The weekend was just a cornucopia of frenzy, intense excitment, excruciating moments of anticipation, disappointment, and euphoria -- that is the opening rounds of March Madness. I caught most of the Pitt versus Oklahoma State game. It was a pretty close game throughout due to OSU playing their matchup zone for most of the game while Pitt going through their patient offense.

I highlighted these clips because I like how Pitt use a lot of bunch/stack/mesh combined with screens and misdirection to create open shot opportunities against OSU's matchup zone. Take a look,

Pitt's zone offense was pretty straight forward. They reversed the ball from side to side, and ran cutters through the lane constantly. All the time waiting for OSU's matchup zone to breakdown due to bad communication, usually due to a late switch, or no switch at all. Here, they run a cutter inside, as the 2 offensive players stack up, the guard explodes out of the stack and gets a downscreen, ends up with an open 3-pointer,


Here, it is just a standard stagger screen with the cutter going thru and fading into the corner. The defender gets caught chasing, then trying to go over the top. The switch comes but is way too late,


The cross route plays on mis-direction. This really messes up the matchup zone, because the criss-cross action really tests the communication ability and quick decision-making of the defense. The one foward down low sets 3 screens, in different directions,


I really like Pitt and the way they've played all season. They're not the kind of team that can blow you out because they're patient on offense and they like to go deep into the clock. But they are one heckuva hard team to beat. I have them going to the final four and going on to play UConn in the championship game. Who knows if that is going to happen, but I do like Pitt's methodical approach, they are very resilient.

If you're interested in more zone offense from Coach Jamie Dixon, take a look at Jamie Dixon's DVD on the 3-out 2-in zone offense. Join the many coaches already talking about their favorite basketball topics at the X's and O's Basketball Forum.