East Region – Florida Gators Early Push

By Randy Sherman

Transition Offense tips from the Florida Gators and their early push as they head into the wide open East Regional.

The East Regional at Madison Square Garden was hoping for the ratings bonanza that could have been the defending champion Villanova Wildcats versus the NCAA’s most polarizing program – Duke. Instead, the Big Apple will play host to Wisconsin, Florida, Baylor and South Carolina.

The path to the Final Four from this region is wide open and the Florida Gators, lead by second-year head coach Mike White, are hoping to emerge from NYC as champs of the East Region. The analytics rankings love the Gators and there is a lot to love about their transition offense principles and the early push they get off rebounds.

Here are some transition offense tips featuring the Florida Gators:

Wide Outlets

The key to a successful run out is the high and wide outlet pass. Florida demonstrates the following principles:

  • Get to the outer third of the court
  • Receive outlet on the move and higher than free throw line extended whenever possible
  • Get to “outlet box” nearest the rebound (see diagram)
  • Keep butt to sideline, face interior of the court


Pitch Ahead

Great things happen when the ball is airborne over the halfcourt line. The Gators first seek to pitch ahead to wings running hard and wide.

  • Upon the catch, whip around and begin “racing the ball” with eyes up
  • Look for rim runner, ballside wing and the diagonal advance pass
  • Pitch Ahead Rule: If you can pitch ahead, you must!


Transition Offense Tips from the Florida Gators:


Cross Main Street

With no pitch ahead available, crossing “Main Street” with the dribble is the next option.

  • Crossover and accelerate into a speed dribble on a diagonal across the court (race the ball)
  • Dribble “through the wake” of the recovering defense, this can cause defense to lose the ball
  • Cross the rim line
  • While crossing Main Street keep eyes up for a possible diagonal advance pass

FloridaPierce The Dome

When Main Street has been crossed and no advance pass is available it is time for the play-maker to “be a problem” for the defense. Seek to disorganize and collapse the defense by “piercing the dome” with the dribble.

  • You are piercing first to score! Do not drive to pass, drive to score! The goal is to finish and/or get fouled at the rim
  • Force the defense to find and stop the ball
  • Should you engage a second defender and collapse the defense look to transfer the advantage to an open teammate


White has the Florida Gators in the Sweet Sixteen in his first appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Of course, the Gator program is no stranger to this stage.

If the Gators are to advance and take White to the Final Four they will seek to race the ball past the battle-tested Badgers of Wisconsin and these transition offense tips may be where they have the edge.

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Randy Sherman is the owner and founder of Radius Athletics - a basketball coaching consulting firm - where he consults with basketball coaches at all levels on coaching philosophy, practice planning, Xs & Os and teaching a conceptual style of basketball. While a head basketball coach at the the interscholastic level, Sherman's teams won 197 games in nine seasons.

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      • Dustin Barnes said:

        Yes, constantly preach the pitch ahead (pass is quicker than a dribble) to get the defense on their heels. Then we go into a Drag BS with the 5 up top.