By far the best basketball game I've seen all season (Nov-present) was last night between the Purdue Boilermakers and the Wisconsin Badgers. Two great teams, conference matchup, ESPN national TV coverage, as good as it will get until Feb 11 when Duke and UNC go at it. Both teams were kickin' up somethin' fierce on defense, and yet both teams still executed and made plays offensively. It was a playoff atmosphere with both teams showing a lot of emotion, and it was a fantastic finish to boot with Purdue winning by one.

All game long, Purdue's ball-hawking defense was intense. What I loved was the way they fronted the post. It was like watching a clinic on switching from 3-quarter front to help and back to a full front. Here a few sequences from the first half along with an Inside the Play segment with ESPN's Steve Lavin,

Fronting Over the Top or Full Front:

The general rule is, that if the ball is at the top of the key, above the free-throw line extended, the best fronting position is to come over the top,

When the ball is in the low-wing or corner position, below the free-throw line extended, then the idea is to to full front the post. The weak side help comes from the baseline who is in ball-you-man position taking away both the lob over the top and to closeout on a skip,

Coaching Tip, Windshield Wiper:

I've never heard of this before but Steve Lavin referred to it in the segment. The "window wiper" is a great way to think of the post denial on the 3-quarter front. Hand outstretched, palms out, moving up and down. Like a windshield wiper,


As you know, I love watching great defense and this was the mecca of defense between Bo Ryan and Matt Painter. Purdue's defense was just flying all over the place, especially against Wisconsin's Swing Offense. At the other end, Wisconsin was pursuing the Boilermakers all over the court as they executed their 4-out motion offense. You probably would've expected a score in the 50s or even 40s, but both teams still executed, still scored. It really was a great game, a great Purdue win on the road.

As for Wisconsin, I know it's been tough with the 5+ losses in a row, but you have to take solace in the fact that they've been competitive in every game. It's a cliche, but it means that they just aren't closing games, they're a little tight and they're not confident in themselves yet in taking those games.

If you enjoy watching Purdue and want to know more about their system, take a look at Matt Painter's DVD on their 4-out Motion Offense. As always, be sure to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss this and more of your favorite basketball topics.