Adjustments Help Hoos’ Offense

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Virginia’s Jontel Evans dished out 6 assists vs. LSU.

The 2010 portion of Virginia’s men’s basketball schedule wrapped up with a pair of losses and the team struggling to find anything resembling consistency on offense. The Cavaliers couldn’t frequently generate post touches without Mike Scott in the line-up and opponents started to jam jumpshooters and crowd driving lanes in helpside defense. The strategy, really, was simple – turn UVa into a slashing and driving team instead of a catch-and-shoot team.

It worked. Opposing coaches decided to give up post feeds to young, unproven players like Will Regan and inconsistent threats like Assane Sene . The order to the defenders: stay close to shooters and make them drive the basketball. When that part of the plan was executed, the next phase was to slide into the paint and crowd the driving lanes, particularly helping off of players like Jontel Evans and others. The tactics worked extremely well for Norfolk State, Seattle, and Iowa State, the latter two grabbing wins in the John Paul Jones Arena. Even when Scott, out indefinitely now with ankle injury complications, played against Seattle, the perimeter defenders deployed tight coverage to any shooters and then helped on Scott when necessary; Seattle also fronted the post a lot to challenge interior feeds. It’s something Virginia fans saw early in the season against the likes of Washington as well.

Beyond those basics, teams recently started chasing players off of screens on every off-ball screen – those who read Cvillehoops13’s early season article on the Blocker-Mover offense remember that chase position means that the defender jams the offensive player before he starts his cut toward the screen and then sits on the cutter’s hip as he runs off the screen. In other words, it’s sort of like playing