Beating Florida’s Press

On the eve of the NCAA tournament, Florida is the best team in college basketball. Billy Donovan’s Gators enter the tournament as the #1 seed in the field of 68. To a great extent, how far they advance in the tournament will depend on their full-court press and whether their opponents are able to neutralize its impact or even turn the press to their own advantage.

Here’s a primer on attacking full-court pressure defenses and a specific strategy to defeat Florida at their own game.

Click here to read Defeating Florida’s Full-Court Press.

March Madness Pool

You’re cordially invited to participate in the better than a layup NCAA Tourney Pool! I’ve set up a bracket at CBS Sports and hope that you’ll join in the fun.

To accept my invitation, click the link below and when you arrive at the site, register with CBS Sports. It takes about three minutes and requires you to enter an email address and set a personal password. Very easy.

Once that’s done, you’ll be directed to our better than a layup page where you can fill in your bracket. To get started, you’ll be asked to enter our group password — seeberg. It’s that simple.

Here’s the link.

Oh… and the winner? Will he receive a billion dollars? Not from me, but if he’s willing to be acknowledged, I’ll conduct a brief “interview” and announce his or her name here at better than a layup. This could be your 15 minutes of fame!

A Guy Who Gets It

If you haven’t met Rick Torbett you should. I don’t mean face-to-face but on-line by visiting him at his very fine website. That’s where I first discovered him several years ago.

Torbett is a successful, seasoned coach with a passion to teach the game. Midway through his career he became frustrated with the annual routine of teaching motion, set plays, and various forms of continuity offense only to see them breakdown in the face of a live game. “My players became very good at running plays, but they never learned how to play… If I could change everything and start from nothing,” he told his assistant, “I would teach players how to play by principle.”

He searched for a way to teach the underlying principles of offense in a systematic, “layer by layer” manner that could be used by any age group but in ways that would accommodate their differing levels of maturity. After five years “in the lab,” as he describes it, he hit upon an offensive system he calls the “Read and React.”

What I especially like about Torbett is his refreshing honesty as he relates his growth as a coach and his epiphany that basketball is not a game of mechanical exactitude but one of spontaneity and freelance. He believes that “players should know when they’re being over-played without the ball and can go back-door. Players should know when their defender is out of position and can be beaten by forgetting ‘the play’ and ripping the ball to the goal. Players should see slight openings in the defense that a coach on the sidelines can’t and take advantage of them.” And he insists that players can learn these instinctive reactions if only their coaches would get out of the way and stop trying to control everything that takes place on the floor.

I think he’s right on target.

Take a look at Coach Torbett’s web site. You’ll enjoy what you find there.