Inside the Offense: 25 Down


John Beilein was voted best offensive coach in the country by his peers in an anonymous poll by CBS Sports. In honor of Beilein’s offense, we enlisted the help of Gibson Pyper of HalfCourtHoops (@HalfCourtHoops) to break down some of Beilein’s most effective sets. Today we look at Michigan’s 25 down ball screen action which is a derivative of the wide pin down look that we broke down last week.

Previously: Early Dribble Hand Off, Wide Pin Down

Here are Pyper’s thoughts on the 25 down set which creates pick and roll scenarios for Michigan’s guards:

What makes 25 down so effective?

Last series we looked at was Michigan’s Wide Pindown action, and this is a continuation off of that. This is the same action but it flows into a designed ballscreen for point guard and five man. Instead of looking for shots off of the pindown, after a ball reversal the two guard sets a down screen on the five man’s defender. This prevents the big from hedging quickly and allows for an easier read on the ballscreen for the point guard.

What is the most common defensive counter and how does Michigan stop that action?

The best way to defend this set would be to ICE or force the ballhandler in the pick and roll to the sideline and allowing the big man who gets screened off to recover. Teams like Ohio State and Illinois like to defend ballscreens this way, forcing the offense to play on the wing and out of the middle of the floor. The way Michigan counter’s this is to have the point guard pass to the five man and have that big man hand the ball off back to the point guard to come off and attack to the middle of the floor. This action is hard to guard, especially when the defensive guard is forcing everything to the sideline. If that action is covered the five man can fake the hand off and look to dribble at the guard in the corner and play a 2-man game with him. The guard can backdoor to the basket, come off a dribble hand off or come off a pick and roll with the big man.

What needs to happen to run this set effectively?

This is the same action as wide pindown so it can be drilled at the same time with ballscreen reads incorporated. Since Beilein and Michigan run ballscreens in the offense so frequently, teaching the ballscreen reads and shots can be incorporated into this set seamlessly. The biggest teaching point would be the down screen from the guard on the big and clearing to the corner, since that is not a common action in college offenses.

Who is best suited on Michigan’s roster to execute out of this set?

This set would be best for player like Derrick Walton and Caris LeVert to attack off ballscreens, but every player would be involved in it. Since it is a down screen into a ballscreen that has the floor spread every player can have an impact by spacing the floor properly and being ready to score. Since the counters and built in reads can dictate what action happens, a player in the corner needs to be ready to cut backdoor or come off a hand off any time this is run.

What makes Beilein’s 25 down set unique to the college game?

This set is unique because the down screen into a ballscreen is common in the NBA, but has not completely trickled down the NCAA on a full scale basis. The fact that Beilein and Michigan can incorporate this into the basic action that is so effective such as wide pindown, this makes 25 down so much harder to guard. The defense has to defend down screens, flare screens, ballscreens and dribble hand offs in this one set and if they overplay or overextend help, Michigan can backdoor at any time. Forcing the defense to defend all of those actions for a full shot clock makes this set extremely hard to guard.

  • toblav

    Love this offense series. Thank-a-lot

  • Wayman Britt

    Excellent articles