Watched the Pittsburgh Panthers against cross town school Duquesne in college basketball action tonight. It was kind of a sluggish game, but I think that is the style of play that Coach Jamie Dixon wants. They don't want to get into a track meet like Duquesne wants, they want to run their 4-out 1-in motion offense and play tough defense. Control the tempo and you play the game your way, not your opponent's way.

The Dukes played mostly a M2M defense in the halfcourt which allowed me to capture a bunch of clips of Pitt's 4-out 1-in motion offense. It's very simple, your basic pass and pick away, pass cut and fill, but I think what you really notice is their patience and emphasis on spacing which ultimately gives them good open looks at the basket. Take a look,

Mesh Option:

There really isn't any set continuity in true motion. There are 5 positions on the floor and the idea is to fill each position. There are options out of the motion which you can run. In the clips, you'll notice the Panthers run what I'm calling the mesh option at least 2 times. It's basically a cross baseline between the 2 top players. They start out in their 4-out 1-in. O1 passes to the wing then goes to pick away for O3. O4 shuffles to fill as does O3,

The ball gets reversed and O2 goes down to the baseline past O5,

Now things get interesting. There are 2 options here. The first option is to pass back to the same wing for a 3-pointer, drive, or post-entry into O5,

Option 2, is O2 who cuts all the way to the corner. O4 passes to O1 who passes to O2 in the corner for the 3-pointer, drive or post-entry,

Also notice that each time the player receives a pass, they immediately square up into triple-threat. Because of their spacing, they always have the option to drive to the basket, especially if the defense is playing too close.


You can't not admire their patience and discipline. That is the key, because as the ball gets reversed over and over, you'll notice the defense gets complacent. They either get tired, or simply don't believe their check is a threat to score so they let their guard down. If you don't think that works, just try this. Have 5 guys on defense, 5 on offense. Tell the offense they are to only run motion and they never shoot the ball. Set a timer and watch to see when the first defender lets his guard down. I bet it comes before 20 seconds.

If you want to implement Pitt's 4-out 1-in motion offense, then you should check out Jamie Dixon's DVD on his Attacking 4-out 1-in Motion Offense. Be sure to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss this and more of your favorite basketball topics.