Pitt's High Post Zone Buster

Zone offense is one of the more important things to consider as we head into playoff season for most of you coaches out there. The vaunted zone defense can cause all sorts of problems for teams who are not prepared and do not have a coordinated plan of attack.

I watched the first half of the Pitt game against Providence and it was pretty close throughout with the Friars even holding the early lead. But the Panthers were too much down low and specifically, they were able to score effectively when the Friars went to a 2-3 zone. Here are a couple of zone offense sequences from the first half,

In order to beat any zone, keep in mind of the big 3,

1. Early Offense, hit the zone before it has time to setup
2. Offensive rebounding, the zone does not have man box out responsibility
3. Use fakes, the zone reacts to the ball and not the man

By winning the battle for the big 3, you can rely more on your players abilities and less on scheme.

1-4 High vs 2-3 Zone:

Having that in mind, you still need to have a specific zone offense strategy. For Pitt, they wanted to attack the zone through the high-post. The ball must be entered into the high-post before a shot is taken. Here, they use a 1-4 high set to go hi-low against the zone,

The high post is a great place to exploit most zones which are weak in the middle. This forces the defense to collapse to the high post which will allow your players to either cut to open space or an open shot.


I like the 1-4 high set because you can use it against a 2-3, 1-1-3, 1-3-1, 3-2. Also notice how it alters the 2-3 zone by bringing the defenders higher and away from the basket, this allows your basket cutters to get to the rim without congestion.

For more info on Pitt's zone offense, check out Jamie Dixon's DVD on his 3-out 2-in Zone Offense. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk about this and your favorite basketball topics.