I watched almost the whole game between Memphis and Gonzaga this morning. In fact, I've watched around 5 complete Memphis games this season and to be honest, I haven't really seen very much of the dribble drive in action all year. Most teams have either zoned up, played a packline, or used a combination of both (USC's triangle and 2). In fact, Gonzaga pretty much tried all of the above today and it almost worked.

Memphis managed to squeak by Gonzaga mostly because of their pressure defense that wore down the Bulldogs down the stretch. I would be concerned about whether Memphis can go deep this year, primarily because every team they will face going forward will use any defense possible to force the Tigers from running the dribble drive motion.

In any case, ESPN color commentator Jimmy Dykes did a pretty good in-game breakdown of why Memphis has been successful this year with the personnel they have, here it is,

Much like how Allen Iverson is perfect for the dribble drive in Denver, Derrick Rose is the perfect fit for the dribble drive for John Calipari in Memphis. In my opinion, for the dribble drive to be successful, you need to have at least 1 or 2 players that can break down their defender with the dribble any time the want to. And the last 5 words are key, 'any time they want to'. When you have a great 1v1 player that can 'attack the elbows' as Dykes describes above, the options for the backdoor and drag become available. If you're guards' penetration can be stopped 1v1, you'll end up with a lot of dead ball situations and contested perimeter shots.

If I did not have a great 1v1 player like a Rose or a Gordon, I would not run the dribble drive motion. In addition, you need to have good overall 3-point shooting. If not, teams will pack it on you and force you to take outside shots. In my opinion, that is why Memphis may have a problem winning it all this year, 1 bad shooting night against a top team like Kansas or UNC or UCLA could end their season.

The Better 1 on 1 DVD from Better Basketball is certainly worth looking at for individual skill development. For even more perimeter development, you should also check out Jason Shay's DVD on 33 Perimeter drills. Coach Shay's is an assistant with the University of Tennessee men's team. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk about this and your favorite basketball topics.