You could call it a mild upset tonight, as CSU Bakersfield beat San Diego tonight. CSU has only won 4 games all year while San Diego has had a couple of nice wins over Kentucky and San Jose St. One of the factors in tonights game was CSU Bakersfield's 3-quarter matchup press. It forced a lot of turnovers and gave the Roadrunners a few more possessions resulting in the win. I really like a 3-quarter press a lot more than a full court press. I like using the half-court line to create indecision on the other team. Watch this short clip and then read my thoughts below,

With a full court press, it gives the offense a bunch of more room to maneuver. Against a more athletic team, the offense will either blow by your traps or throw over the top. With a 3-quarter press, you compress the area for the offense to attack, and thus your players have less area to cover, this is advantageous for a less athletic defense.

Additionally, once a steal is made, the 3-quarter press usually results in more open layups as there is more open space to attack. With the full-court press, there will usually be 1 or 2 defenders thus negating any numbers advantage gained from a steal.

3-quarter Matchup 2-2-1 Press:

It's a matchup press, so it will sort of morph to form the shape of the offense. In this case, it is mostly a 2-2-1 press.

Pickup 3-quarters of the court. It's a soft press until the dribbler crosses half, then the double team is set immediately.

Notice how everyone shifts over to take away the first pass. X5 goes under the basket to split the wide O5 and O4 players.


We use around 2 or 3 presses and have 2 or so 3-quarter or half-court presses. I've charted the plays and our 3-quarter and half-court presses result in more forced turnovers and higher transition offense. Consequently, we will probably go with just 1 full court press mostly and the 2 3-quarter presses the rest of the way.

A great video showing a good matchup press is Billy Donovan's DVD on the matchup press. I especially like one of coach Donovan's main points of emphasis in not fouling when trapping. For more discussions on pressing and trapping, check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to get your hoops talk fill.