West Virginia: Counter a 1-3-1

From Bob Huggins, head coach for the West Virginia Mountaineers

While it’s important to attack the open baseline against a 1-3-1, throwing the ball to the middle then firing a pass to the opposite side gives you a numbers advantage and an open shot.

Why use it

West Virginia faced Baylor’s stingy 1-3-1 defense in a recent Big 12 matchup. The Mountaineers ran this set early in the contest with the game tied 8-8. The ball gets to the middle of the floor, which forces the defense to collapse and opens the backside for a quick pass to the wing, then an extra pass to the corner for an open 3-pointer.

Set up

The offense also is in a 1-3-1 look with the center on the block opposite where the initial pass is going.

West Virginia: Counter a 1-3-1

How to play

1 passes to 3 on the right wing. 4 then dives from the middle to the right block. 5 comes high and replaces 4 in the middle. 1 then shifts to the opposite wing [1]. 2 and 1 shift lower with 2 moving to the weak-side corner. 4 posts up. 3 throws the ball to 5 in the middle [2]. 5 then quickly turns to the weak side and passes to 1. 1 passes to 2 in the corner for the open 3-point shot [3].


Be sure 5’s pass to 1 is made quickly as the defense is collapsing into the middle. The bottom defender is tied up with 4 posting up, so 2 should have plenty of room to shoot. 3 and 5 crash the boards with 4 already in a good position to rebound. Even if the shot is missed, you have an interior presence potentially to score on a putback.

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