenses. Plenty of zone discussions going on at the X's and O's Basketball Forum.