Chalk Talk: A Wrinkle Vs. Clemson

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The “Defending Virginia” article last week mentioned ways for UVa to counter teams’ defensive strategies to double and contain Mike Scott while freeing up shots for Joe Harris and Sammy Zeglinski. The Cavaliers included a different concept against Clemson to prevent a double team, however, so let’s examine the strategy.

As you read along, take a look below at the included image, which was created using the Fast Draw basketball program. Fast Draw provides the opportunity to diagram plays with software specifically designed for that task so if you’re interested in that sort of thing, give the link above a click.

At the 12:42 mark of the second half, Virginia elevated the floor into a 4-around-1 look (4 on the outside, 1 on the inside) and almost a 5-around-0 look with all 5 players at free throw line extended or above. After some false motion to move the defense, the alignment ended up with Joe Harris one step below the free throw line on the left side of the lane, Sammy Zeglinski on the left wing, Malcolm Brogdon on the right wing, and Akil Mitchell above the 3-point line on the right lane line extended; Mike Scott was at the top of the key with the ball.

Scott reverses the ball to Mitchell as he flashes above the 3-pointer line. Scott then sets a simple down screen for Harris. By doing this right in the middle of the floor with the other players elevated it makes the defense make a quick decision on the screening action – how does the D deal with Scott as the screener? Does the defense switch (bad idea because it puts a wing player on Scott with the nearest help down defender being a small guard paying attention to Zeglinski as a potential 3-point threat)? Does Scott’s defender try to step up and contest the pass and then try to recover to Scott (not going to happen this year with the way teams choose to defend Scott and besides, the slip might be wide open for a Scott layup if you do that)? Does Harris’ defender help to make sure there’s no pin-and-dump-down look for Scott?

The Clemson

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