I recorded the first half of the Indiana game against Michigan earlier today and took a look at it tonight. Like him or not, coach Kelvin Sampson of Indiana is a brilliant basketball mind. What makes him so great I think is that he is able to maximize the talent potential of his players and he flat out knows how to win ball games.

Most of the Indian games that I've watched, Sampson has used various isolation sets for his best player, Eric Gordon. So a lot of 1-4 low, wing clear-outs, and stagger screen plays. If I had a player as talented as Gordon, I'd probably do the same.

Tonight, however, Gordon got into foul trouble early, 3 fouls with about 5 minutes to go in the first half. We got to see a lot of the half-court motion offense as a result and combined with their solid M2M defense, were able to stay ahead long enough for Gordon to get back in the game in the second half and dominate. Here are a few sequences (though they only score on the first one) of the multiple option offense (I apologize for the grainy video, it's the only live ESPN feed I could record and it's bouncing off a few satellites),

I actually don't know much about Kelvin Sampson's box continuity or multiple box option offenses. I looked at the footage a few times, and it didn't look like the notes that I have on Sampson's box, so I can only assume it's a version of his traditional multiple option box offense of Sampson's. I'll try to break it down as best I can, but I'm not exactly sure how accurate I'm describing it and so I apologize in advance if it's incorrect.

Multiple Option Flex:

I don't even know how to describe the starting formation, I've diagrammed it as a 1-3-1. The idea is for a screens to be set, then screeners to flash to get open either with a basket cut, or a post up. Here is how it starts,

O2 pops out to receive a pass, O4 cuts across the lane to the other wing, O3 does a shuffle cut down and O5 goes from block to block then to the weak side elbow. The pass makes it's way to O4 on the other wing. O1 fills the open wing after the pass.

The real action happens here, O2 and O5 set a stagger flex for O3 who cuts off both looking for a catch and shoot 3-pointer. O2 comes off the screen and does a short basket cut looking for the lob. O5 looks for the post up on the ball-side after the screen. In this case, O4 doesn't hit any of the options.

Finally, there is a 2 man game between O5 and O4 for the PNR which they do execute and O5 gets the basket.


These kinds of motion style offenses are what we're used to seeing with Sampson while at Oklahoma. The offense is predicated on screen the screener action, and having multiple options on every motion play. Some of these options include hi-lo, post-up, and shot off the flex. Having a talent like Eric Gordon changes all that. With Gordon, they have a player that can break down defenders any number of ways, with the dribble, athletic dunk, 3-point shooting and all out speed. Add a solid M2M defense, and the Hoosiers could be headed to the final four this year.

If you like Indiana's offense and you're interested in something truly unique, take a look at Kelvin Sampson's DVD on his Multiple Option Box Set. 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.