Wisconsin circles the wagons for a win

From the Wisconsin Badgers playbook

In a tie game and needing to create a catch-and-shoot opportunity, the Wisconsin Badgers delivered one of the highlights of the NCAA Tournament vs. Xavier.

Why use it

With 1.7 seconds remaining and tied with Xavier at 63, Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard drew up a beautiful set all teams should add to their playbooks. It creates a couple of opportunities to score quickly from the sideline.

Set up

One player is inbounding the ball on the side. The other four players are aligned in a diamond around the freethrow circle.

Wisconsin circles the wagons for a win

How to play

When the official hands the ball to 3, the four players begin running in a counter-clockwise circle with 2 as the main option and 4 as the second option for 3 [1]. When 2 hits the top of the circle, 2 breaks off and heads toward the ball-side wing outside the 3-point line. 4 cuts toward the hoop. 1 runs to the weak-side wing with 5 breaking off to the weak-side as well. 3 passes to 2 in stride [2]. 2 has the option to shoot immediately, or, as Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig did, take a dribble or two toward the corner to gain space and fire a shot before the horn sounds [3].


The circle movement doesn’t allow defenders simply to front or hang behind their responsibilities. It’s hard to tell which player is going to break off from the circle and be the primary target. If a defender front a player in the circle, then it opens a lob opportunity toward the rim.

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