Two games in a row heading into the main tournament and Team USA has not only looked beatable, but lackluster. I thought they would easily beat Team Australia but I was totally wrong. Australia played aggressive, ran great offensive sets, settled into their pack-line defense, and out-played Team USA. All without their best player, Andrew Bogut. If it weren't for some bad TOs (much like Team Russia), they would've beat Team USA.

I was very impressed with Team Australia's offense. I watched them play Angola earlier where they mostly ran post-entries into Bogut. Without Bogut in this game, they instead went through several offensive sets. 2-3 high, 1-4 high, handoff and high PNR. I took several clips of all of them except for the PNR plays because frankly, the PNR plays were more bad defense by Team USA. Here they are,

2-3 High and UCLA Cut:

I like the 2-3 high set. Especially against an aggressive Team USA defense. Bring your players up high so that the passes are shorter and there is less chance of getting deflected.

In this play out of the inbounds, they run a simple UCLA screen off the 2-3 high set and Team USA gets caught over the top with the lob,

Handoff Play:

I really like the handoff play. It must be my football roots, because my favorite football offenses I ran were the veer and triple option. Because your back is turned to the defense, you can handoff the ball or fake it, then turn and go. Lebron gets caught anticipating the handoff and Anderson spins to the basket creating a 2v1 opportunity,


I thought Australia was the aggressor on this night. They went right at Team USA from the start and were not intimidated by Team USA at all. To the credit of Team USA though, guys like Lebron and Chris Bosh stepped up the intensity to match the Aussies. Against the packline defense Australia used, I felt Lebron was most effective. Much like the NBA season, Lebron proved he can go 1v5 and still get AND1 opportunities, which he did.

On the 1-4 high offense which is very similar to the 2-3 high, a new DVD from Luther Riley on 15 Quick Hitters from the 1-4 High is worth looking into. Coach Riley is a high school coach in Mississippi as well with Nike Basketball. Discuss this and the rest of your favorite basketball topics at the X's and O's Basketball Forum.