Game-watching tips from Coach Buzz

  • Article by: JAY COHEN
  • Associated Press
  • March 27, 2013 - 1:57 PM

So you say your bracket is in shambles and you're looking for a reason to watch the round of 16? Focus on one particular play — the ball screen — and how the defense reacts to it.

Marquette coach Buzz Williams thinks defending the ball screen is one of the most important parts of college basketball, and he has quite the challenge on his hands with the Golden Eagles set to face Miami on Thursday night in Washington. The Hurricanes have a dangerous pair of guards in Shane Larkin and Durand Scott.

"I think the game has evolved so much," Williams said. "There's not a lot of big guys anymore and the reason there is not a lot of big guys anymore is big guys can't guard ball screens."

Illinois ran a bunch of ball screens in its 63-59 loss to Miami in the third round, and Williams said the Hurricanes started switching on all of them in the last five minutes of the game because it's so hard for big guys to move their feet and defend so far from the basket.

"It all comes down to ball screen coverage," Williams said. "Can you guard a ball screen, whether you're the handler or the screener, and can you have an impact offensively if you're a screener or the handler? And if the answer to those questions are no, you're not playing right now and you're definitely not going to play at the next level.

"The game's really morphed into something different, so I study all of that because everything comes down to that."

Williams said how teams use ball screens and how they defend them are two of the first things that coaches determine when they are scouting an opponent.

"Then the rest of your prep goes off of that," he said.

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