With just over 2 weeks remaining in the regular season for college basketball, the conference games at this stage mean everything. The Notre Dame Irish hosted Pitt, a team that had beaten them 5 straight times, but the Irish were up to the challenge this time around.

I actually thought Pitt would win the game, they're just a really tough physical team, but the Irish impressed me in their ability to scrap it out for rebounds and loose balls. I thought they did some really good things on defense, including changing defenses frequently. Here are some sequences of their shifting defensive strategy,

I wrote earlier about Notre Dame's packline defense, and you could see in the first sequence that they use it quite effectively. They also use a 3-quarter 1-2-2 into a half-court 1-2-2. In the last sequence, they morph their M2M into a 2-3 zone.

M2M to 2-3 Zone:

You can really cause some problems for your opponents by switching defenses within the same possession. Here they start out in a M2M look and morph into a 2-3 zone,

Now, in the sequence, Pitt finds Fields on the wing for the open 3-pointer against the 2-3 zone. But it still forced them to take a shot that probably wasn't their first choice, this is what it looks like after they shift.


I like Mike Brey's philosophies in general. He believes in early offense and a simple 4-out motion offense with emphasis on getting the ball to their banger inside, Harangody. On defense, their base is either deny M2M, straight M2M or packline. From there they will use a 1-2-2 and sometimes the 2-3. I really like the idea of mixing up defenses as that causes your opponents to adjust to your defense as opposed to executing their offense.

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.