I don't think the UNC vs. Duke rivalry will ever get tired. I think as coaches all across the world there are those games between the 2 rival teams/schools and it almost doesn't matter whether you win the championship at the end of the season, you better win the rivalry game. I love the atmosphere, basketball is so much more intimate than football, because of the indoor court, the noise gets amplified.

Well, in case you didn't catch the 2009 version of the best rivalry in basketball, it was another barnburner. In the end, Ty Lawson took control and shredded the Duke defense over and over. It was like watching the same play over and over. While Lawson and Coach Roy Williams certainly get most of the credit for capitalizing, I felt Duke failed to adjust to the penetration. Here are three sequences from the decisive second half,

Against Overly Aggressive Defense:

I like Duke's defense. It's an aggressive up the line/on the line M2M defense. But like all defenses, there are ways to break it. Against pressure, you have to attack the basket. Either with backdoor basket cuts, or in this case, through dribble penetration. When you have a player like Lawson who has a great first step, and a defense that plays 1 arm length away ball pressure, you attack it. Duke's Nolan Smith is too close, then gambles on the steal and gets burned on the crossover,

In this case, there is a ball-screen set for Lawson. He uses it and Duke's David MacClure attempts to hard switch but because of his forward momentum and lack of lateral quickness, Lawson beats him with a crossover and easily down the lane for a layup,

Here, another ball screen but Lawson doesn't use it. Gerald Henderson gets caught hedging on the wrong side, and Paulus is playing to close and is too slow to keep up with Lawson who heads straight for the rim,


I was surprised that Coach Mike Krzyzewski did not make a defensive adjustment, very surprised. An easy adjustment that I thought would have made a big difference if they chose to go underneath and soft switch and stay in the paint against Lawson. I know that Lawson has been shooting the 3-pointer very well all year, but I think that switching up would have forced UNC to re-adapt. Maybe Lawson would still go on to hit a bunch of 3s but maybe not. With the way Duke's defense was playing, there was no way they were going to stop Lawson.

If you are a big Roy Williams fan like I am, then check out Roy Williams' DVD on Tar Heel Offense and Transition Drills. Talk early offense at the X's and O's Basketball Forum with other great coaches from around the world.