Wow, what a game. At the beginning of the basketball season, I made a post about the Memphis Tigers, calling their dribble drive motion the "small ball revolution". The Tigers beat UCLA tonight in their final four matchup and have a chance to become National Champions on Monday against Kansas catapulting this small ball revolution to new heights.

I wondered what UCLA would do defensively tonight. Ben Howland prides himself in tough M2M defense, and I was curious to see if he would be tempted to go with a triangle and 2 like USC did earlier or a sagging M2M like Tennessee ran earlier in the season against Memphis. In the end, UCLA played Memphis straight up. And we all got to see why Memphis is so good in that dribble drive motion offense. Here are a few sequences throughout the game of the DDM in action,

1v1 ISO:

For probably the first time in a long time, we got to see Memphis run their dribble drive motion as many teams prior resorted to some sort of zone. One of the plays they went to time and time again today was the wing ISO with either Rose or CDR. They start off with the pass and clearout,

Now it's just 1v1. They had a size mismatch all game as Memphis was just bigger and could jump over the smaller guards of UCLA. The help was late because Love was afraid of leaving his man underneath the basket,

Against the Double-team:

I was very surprised that UCLA tried doubling-down and even doubling the perimeter on occasion. This allowed Memphis to reverse and attack the wide open gaps,

In the traditional dribble drive motion, they would always attack off the face-up dribble. But with the size mismatch, on more than a few occasions, both Rose and CDR posted up their smaller defenders and backed them down.


I was a little surprised that Ben Howland did not try another defensive strategy. But then again, Michigan St. tried a matchup zone (and it looked like it was the first time they ran one all season) and that was a disaster. But ultimately, what sealed the Bruins' fate were the 12 total turnovers, which probably turned into at least 12 fast break points for Memphis.

Another key factor was the superb free-throw shooting of the Tigers, going 20-for-23. After all the hoopla over their poor free-throw shooting, it was one of the reasons why they won.

The one glaring problem that Memphis still has though from what I can see is 3-point shooting. They shot 4-for-12 today. At this point, I'd say Memphis is better than Kansas, but if Kansas can keep everything in front and stop penetration maybe they can beat Memphis. Bill Self went with a box and 1 last weekend against Davidson, so you never know...

If you're looking to develop wing players for the dribble drive motion, take a look at a new video from Ganon Baker on Drills for Developing the Wing Player. Talk more about the dribble drive motion offense at the X's and O's Basketball Forum with other great coaches from around the world.