When you play against teams that have great 3-point shooters, the best way to go really is a M2M defense with switching when appropriate. UNC used it to beat Duke tonight and earlier in the day I watched Alabama upset 16th ranked Vanderbilt tonight because they did a great job of closing out shooters.

The Tide actually played some zone in the first half (which is actually their base defense), but when Vanderbilt hit some of their 3-pointers, Mark Gottfried went back to M2M the rest of the way and never looked back. Here are a few sequences from the first half showing Alabama doing a great job on the deadly Vandy shooters,

M2M Chasing Shooters:

M2M defense really is the best way to defend teams that have great outside shooters. Zone defenses are just too vulnerable to ball reversal and skip passes for open 3-pointers. Here is a great shot showing Alabama chasing those shooters,

Switching on Screens:

Against teams that really shoot the ball well from the outside, your M2M defense needs to switch appropriately and close out the shooters. In this screenshot, Alabama defends the pick and pop by switching and closing out the shooter forcing him to put the ball on the floor instead,


As I've mentioned over and over again, basketball is all about the adjustments. Alabama, who likes to play a 1-3-1 trap and 2-3 extended zone had to make adjustments in order to be successful tonight. At 40.7% and 7th in the country, Vanderbilt is a great 3-point shooting team. Mark Gottfried knew coming in that the key to winning the game was to stop Ogilvie down low and closeout Vandy's shooters of which they did both. Consequently, Vandy ended up shooting 7-for-25, just 28%. A great gamemplan and great execution by Alabama.

If you are a fan of Alabama and Mark Gottfried, then you should check out Mark Gottfried's DVD on Practice Planning. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk hoops with other coaches.