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The B1G Coach's Corner Returns: Transition Offense

Shhhh... Coach is speaking.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

[ed note: I'm not sure if you all remember CoachEJ, but he dropped by last year to give some insights on B1G games. He's back this year and definitely is open to any ideas you might have for future posts. Just drop them in the comments and we'll see if he can draw something up. Also, Coach sent me this like four days ago and I'm just posting this, hence the breakdown of a game from a while ago. My fault. -JC]

For the first post of this early Big Ten Conference Play I wanted to discuss transition offense. To me transition offense is one of the easiest ways to score points. When the defense is transitioning down the court, finding the right person to defend is always a challenge. Of course to take full advantage of that, you need spacing. That is, if you are going to have a successful transition offense game, you have to be able to space the floor effectively.

To illustrate this idea, I am going to use the Ohio State vs Minnesota basketball game on January 6th in Minnesota. Ohio State did a great job in the last six minutes of the first half to use transition offense to push out their lead. As you'll see, most of this offense was keyed by Freshman D’Angelo Russell.

Transition Play One: Spacing and Transition - First Half 5:39

This first play happens with 5:39 left in the first half when #3 Shannon Scott gets a defensive rebound and pushes the ball down the right side of the floor. Ohio State player #2 Marc Loving is spacing the floor on the right wing and #33 Keita Bates-Diop is coming to the rim. Scott does more of a dribble handoff with Loving. Since the floor is spaced Loving is able to attack of the dribble and make a pass to #0 Russell in the corner for a 3. This is the typical spacing for a transition break with a post running to the rim and trail post who in this play is #23 Amir Williams. Here's that play in full motion:

Transition Example Two: Guard Spacing for Three - First Half 3:52


The next transition play I would like to talk about starts with 3:52 left in the first half when #3 Scott steals the basketball. He once again starts to attack the right side of the floor. At this point in the game, Ohio State has 4 guards on the court. You see #2 Loving and #12 Sam Thompson on the right side of the floor and Russell on the left. All of these guards are spacing towards the sideline. Scott is able to find Russell for a three. While you can see that the defender falls down, it is still the spacing of the floor allowed for this opportunity to happen.

And here it is in motion:

Transition Play Three: Spacing + Attacking - 8:50 2nd Half

This last play starts with 8:50 left in the 2nd half. #0 Russell gets the rebound. You see #3 Scott space the floor on the right side and #2 Loving spacing the floor to the left. #33 Bates-Diop is starting to run to the rim. As Russell attacks to the middle the defense draws to him leaving Loving on the right side. The spacing of the floor and Russell’s great game allows for this easy basket.

As I mentioned to start this post I think a transition offense that spaces the floor leads to easy baskets. In this game it allowed Ohio State to pull out an overtime victory. Buckets are hard to come by in conference play. The B1G is known for its physical half-court defense. Being able to covert transition offense into points is very often the difference between a win and a loss.