Understanding "Floor Game"

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So what gives? Does Virginia really just pass it around and hope for the best? Fortunately for the Hoos, the answer is no. But the Cavaliers’ staple offense – “floor game” – does need certain elements to work properly. When those things are missing? Simply put, it’s a stagnant, ineffective offense. So understanding “floor game” may help explain the method to the madness and alleviate some of those frustrations. As for the shouting at the TV … well, you’re on your own there.

The Basics

Calvin Baker is finding places to drive in the Hoos’ motion offense.

First, let’s look at the foundation of the “floor game” offense. What parts go where? What is the purpose or goal of the offense? What are the cornerstones of the offense? How does it work? Basic questions for sure, but these are the types of questions coaches should be considering when developing an offensive system for a team.

What parts go where? Virginia’s “floor game” offense is a motion offense, which is to say the parts move but not in a set pattern each time down the floor. Individual players read the defense and the movement of the ball to determine where their next move will go. The formation is a four around one set, meaning four players align outside of the paint and one aligns inside the lane area. In the Cavaliers’ case, the center (5) is the inside player and the point guard (1), shooting guard (2), small forward (3), and power forward (4) surround the paint on the perimeter.

What is the purpose or goal of the offense? Most motion offenses are designed to give multi-dimensional players options rather than predetermine what they will do on a given trip. The most recognizable motion offense is that run by Bob Knight, who has used variations of a screening motion set for years. In Virginia’s case, the purpose of “floor game” is to free