How Michigan can attack Texas Tech's 'no middle' defense


Hope you guys found this article useful, I know some of it got pretty technical.

Another idea I just thought of that didn’t make it into the article is setting ball screens higher or further from the basket (closer to half court). This isn’t something Michigan has done in the past, to my knowledge.

The benefit of this approach is that it gives the ball handler, likely Zavier Simpson, a longer runway to go downhill. This would give him more space to “snake,” or move back towards the middle of the court after using the screen and being forced to the sideline.


Loved the article. A statistical number to toss into the “how to attack” equation–in the 8 games where TTU has given up over a point per possession, the opponents has shot 41.5% from 3 on a slightly elevated number of 3s vis-a-vis overall numbers. The Raiders’ 2 point defense in those “unsuccessful” games has remained very good (43.3%)–it has been 3s which have hurt them.It strikes me in the limited film I have watched that a lot of 3s against TTU tend to come from the corners because of the middle help–is that what you have seen? If so, and we can get the ball to the corners, especially after help has come, many of our guys seem to be better overall from the corners (Livers, Simpson, Matthews (by a little), or better on one side (Iggy from the right corner, Poole from the left corner).


That’s a sinister defense. Would be great if Iggy could pass off his drives. He’ll have to be very careful not to dribble into the help and commit a charge/turnover. Perhaps he’d be better spot-up shooting in this matchup and look to run hard cuts off the ball. Same goes for Charles. Michigan will need to be sharp with their passing and move off the ball.


Good point and I agree that Michigan will have to hit threes to really increase its chance of winning.

I am not sure I can give a general conclusion about where opponents’ threes come from, to be honest. The first pass out may be to the corner, but Tech’s defense rotates so well that the shot may end up above the break. Your question about whether Michigan can successfully reverse the ball to the corners and elsewhere around the arc will largely determine how efficiently Michigan scores.

Quick ball-reversal will be crucial , I agree.

If TTU is going to switch but still ice, I wonder if Michigan can have success on a 1-4 (or 1-5) ball screen starting on the left wing, which might give X (or another ball-handler) the opportunity to split the defense or take defender up high and have more room to work with getting into the middle.

I’d also think that some slips might be a good way to attack.

I’ve been thinking about this article on attacking Texas Tech’s defense… Specifically about Zavier Simpson. Simpson almost always drives to his right hand (hence the right hand hook shot) and that’s something TT is going to try to take away.

It also seems like he’s almost always able to get to his right… If he is, Michigan can probably crack the TTU defense. If he can’t, that will be an issue.

Whether it is right or left, Simpson is at his best in the middle of floor. That’s when he finds teammates, finds the roll man, etc. If he can’t do that, Michigan’s offense might struggle.


What do you mean by “if TTU is going to switch but still ice?”

FWIW, the left corner is their ‘weak spot’ defensively… but could just be a sample size issue.

That’s probably the wrong terminology. I meant switch but still, as Sperber noted in his video, maintaining the no-middle by positioning the top foot high and the feet parallel to the sideline.

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Nice job. Wonderful analysis, gobluemd16!

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Considering TT scheme, couldn’t Simpson just fade a bit to the right side of the court and since they force everything baseline he’ll be able to go right.

One thing I’d also think might be useful is X’s improved ability to keep his dribble alive and wind around the baseline.

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Not too technical – takes reading at a slower pace, but happy to do so. Thanks!

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I still haven’t gone through the whole post, but what I was surprised by is the roomy passing lanes in those few clips. I hadn’t gotten the chance to see their previous tourney games. The defenders recovered and rotated very fast, but given their turnover success I had expected to see the passing lanes more clogged.

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Really cool analysis.Thank you. I love learning.

My first thoughts were, Dang does the whole of TT play great D. All seemed on the same page and so well drilled in their individual responsibilities. Also that a team with a few quick release 3pt shooters (thinking Purdue) could eviscerate TT. And lastly, when Teske gets the ball, if he can go strong right to the hoop, we might have a career day in points.

It’s a tough defense, but at this level a 3 seed is always going to be a tough out. Looking at the examples of how they clog the middle, I think Z delivers better passes, and Teske catches and goes up much more efficiently, than what TT has seen thus far. If we have a solid (doesn’t need to be spectacular) 3-point performance, coupled with a “home“ atmosphere in Southern California, I feel really good about this game.

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This is a great article, thanks!

So maybe this just isn’t that possible or something Michigan has tried in the past to little success, but when it comes to switching:

Can Michigan try to force multiple switches to their benefit? For example, assuming TTU is playing small with only one of Owens/Odiase, try to get a 4/5 switch. Either off ball action/screens or let Livers/Iggy (whoever the 4 is) have the ball and run some screen action with Teske to get a switch so our 4 is guarded by their 5. Then get the ball back to Z. If they’re ICEing and not switching everything, then bring their 5 (who is guarding our 4) into screen action and let a better 3 point shooter in Iggy/Livers be the pop man. If they are switching, then let Teske (guarded by their 4) roll so on the switch there’s a smaller guy guarding him down low. Z now has a their 4 man up top and we can either let him go to work, or try to feed Teske with a 4 instead of a 5 guarding Z up top to hopefully allow for easier entry passes.

Sorry for the long post, but once again thanks for the article!

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Michigan can definitely try tactics such as these, yup.