Michigan Wolverines “Five” Series by Gibson Pyper
This article was originally featured on Coach Pyper’s website: The Basketball Playbook
Michigan’s “Five” Series is based upon movement into dribble hand offs and backdoor cuts, in true Princeton fashion. This is so effective because of Michigan’s ability to score with 4 guards on the floor so any player can be a scorer in this set. Designed to have options for dribble hand offs, wing ballscreens, and backdoor cuts in every single action/set out of it the defense constantly has to account for every player on the floor. The most effective defensive adjustment is hard, since the defense has to account for multiple actions involved in one set. The basic entry is to pass to the big at the top of the key who reverses to the 4 man as both guards cut through to the corners. If they deny the big to stop the set, then its a backdoor and the 4 man replaces for a pass. If they deny the wing after the big gets the ball, then its a backdoor cut and the other guard in the corner fills. As the play progresses the pass goes to the point guard on the wing, and the 4 man receives a flare screen from the big, followed into a ballscreen. More often than not, the flare is not open but the big into a ballscreen is where Michigan looks to score most of their points in this set. When it comes to the ballscreen it is hard to ICE it or push it to the sideline since the big sets a flare screen into a ballscreen. If the big is going to hard hedge, Michigan has a built in read for the big man to slip to the rim, since 4 guards are outside the 3 point line there is no help on the slip to the rim. This set is based upon reading the defense and adjusting on the fly, or if the coaching staff notices adjustments they can call that action from the sideline. Since this is a patterned motion with built in reads this needs to be drilled in practice in the patterned motion that it is based upon. In practice and scrimmaging 5 on 5, coaches will tell the defense to adjust and take certain things away in each “session” to force the offense to read what they are doing and adjust for each read to prepare for games. This set isn’t necessarily unique, as many other teams and coaches run this set or action in their offense. What is unique about this and how Beilein runs it is he has 4 guards on the floor to attack with. Having 4 guards allows the offense to always attack the defense on every possession, having to account for a backdoor cut and the wing filling behind who can shoot is always tough for any defensive team.