I've watched a couple of Ohio St. games so far this season and the both times I've watched them, they've played a zone defense almost the entire game, much different than when they had Greg Oden and Mike Conley last year. So you knew going in to tonight's game that Michigan St. was going to have to be very efficient in their zone attack and for the most part they were.

Jay Bilas of ESPN broke down a zone overload play that MSU uses on occasion. Late in tonight's game, they used the high-post to beat OSU's zone for a key point late in the game. After moving the ball around several times, MSU attacks the gap, screens the top, then finds the open spot in the middle of the zone. Watch the video and read my thoughts below,

High-Post against the Zone:

After several ball reversals, MSU finally breaks down the zone by penetrating the gaps, diving down low, and finally finding the gap in the middle at the high post.

It's important to attack the top gap between the top 2 defenders. This will force the defense to collapse. The screen is set so that Drew Neitzel gets the open pass on the wing.

Neitzel gets the ball, O4 dives down to the basket after the screen, O5 slips to the open high-post spot. Notice that X2 has shifted to cover O1 at top and X5 is staying low to defend O4 and protect the basket. This leaves O5 open for that 10 foot jump shot.


For me personally, I prefer using the high post almost exclusively to attack the zone. I put my stud player there and have him cut, screen and fill that high-post spot. After a few ball reversals, he should be able to get the ball in the high-post in a position to either shoot the open shot or attack the rim. I also like to run a player along the baseline looking for the quick pass underneath. Unless I have some great shooters, I don't usually try to shoot over the zone, I think it's too inconsistent relying on the perimeter shot.

If you're interested in the high-post or overload or any of Michigan State's zone offense, you'll want to check out Tom Izzo's DVD on the 1-3-1 Zone Offense. As always, head over to the X's and O's Basketball forum to talk with other coaches about your favorite basketball topics.