It's August and no doubt many coaches out there are starting to think about next year. One of the big picture stuff to figure out is what kind of defensive team you will be. Depending on your personnel, you'll have to decide between either a pressing/attacking defensive style, or a "bend but don't break" defensive style. If you're aiming for the BBDB, then some defensive ideas based on Gregg Marshall's 50 Gap Defense (current head coach at Wichita State) below may apply to you:

Defensive field-goal percentage is the best indicator of how good a team's defense is. Our "containment" defensive philosophy is based on making our opponents beat us with a tough shot and eliminating easy baskets.

Two Players Back: When our team takes a shot, we send our 1 and 2 players back on defense. Our guards are typically our least effective rebounders. Sending them back hasn't hurt us that much. Our rule is that when a shot is taken, 3, 4 and 5 go to the boards every time, and 1 and 2 are back. If 1 or 2 takes the shot, we still have at least one player back. Our goal is to make our opponents attack us 5-on-5 and take a tougher shot.

Influence The Ball: We teach our players that once they get the break stopped, they should try to "influence" the ball toward the sideline and baseline. This is in contrast to "forcing" or overplaying the ball to these areas. We think it's more important to flatten or contain the ball than to get it to a particular spot on the floor. We want our players to stay wide and try to stop a direct drive to the basket.

Ball Pressure: When the player with the ball has it above his or her waist, we want to put lots of pressure on and prevent him or her from making an easy pass or taking an easy shot. Once the ball handler drops the ball below his or her waist, we step back and create some space. We stress active feet. Our objective is to bother the pass or shot but contain the drive.

Help Side. We want to give lots of help away from the ball. We don't deny any pass outside the 3-point line. For example, both of our defenders on the wings can be dropped in to plug up a drive from the point. We want to encourage a pass to the wing and discourage a drive to the basket. By giving this much help on the ball, we give added confidence to the on-ball defender to really pressure the opponent.

Protect The Paint. We want to be physical with cutters flashing to the ball and coming off screens. We want to dictate where they cut, especially when they're headed to the basket area. For example, if the cutter curls toward the basket off a downscreen, we ask that the defender guarding the screener "pop" the cutter and make the offensive player change the path of the cut. When a weak-side defender makes a straight cut to the ball through the lane, we ask that his or her man make contact and slow him down. Again, we want to stop direct cuts to the basket.

Get A Hand Up. Closing out on the basketball is a skill we work on almost daily. We never want the shooter to get an open look at the rim. We don't try to block the shot, although this does happen. We mainly try to get the shooter to alter his or her shot.

Post Play. Our normal way of playing the post is to stay behind or to side-front. We would rather make someone hit a tough turnaround jumper on the block than to pin or lob us while we're fronting. There aren't that many players who can stick this shot. When we do run up against one, we look at alternate methods of coverage, such as fronting or doubling down.

If you are looking for more M2M ideas, Bobby Knight's brand new 2-Pack Man Defense DVD is now available.