The Big West is one of those conferences that gets little attention. It's a small conference and though many teams exist in talent-rich southern California, most of the top recruits either go PAC-10 or abroad. But they still get 1 automatic bid in the NCAA tournament in March and with the parity that exists in college basketball today, you just never know if Cinderella will be from the Big West.

One of the teams that probably has the best shot at winning the end of season Big West Conference Tournament is Cal State Northridge. I actually have a personal connection as one of the players on the team that transferred there recently from Pepperdine played his high school ball in my area and I had many opportunities to watch him play.

Anyways, the Matadors were hosting UC Irvine at the Matadome tonight and they extended their conference unbeaten record to 7-0 with the win. I watched the first half of the game and the Matadors are primarily an early offense team. They look to score within the first 15 seconds and use both an inside and outside attack. Here is what it looked like live,

Much like UNC, the forwards of the Matadors are the ones that lead the break. This is a vitally important concept. Roy Williams likes to emphasize key to key for his forwards, can't say it any better than that. So here are just a couple of early offense plays from the clip.

Early Offense Post-up:

The early offense post-up should be the primary look. It's effectiveness primarily comes with the fact that the ball is entered into the middle of the lane when help is not ready to come due to the transition still from offense to defense by the defending team.

Notice how they form a diamond. UNC does this as well. Both wing players run wide and the post-player runs the middle. This spreads the floor and gives the point-guard 3 legitimate options. O5 gets right into the middle of the lane, posts up. O1 enters the ball early with a perfect bounce pass. Pivot and score from there.

Early Offense 3-pointer:

As a shooter, probably the most open you will be for a perimeter 3-point shot is off transition. I like the way this play develops. It's smart in it's design and requires the defense to adjust how they will get back to defend you.

Same setup as before, except, your shooter on the wing gets an extra step ahead. O5 will set a down screen instead of posting up. O2 who is trailing the play comes to set the second pick for O3.

O1 dribbles to the vacated wing. O3 should be coming off shoulder to shoulder at this point. X3 is caught behind the screens. O3 catches and shoots and nails the 3-pointer.


As some places transition from a 30 second shot clock (or some places with no shot clock) to a 24 second shot clock, the concept of early offense will just become offense. If you take away the time it takes to bring the ball across half, you will probably have 10-15 seconds to get a shot off without getting counted down. There are quick hitters from a motion or continuity, but most require patient ball and player movement. If your area is moving to the 24 second shot clock, you should start thinking about early offense, or you could get left behind.

There is no better video at explaining the concepts of fast-breaking and early offense than Roy Williams' DVD on UNC's Numbered Secondary Break. Talk early offense at the X's and O's Basketball Forum with other great coaches from around the world.