Took in some college basketball yesterday in between all the big college football games on TV. I like watching Butler mostly because I admire Brad Stevens. To become the head coach of a Div1 team at his age is really remarkable. They were playing Evansville yesterday and for the first half it was pretty close all the way through.

I caught a few offensive sets Butler ran that I thought were quite unique and interesting. As far as I know, they don't run motion, just straight offensive sets, but they executed them very well. Here were two sets they ran on multiple occasions,

Double Stack Set:

This is really a very ingenious play. Because it takes advantage of a M2M defense that is playing good man principles. On defense, one of the common tactics is to force the dribbler baseline into help defense. Out of a double stack set, O2 pops out to receive the pass. O1 then goes to set a downscreen for O3, then cuts to the opposite wing. O3 curls around the pass looking for a pass from O2. O4 does a cross cut up to the opposite elbow, bringing his help defender with him,

With O4 out of the lane and X4 trailing, that leaves a wide open lane right to the basket. X2 doesn't see it and assumes that he can force the dribbler baseline and help defense will be there,

The play worked a couple of times, but Evansville finally caught on and switched on defense so that help defense would stay there.

Single Stack Flex:

As far as I could count, Butler ran this set probably close to 50% of the time. It's a high man with a stack on the right. O4 goes to set a downscreen for O3 to pop to the wing, O2 pops to the other wing,

O5 goes to set a cross screen for O4. O5 then pops out to the high post. O4 goes underneath looking for the post-entry pass from O2. O2 can look for either O4 or O5,

In this case, O5 gets it at the high post. His defender is a little late and tries to close out fast, O5 then beats him off the dribble and kisses it off the glass,

Other options include high-low, or O2-O4 give and go. If all options are exhausted, O3 or O1 can go PNR with O5 up top.


The Horizon League looks as competitive as last year but I think it will come down to Butler and Cleveland St. again. Butler is well coached, they play disciplined on both ends of the floor.

Hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving weekend and safe travels to all who are on their way back. Good luck for the season ahead for many of you high school coaches who are starting their seasons this coming week.

For more great offensive sets, check out Jay Wright's new DVD on Innovative Offensive Sets. The video was filmed at the Las Vegas clinic held just this past year. Be sure to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss this and more of your favorite basketball topics.