Best Plays from the NCAA Tournament

Best Plays from the NCAA Tournament 

Once again, March Madness provided us with exciting games, unexpected upsets, and amazing shots. We got to see one of the best finishes we have seen in a NCAA Championship game, and plenty of X’s & O’s worth adding to playbooks next season. This article will recap some of the best plays used in the NCAA Tournament. 16 teams are featured in this article and include man to man and zone set plays. We saw quite a bit of zone defense used in the NCAA Tournament, and we can expect to see an increase in zone defense played at the college and high school levels with Syracuse making the Final Four.

 

Basketball Set Plays  |  NCAA Tournament Sets – Kansas Nail Slice Iso

Kansas used this play in the second half against Maryland to get Perry Ellis in an iso situation on the wing. The left guard runs through to the opposite side and Ellis cuts off of 5 at the elbow to catch the ball on the left wing. From there, Ellis can go to work to create a shot.

Click here to download the PDF! Kansas Nail Slice Iso

Basketball Set Plays  |  NCAA Tournament Sets – Miami Hurricane Lob

Miami used this play against Wichita State to get an open lob at the rim. The wheel action cleared out the lane opening up the lob pass.

Click here to download the PDF! Miami Hurricane Lob

Basketball Set Plays  | NCAA Tournament Sets – Villanova Horns Rocket Weak Side Ball-Screen

Here is a horns set play called by Jay Wright against Iowa in the Round of 32. The Wildcats pop the ball-screen and dive the opposite post. If the ball is reversed, 4 follows to set a ball-screen.

Click here to download the PDF! Villanova Horns Rocket Weak Side Ball-Screen

Basketball Set Plays   |  NCAA Tournament Sets – Maryland Shallow Cross Down

Maryland used this play against Hawaii and creates several opportunities with the play. The first look is to drive following the shallow cut, second is to hit the post on the cross screen, and third is to hit the guard on the down screen.

Click here to download the PDF! Maryland Shallow Cross Down

Basketball Set Plays  |  NCAA Tournament Sets – Northern Iowa Horns Pop Elevator

Here is a set used early in the game against Texas by UNI. The fast-paced actions make it very difficult for teams to defend.

Click here to download the PDF! Northern Iowa Horns Pop Elevator

Basketball Set Plays   |  NCAA Tournament Sets – VCU Zone Drag Runner

Here is a zone set play used by VCU against Oregon State in the NCAA Tournament. The drag and push action opens up a shot in the corner.

Click here to download the PDF! VCU Zone Drag Runner

Basketball Set Plays   |  NCAA Tournament Sets – Oklahoma Double Zipper Cross

Oklahoma ran this play against Texas A&M to get Spangler an open layup. The zipper action combined with the cross screen by Hield opens up Spangler at the rim.

Click here to download the PDF! Oklahoma Double Zipper Cross

Basketball Set Plays   |  NCAA Tournament Sets – Saint Joseph’s Zone Drag

Saint Joseph’s used this zone quick hitter against Oregon. Oregon is starting in a zone then matching up with runners. In this quick drag, the center zone defender gets pulled up to high leaving a layup at the rim.

Click here to download the PDF! Saint Joseph’s Zone Drag

Basketball Set Plays   |  NCAA Tournament Sets – North Carolina Pinch Post Drift

UNC used this play against Providence in the NCAA Tournament. The left side is emptied out with 5 going to the pinch post. The guard then acts as if he is cutting around for a handoff but instead pops out for a shot.

Click here to download the PDF! UNC Pinch Post Drift

Basketball Set Plays   |  NCAA Tournament Sets – Indiana Box Zipper Repeat

Indiana used this play in the first half against North Carolina. If the initial zipper action isn’t open, they simply repeat it looking for a shot or scoring opportunity off of the screen.

Click here to download the PDF! Indiana Box Zipper Repeat

Basketball Set Plays   |  NCAA Tournament Sets – Kentucky Horns Over the Top STS

Kentucky used this horns set play against Indiana. The Wildcats run the point guard off of a cross-screen/down-screen combo opening him up for a shot. If the shot isn’t there, he steps out and receives a ball-screen.

Click here to download the PDF! Kentucky Horns Over the Top STS

Basketball Set Plays   |  NCAA Tournament Sets – Wisconsin Swing Flare Slip

Wisconsin used this play against Notre Dame in the Sweet 16. It is an option out of their swing offense with a weak side flare to start the play. Then, a shuffle cut is set and the down screen is slipped for a layup.

Click here to download the PDF! Wisconsin Swing Flare Slip

Basketball Set Plays   |  NCAA Tournament Sets – Syracuse Drag Pop Twist

Syracuse used this play against Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. The initial drag screener pops and a second ball screen follows after from the block.

Click here to download the PDF! Syracuse Drag Pop Twist

Basketball Set Plays   |  NCAA Tournament Sets – Utah PNR Moon

Utah used this play combining a ball-screen on the right side with a staggered screen for a shooter on the left. The stagger screen occupies the defense so that the big man can get the ball on the roll. If that isn’t open, 1 passes to 2 cutting off of the staggered screen.

Click here to download the PDF! Utah PNR Moon

Basketball Set Plays   |  NCAA Tournament Sets – Iowa State Niang Hook

Iowa State used this set against Virginia to get a ball screen set with Niang. If the ballhandler can’t score or create a shot, he passes to Niang popping to the top of the key.

Click here to download the PDF! Iowa State Niang Hook

Basketball Set Plays   |  NCAA Tournament Sets – Purdue Iverson Post Up

Purdue ran this play in the first half against Little Rock to get the ball in to the post. Another options off of this play is the staggered screen for a shot.

Click here to download the PDF! Purdue Iverson Post Up

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