The biggest upset of the day, 7th seeded West Virginia beat 2nd seeded Duke in a battle of similar yet different teams. Both play a sort of spread offense with no traditional post players and tough M2M defense. In the end though, the Mountaineers made the shots that counted in the 2nd half while Duke did not.

I really marveled watching West Virginia all season long. They play a hybrid version of Bob Huggins' Open Post motion offense and John Beilein's Princeton-styled 5-out offense. It is similar to Duke in that both shoot a lot of 3-pointers, but there's a lot more back door options and is more motion-based than Duke's spread offense. Here are a few clips from a critical point in the second half where the Mountaineers closed the gap and took the lead for good,

Off-ball Screening Options:

In this series of 2 plays, the Mountaineers run the same action. They get to a 4-out situation and an off-ball screen is set for forward Joe Alexander. Depending on how the defense plays the screen, Alexander will either curl off shoulder-to-shoulder all the way to the rim, or v-cut back to the ball for the 3-pointer.

Here, the defense tries to trail over the top with no switch allowing Alexander to get all the way to the rim and finishes while fouled,

In the next offensive series, the Mountaineers run the same exact play. Except this time, the defense decides to go underneath. Alexander sees this and instead cuts back to the ball and receives the pass for the open 3-pointer,

Shuffle Cut:

With the shot clock winding down, Alex Ruof reads an overplay defensively by Jon Scheyer, so he fakes coming to the ball then shuffle cuts to the corner to receive the pass for the catch and shoot 3-pointer,


In many ways, West Virginia's motion offense was exactly the kind of offense that could beat the overly aggressive defense of Duke. The Mountaineers face Xavier in the next round which play a more traditional keep-in-front M2M. If the Mountaineers can match Xavier defensively, their offense is good enough to get them the win.

If your a fan of the open post or 5-out motion is Bob Huggins' DVD on the Open Post Motion. 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.