Caught the late game yesterday in Mountain West conference play between Wyoming and New Mexico. Coach Steve Alford had the Lobos on a roll all night and it was great shooting and a tough packline defense that soundly trounced the Cowboys of Wyoming. I thought that Wyoming stuck with their 2-3 zone too long while New Mexico went on like a 15-0 run as they hit back to back to back 3-pointers.

On defense, I really liked what the Lobos did, essentially running a combo or junk defense. They run a packline defense, but they adjusted it to take away Wyoming's best player Brandon Ewing. At times, they left other Wyoming players wide open to shoot 3-pointers, which they missed. Here are a few sequences from throughout the game,

Packline Defense:

When Brandon Ewing went to the bench, New Mexico went with the traditional packline. Everyone 1 foot inside the 3-point line, the ball defender closing out hard on the ball with high hands,

Pack And 1:

When Brandon Ewing was on the floor, New Mexico would switch up to a Pack and 1. Basically, once the ball was passed out of Ewing, X1 would stay with in denial defense. The ball defender was closing out hard with high hands. The other 3 players were in normal packline position,


I like the packline defense generally because it allows you to keep M2M principles but adjust it based on the situation as shown by New Mexico last night. You can still play up the line on the line as an option out of packline as well. So basically, you can play up, down, or a mixture of both depending on the opponent. In a way, it's probably easier for your players to run than switching up different zone defenses, especially if you want your players to still keep their M2M principles in the back of their mind.

For more info on New Mexico and how they practice their defense, take a look at Steve Alford's DVD on M2M Progression Drills. 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.