The Atlantic-10 conference is just jam-packed full of good teams this year. I don't envy the NCAA selection committee, a few good teams from this great conference won't be going to the dance. Tonight a huge conference matchup between Temple and Rhode Island was on the menu for me tonight.

It was a game that looked like Rhode Island would run away with early with their break neck fast pace. But the Owls would begin to slow the pace of the game and force the Rams to execute. It worked as the Owls would come back to force OT and eventually win. The Owls use an old school 3-out 2-in motion offense and work the ball inside and out. They try to get their bigs scores down low, and when they start drawing help, they skip it for open 3-pointers. Here are a few sequences from the first half of the game,

With the 3-out 2-in, usually the emphasis is on pounding the ball down low. And the Owls do that. But when you're best scorers are your guards, you must get them the ball in a position to score, the Owls do that by drawing help in the post and skipping it for open 3-pointers, where their great scorers do most of their damage.

Fran Dunphy's 3-out 2-in Motion:

There isn't a lot of patterned motion in the offense. Basically, the 2 forwards start on the low block, then will come out to receive passes, set screens on the perimeter, then cut back to the lane. This constant motion of passing, screening, cutting and dribble penetration eventually leads to good shot opportunities for those who know how to get open.

Much like Bo Ryan's Swing Offense, the goal of Dunphy's motion offense is to get the ball inside. Now since Rams chose to front the post all game, that meant the Owls needed to move the ball around. Here, O1 tries to dribble drive but gets cut off. O4 moves up to the top of the key for spacing and receives the pass there.

O4 does a handoff pass to O1 cutting back up to the top of the key. O2 comes back to set a screen for O1 on the dribble drive. O5 shuffles to the corner.

The pass goes from O1 to O5 in the corner. O4 pops out after the screen. Because of the motion and screening, there is a mis-communication in the Rams defense and X1 and X2 both go to cover O1 cutting through the lane. This leaves O2 wide open for the 3-pointer.


I've talked to coaches before that have been reluctant to go with a motion offense, especially at the lower levels. There is a old paradigm out there that many coaches seem reluctant to break away from, especially coaches that also coach football. Namely, the fear of letting players play. The need to dictate every possession, who goes where, who takes the shot, etc.. A motion offense, though appearing at times to be completely uncoordinated (see Bobby Knights Blocker Mover Motion), is effective primarily due to it's unpredictability. It allows your players to make basketball decisions, to be accountable for their decisions. I can't think of another way to teach the game that will develop their basketball IQ and prepare them for whatever next level awaits them.

Now Fran Dunphy has created an old VHS on his offense, but I cannot find it anymore. Instead, I would take a look at Bill Self's Hi-Low Motion DVD or Dave Leitao's DVD on his 32 motion. 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.