Inbounding Against Fullcourt Pressure

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Tony Bennett’s team let a win slip away.

Plenty of adjectives have been thrown around to describe Virginia’s collapse against Miami on Thursday in the ACC Tournament so I won’t repeat them here. Let’s just leave it at disappointing and move on. I’m more interested in the clinical aspect of the letdown than wallowing in the emotional aftermath anyway. What was supposed to happen, what happened, and what can be learned from it?

Let’s take a look at the inbounds tactics and the defensive lapses specifically in the 69-62 overtime loss. The issue of inbounding the ball against Miami’s pressure defense seems to have garnered the most message board attention so I’ll start there.

Interestingly, UVa used three different set-ups in the closing minute (four if you count the final one in the last two seconds) to get the ball inbounds. I point this out to show that it wasn’t a “system” flaw in terms of breaking fullcourt presses. The three distinct options can be described as such: four across, double stack, and a (elevated) triple stack.

The four across set-up opens exactly like the name suggests, that is with four players lined across the floor at approximately the free throw line level. This sort of alignment typically features one of the four players breaking long in an attempt to get behind a defender for a home run pass. Virginia’s use against Miami is no different; Joe Harris flew the coop and tried to get free moving away from the ball. The other three players remain as inbounds options in the backcourt. UVa’s use of this alignment usually features one person working alone (Mustapha Farrakhan in this case on the ball side) and one player screening for another (Assane Sene for Jontel Evans on the weak side) before flashing to an open area after screening. Sammy Zeglinski successfully gets the ball to Farrakhan in this instance and he reverses