For some of the conferences it is already playoff time and I caught one of those tournament games in the Patriot league tonight between American University and Lafayette. I haven't watched any Patriot league games all year, so I didn't have a good frame of reference, but American did look very efficient and prepared. They did end up blowing out Lafayette but I did manage to catch this great defensive possession from the first half,

I don't know about y'all, but I just love watching teams that play great M2M defense, that really compete on that side. You tell so much more about an individual's character, the anatomy of the team, based on how they play defense. Do they take pride in stopping their check? Do they communicate? Do they help each other out? Do they compete the whole 35 seconds?

In this great sequence, the Eagles do 3 of the 4 things above (can't really tell if they are communicating, I guess we can assume they do). First, the defender slides and successfully stops the penetration and forces the dribbler to pick up the ball,

Here, the Eagles collapse on the ball on help defense against penetration, forcing the pass way back to midcourt,

And of course, the result of the play is a shot clock violation, so they successfully competed for the full 35 seconds.


American University is a major roll heading into the Patriot League tournament. Granted, the Patriot League isn't that high on the RPI, and they lost by a lot to the only 2 ranked teams they played (OU and Georgetown). But assuming they win the tournament and go to the NCAA Tournament, I think if by chance they good a decent seed like a 10, they could upset in the first round. But who really knows...

For more ideas for defensive practice drills, take a look at Tony Barone's new DVD on Defensive Development Drills. Coach Barone is the Director of Player Personnel for the Memphis Grizzlies. As always, please check out the X's and O's Basketball forum to talk hoops and exchange notes and ideas.