- Fran Fraschilla, College Basketball
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The Final Four teams each have a play, a set, a way of moving on offense, that when a basket is needed, they will more often than not signal to in the Alamodome.
Watch for these "sets" on Saturday night in both national semifinal games.
Duke's offense consists mainly of fast-break opportunities in transition, a simple "motion" offense with spacing that allows for a lot of dribble penetration and ball screeens to free Chris Duhon to drive into the heart of the defense and make good "reads."
The Blue Devils' set plays are very simple, but effective because Mike Krzyzewski is looking for specific opportunities to exploit his team's talents.
In this set, Luol Deng (4) sets a ball screen at the top of the key for Duhon (1), who tries to drive into the lane or draw J.J. Redick's man (3). Duhon's pass to Redick is what we call a "penetration-and-kick" 3-point shot.
Now, if Duhon can't turn the corner, he passes back to Deng (4) for the 3-pointer or the post-feed inside to Shelden Williams (5)
UConn is another team that has a number of "favorite" plays. But here is a set play which has a number of options that fit the Huskies' explosive personnel.
Another option off this set sees Brown (1) use Okafor's screen (5) to dribble to the middle as Gordon (2) comes off Rashad Anderson's screen (3) looking for a jump shot.
Finally, if Gordon (2) catches the pass and doesn't have a shot, Anderson (3) and Josh Boone (4) set a staggered double screen for Okafor (5), who posts up for the high percentage shot.
Because Georgia Tech is a transition-orientated team, it likes to run some set plays right out of its fast break. Ths makes it difficult for defenders to react, because they are mainly concerned about retreating to build their halfcourt defense.
Here is an example of how the Yellow Jackets can set up a play on the break.
As Elder dribbles out, Jack (1) cuts off McHenry's screen and Luke Schensher (5) sets a "flare" screen for Lewis (2). Elder picks out to the open spot on the floor.
Oklahoma State actually runs a "set play" offense that has a lot of bread-and-butter, or favorite, plays. So, when we talk about OSU's set plays, there isn't a lot of room for freelancing.
Here is a play, however, that the Cowboys ran as soon as they touched the ball against Saint Joseph's in the East Rutherford final. I'd say that qualifies as a "favorite" play.
As we know, Lucas can hit this shot (just ask St. Joe's). But his first look is inside for a cutting McFarlin, who is getting a screen across from Allen. If Georgia Tech is able to cut off the pass inside, well, Lucas won't hesitate to shoot the 3-pointer.
1hBy Jackie MacMullan