While I was watching the Kentucky vs Kansas National Championship game there was one play that really stood out to me as a difference maker. A play that you make when you win games and that you don’t make when you lose games. Those plays are hustle plays, loose ball plays.
In no way is this play the reason that Kansas lost the National Championship, but to win close games, to win national championships, you have to make these plays.
The last couple of weeks I watched a ton of basketball and there were two things that really called my attention in watching Kentucky’s National Championship run and watching Panathinaikos defeat Macabbi in an incredible playoff series:
1. These two teams are championship caliber because of their defense
2. On offense they keep it really simple, PAO with the pick and roll and Kentucky with the dribble handoff
Let’s take a closer look at Kentucky and the dribble handoff
Here are (my) keys to why this was so effective for Kentucky:
Bigs that are a threat off the dribble
Great Cuts by the guy coming to get the ball
Variety in who comes to get the handoff (passer loops, guy recieves a down screen first, etc) and using it as a decoy to set up other things
Playing it on both sides of the court, they did a great job of sometimes playing direct on the first side of the court and other times playing it on the help side of the floor
Never forgetting to react to the defense, they were always looking to attack and never robotic in their movements