I watched the early game on ABC today between Pittsburgh and Louisville. It was a great game to watch and both teams played extremely well. It's one of those games where there shouldn't be a loser, but unfortunately we don't live in that kind of a world.

In any case, one of the things that I though Pitt did a really good job throughout was handling the full-court pressure defense of Louisville. There were a few turnovers that resulted in points but for the most part, they just kept their composure. Here are around 4 sequences of Pitt breaking Louisville's vaunted full-court matchup press, take a look,

One of the things you'll notice about Pitt is that they don't have a set press break. All they do is have 3 players stay in the backcourt. They use the inbounder to either reverse or give and go. All you need is 3 players to break any press, 1 to reverse the ball to and 1 in the middle of the court.

Press break ball reversal:

I'm old school, so I believe in the ball reversal every time we attack pressure. Most presses don't take away the reverse because it leaves them vulnerable to getting beat over the top (which still happens on the reverse) so the reverse should almost always be open,

Press break sideline:

Another thing that Pitt does is a give and go with the inbounder. Because the inbounder is rarely picked up, you can quickly get the ball to the inbounder, and in this case, the inbounder passes it immediately up the sideline for a 2-on-1 break,


It's too bad Pitt has slid down the standings because they're as good as any in the Big East and even in the country. They get behind in games, and then it's too hard to come back with their style of play, which is half-court motion offense and half-court M2M.

For more great press breakers, check out Bill Self's DVD on the 1-3-1 press-break. Head over to the X's and O's Basketball forum to discuss this and many more of your favorite basketball topics.