I watched most of the first half of this game and part of the second between Duquesne and Robert Morris. I think Duquesne is a tremendous defensive team, they play great tenacious pressure defense. They press all game much like Tennessee and in the half-court they play aggressive M2M like a Southern Illinois. It really was a treat for me to watch as I really like pressure teams. If you haven't watched them play, you really should, I think they will be a team to watch along with Dayton in the A10. Rhode Island is the one getting all the pub right now (as they should), but don't sleep on Duquesne.

As for Robert Morris, I thought they did a really good job of break the pressure defense of Duquesne early on. They really attacked the middle of Duquesne's 1-2-1-1 press and after they broke the press, they did a good job of not forcing a bad shot. In the end though, Duquesne just kept pressing and running and Robert Morris ran out of gas in the second half. The Northeastern conference is wide open so I think Robert Morris has a good chance as any to win out. Watch the video and read my thoughts below,

Press Attack Middle:

I've always advocating attacking pressing in the middle of the court, because that is where your players can make a move in the open court. Robert Morris breaks the press through motion and cutting. Think of Princeton offense but for press break. You inbounds the ball, then players cut to the middle of the floor.

Against the 1-2-1-1 press here, similar to the one Tennessee uses. O1 is the decoy, O5 cuts to the ball from the sideline and receives the pass from the inbounder.

Once the pass is made, you'll notice that immediately O1 is cutting to the middle of the court. O5 makes the pass hitting O1 in stride and he's already beaten 4 defenders down the floor.

In the second sequence of the video clip, the cut to the middle is from the inbound. Once the pass is made over top of all the defenders to the middle man, the dribbler continues to attack the middle and the press is broken.

Think of your press break just like your half-court offense. Use principles of cutting, moving without the ball and finally attacking the middle of the court. Traditionally, I've always used ball reversal then attack the middle, but this press attack middle is extremely effective at creating fast-break opportunities off of your press break.

For a development video on helping your players break pressure defense, take a look at Bruce Weber's DVD on press break fundamentals. Coach Weber goes through several drills that will help your players play better against pressure defense. As usual, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to get your hoops talk fill.