Another big day, switched between college games and some high school as well. I think I'm suffering from basketball overload, but it's all good, it's good to be a basketball fan in March. The Arizona St. versus USC game was by far the best. USC was behind but 10+ at halftime but stormed back and finally took their first lead with under a minute left. I thought they made some huge defensive plays down the stretch to take the game.

If there is one major advantage of a team that uses M2M as their base as opposed to the team that uses a zone as their base is that when a game gets really close down the stretch, the M2M team almost always has the edge. In the last few minutes, teams will usually go M2M when it's within 1 or 2 baskets. In that situation, the team that is most comfortable playing M2M usually wins out. In this case, ASU uses a 2-3 zone as their base, USC is mostly M2M. Under 2 minutes, ASU went to M2M, gave up a couple of FTs, USC just went with their base, and instead came away with 2 huge stops, the ones that sealed the win,

Great 1v1 Defense:

It's why in practice, you have to spend time doing 1v1 defense, and with all of your players. ASU runs a high screen and USC switches all screens late in the game. Hardin makes a couple of plays at the basket, but he gets stopped twice. The first one, USC's Hackett steps up and makes a great defensive play to take the charge,

In this second sequence, after the switch, USC's Gibson is guarding Hardin this time. Same play, Hardin drives left and Gibson is able to go stride for stride and get a hand on the ball on the way up, collects the rebound after the block,


I don't mean to be preachy, but I guess my message is, don't fall in love with zone defenses. I think all kinds of zone defenses and presses play a big role in team defense, especially when changing things up for momentum, or to trap and pressure the ball. But in my opinion, when players get used to zones, they forget some of their M2M fundamentals. Once that happens, it's difficult to rely on it when it counts the most, in the clutch, and that's the worst time for a player to forget some of their M2M defensive fundamentals. For that single reason alone, I would pick M2M as a base defense over zone.

If you're looking for more M2M defense info, then check out Sean Miller's new DVD on Dominating Man-to-Man Defense. Coach Miller is the head coach of Xavier who creates a fantastic newsletter, you can sign up for it here. To discuss this and many more of your favorite basketball topics, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk with other coaches from around the world.