FastModel Friday: Top 10 NCAA Sets of January

By Gibson Pyper

FastModel Friday is back again and we are looking at the best sets in the month of January. I did a video of the best sets from November and December (you can view that here) and I am continuing this idea with a breakdown of January’s best sets that college basketball has to offer. I elected to focus on college basketball because the NBA has so many sets that doing one for the NBA would be too long, but I do plan on doing a couple of NBA breakdowns coming soon. The best sets of January were very good, and were from my observations of all of the college games I could watch. I try to be as diverse as possible, but I cannot watch every single game, so if anyone sees anything they like please contact either @FastModel or @HalfCourtHoops on twitter!

NCAA Top 10 Sets of January

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(Click on any of these diagrams to open the play in our Playbank and click “Send to FastDraw” to add the play to your FastDraw library)

#10 – Bradley “Ram Rice (Screen the Screener)”


This set starts off with a 2 guard setting a down screen before the big sprints up into a ballscreen for the point guard. I called this action Ram, a term I learned from a coaching friend who called it that an it stuck with me. After the ballscreen is set, the same 2 guard with screen across for the 4 man and then come off a downscreen from the big who set the ballscreen. I call this screen the screener action Rice, a term I picked up in a Tom Izzo clinic that he used for screen the screener action.

#9 –  Illinois State HI-LO


Illinois State starts off this action with the floor spread, all 5 players outside the 3 point line. The two players they wish to create the high low action will cut inside, with the player they want to “post up” cutting off a screen to the ball. The other big will flash to the high post on the ballside and receives a pass. The player that is posting will take one step and seal his man on the high side, creating the high low opportunity. This works especially well against teams that like to pressure play the post, defending on the high side or fronting.

#8 – Stanford “Slice Stagger Fan”


Stanford runs a good counter out of the typical slice stagger set that most college and NBA teams have run over the last few years. If you do not know what that looks like, you can check that out here. They run the typical action, but after the stagger screen and the point guard receives the pass, the 5 man will set a flare screen for the other big to pop to the 3 point line looking for a shot.

#7 – Baylor “Flare”


A good flare set with a lot of action, Baylor ran this against Kansas State when they needed a score after the under 16 timeout. The set starts off with a ballscreen into a dribble hand off, with a stagger screen on the opposite side. After the ball is reversed, most defenders tend to sag off when the ball is two passes away, the guard cuts off a flare screen as the player with the ball attacks off a ballscreen.

#6 – Stephen F Austin “End of Half Flares”


Stephen F Austin runs a creative Princeton style offense, that at times I have trouble trying to decipher and navigate what they are running. At the end of halves or games however, they run this flare set that involves a good passer in the middle of the floor who flashes to the “Sweet Spot.” This sweet spot is just in the middle of the key and 3 point line, a dangerous spot to get the ball on offense. After this flash, both wings cut in and set flare screens for the two high men to look to get a quick shot.

#5 – Virginia Tech WBB “Zipper AI Hammer”


I have not been great about watching a lot of women’s games from this year. I tried to make it a priority and there is just not enough time in the day! That being said, I did notice this set from the Virginia Tech Women’s basketball team that needed a score in the second half. Guard cuts off the zipper screen and receives the pass, what I like about this set is that 3 cuts to the elbow to set the Iverson screen, instead of having 5 flash back. This allows 5 to stay low and prepare for the hammer screen after the point guard receives the pass back and attacks the baseline.

#4 – Akron “Flex Twist”


This is a good misdirection set from the Akron Zips to get a big a quick score. This set starts with a high ballscreen in which a big pops to the top of the key, so this can work against ICE ballscreen defense, if that is how teams defend the ballscreen, very well. After the big pops, the low big man sets a flex screen for the wing, after the big at the top dribbles this triggers the guard to turn and rescreen for the low big to flash to the basket.

#3 – Evansville “Zipper Celtics”

EvansvilleEvansville runs a creative set that is similar to Brad Stevens end of game set in which a backscreen thrown across to the rim allows a big to be open. Cutting off zipper screens, both guards get open and after a ball reversal, the weakside big sets a backscreen for the ballside big posting up. It helps if teams overplay the post and try to front or get on the high side, allowing the big to peel off easier to the rim.

#2 – LSU “Backdoor”


LSU runs a really nice backdoor set that takes advantage of Ben Simmons passing ability and his left hand. It is simple, the ball gets passed to the wing and the point guard cuts through the lane to the opposite corner. The ball is reversed to Simmons and the guard on the opposite wing takes a step toward him, this triggers the backdoor cut. Because Simmons has excellent passing ability and the play is designed to the left, his strong hand, he is able to make these passes look easy for layups.

#1 – Cincinnati “Stack Spain”


Cincinnati Bearcats have the top set of January. They run a great counter to the normal “Stack” series that is very popoular over in Europe and in the NBA. This is a typical setup in the stack ballscreen action, but the key wrinkle here is after the point guard attacks off the high ballscreen, the other guard in the stack sets a backscreen for the big and pops to the top of the key. Action like this can create huge gaps in the defense, and make this set very hard to guard.

I hope you guys enjoyed the Top 10 sets of January, and I look forward to seeing the suggestions for #FastModelFriday on social media!

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Creator/Owner of & half court hoops youtube channel. I love NBA & NCAA X's & O's and look to help coaches everywhere!

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