With March Madness in full swing, buzzer beaters and last-second shots are a common sight across the college basketball landscape. Pick up a pair of proven game-winning quick hitters submitted by two of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament participants. The first play is effective against man defense and submitted by Jim Calhoun of UConn, while the second play is a dual-option by VCU using the 1-4 high set.
Submitted by Jim Calhoun, UConn, Storrs, CT
The Set-up: This play has been a top need play for Coach Calhoun in previous seasons. 1 brings up the ball and in this scenario, starts on the left side of the floor. 3 is on the opposite wing. 4 is at the free throw line. 5 is on the left low block and 2 is on the weakside/right low block. 5 should be your best low post scorer. 2 should be your best overall scorer.
The Action: 1 makes a dribble entry on the left side. He dribbles to the three-point line between the top of the key and wing. 1 then changes direction on the dribble and comes off a screen set by 4 at the top of the key. 1 then dribbles to the center of the top of the key. 2 sets a cross-screen for 5 in the lane, who rolls across the lane looking for the entry pass from 1. 3 reads the defense and either slides out top or cuts toward the baseline on the right side.
The Finish: After setting the cross-screen in the lane for 5, 2 pauses for a moment under the rim and then rolls hard off a downscreen set by 4. 2 curls to the left side elbow. 3 still reads the defense and slides either up or down depending on the help defense. 1 passes to either 5 in the low post or 2 at the left elbow for an open jumper. After setting the downscreen for 2, 4 gets into good position for a rebound.
Submitted by Mack McCarthy, former head coach at VCU, Richmond, VA
The Set-Up: 1 starts out with the ball up top and center. 2 is on the right wing. 3 is on the left wing. 4 is on the right elbow and 5 is on the left elbow.
The Action: 1 makes a dribble entry to the right wing while 2 cuts through to the basket and to the opposite wing with the help of a weakside backscreen by 5 at the low block. 2 clears to the opposite wing area. 4 slides over and sets a screen for 3 cutting to the basket. 1 looks to hit 3 on the cut and 4 rolls to the top of the key after the screen.
Based on the current positioning (1 on the right wing, 4 up top, 2 on the left wing, 5 on the farside low block and 3 on the near low block), here are a few options:
Option A: 1 passes to 4 while 3 slides over and sets a cross screen for 5 breaking over to the ballside low post. 4 passes back to 1 and breaks to set a down screen for 3, who pops up to the top of the key. 1 looks to pass to 5 in the low post or to 3 popping free for a jumper at the top of the key.
Option B: 1 passes to 4, while 5 slides over and sets a cross screen for 3 cutting across the lane. 4 quickly swings the ball over to 2. 5 rolls to the top of the key. 2 can now either shoot a three-pointer, pass to 3 on the ballside low post, or hit 5 at the top of the key.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “”Over 50 Game-Winning Quick Hitters” by Winning Hoops. To discover even more plays for your playbook, head over to our basketball library by clicking here. Got a favorite quick hitter that has worked for your squad?