Another great weekend of college basketball games. Some interesting finishes like the Xavier vs Butler game. Today, I was able to watch some recorded video of the Illinois and Georgia game and in watching the game it was evident why they were able to win the game despite being the inferior team talent and skill-wise. Their team defense was able to overcome what they lacked in their individual defensive matchups. They were able to force the Illini to settle for jumpers and they rebounded extremely well.

Specifically in one area, I thought the Bulldogs did an outstanding job all night, and that was in how they handled ball screens. Late in the game, these are 2 examples of where they rotated well on the backside, and also forced the Illini into tough shots,

Whenever you hedge hard or trap the ball screen, it is essential that the rest of your team rotates to protect the basket first and foremost. Your weakside defenders must drop down into the lane, and the weakside wing should split the 2 outside players,

In the second sequence, with the game on the line, the Bulldogs hedge hard on the ball screen again, preventing the PG from turning the corner. As the seconds tick down, the McCamey of the Illini decides to take his defender 1v1, good choice because he is quicker, but without the ball screen, the play is essentially 1v5 with the help defense in great position to force McCamey to force up a mid-lane floater that ricochets off the rim,

Team defense is hard to implement because it requires all 5 players to communicate and execute properly. But when you have buy in and players work at it, it can work tremendously to your advantage especially if you are lacking in really good individual defenders.

For more ideas on defending ball screens in a M2M defense, check out Mark Fox's DVD on Building a M2M Defense. Mark Fox is in his first year as head coach at Georgia and was previously head coach at Nevada for several years.