Inside the Offense: Shuffle Series


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. Pyper is also selling an e-Book of play diagrams from these sets that you can purchase here.

Today we look at Michigan’s shuffle series sets.

Previously: Early Dribble Hand Off, Wide Pin Down, 25 Down, Five Series, Shake Ball Screen

Why is it so effective?

Michigan’s Shuffle Series is effective because of the floor spacing and ability of guards to set screens and hit open shots. Designed to have a guard set a shuffle screen for the wing and come off a down screen, it is simple, but difficult action to guard.

What is the most effective or common defensive counter? How does Michigan counter that action?

The best way to defend this set is to “X” the screen the screener action (Ed: example of the defensive action). Essentially the guards switch the screen, but it is designed to disguise that action. The reason most teams do not do this is because it would be a long way for the defender in the corner to cover all of that ground.

Michigan has a couple of different counter actions out of this set that are very effective. The first counter is to slip the guard who is screening first and have him leave early to come off a quick downscreen from the big, not allowing the defense to time the switch. Next, they will look to give the ball to the guard who screens first to come off a dribble hand off from the big at the top of the key and look to attack off it.

What needs to happen to run an effective shuffle series cut?

This set will need to be drilled in practice, with emphasis on screening their opponents. Since this is really a half court set and not the typical Michigan motion, this will need to be practiced in a half court setting and flowing from their transition offense into it.

The shuffle series is best suited for what player on Michigan’s 2015-16 roster?

This set will be most useful for Derrick Walton, Zak Irvin and Caris LeVertas well as Spike Albrecht in certain situations. They are all good at using screens and being able to read the defense, but Zak Irvin was very good in this set the last few years with his ability to make shots.

(Ed: This is a play that you will often times see Beilein call early in a half or out of a timeout to generate an easy opportunity for Michigan’s four man. Glenn Robinson III and Zak Irvin were both exceptional at this and are heavily featured in the video and Kameron Chatman even makes a couple appearances.)

What makes Beilein’s shuffle set unique compared to other coaches?

It is not so much this set that is unique to John Beilein, it is the counters and multiple options that he has out of this. Several other teams run this set, but only Beilein has options for his big to come off a screen, guards to receive hand offs, slip the screen and other options that make this set unique to what Beilein does with it. In the video above, you see all of the options that he runs out of it and the actions can be very difficult to guard and always keep the opponent guessing.

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  • Northern Blue

    Awesome write up. I’d like to see them incorporate this with Aubrey and see if he can use his hops and quickness to get to the hoop or get close and elevate for a short range floater/ baby hook.

    • I would rather see Aubrey on some of the other action where you see Irvin pop out for a three throughout the second half of the video. I don’t think Aubrey is very comfortable playing with his back to the basket on the flash to the block as someone like Kam or Irvin at this point.

  • Dyenimator

    You’ll see us use this to exploit a few things. Poor communication by the defense being one of them. When the 2/4 don’t call out screens, the 4 can get an easy layup off the initial action. Remember, this is run out of the same setup as our motion and chin series. The only difference is the 2 guard making a v-cut for the wide pindown (in motion) or clearing through to set a screen (shuffle).

    Also, overhelping on screens. When the the 2’s man helps out on the initial shuffle cut, preventing the layup, 2 can come off the downscreen for an open 3.

    Action is also good against teams like OSU who like to ICE ball screens. This way you’re not getting ball screens on the sideline and can better set your spacing (when the ball is in the middle of the floor).

  • UMHoopsFan

    Great series of posts, thanks!