Inside the play: VCU starts the 2nd half with a Jamie Skeen 3
On their first possession of the second half, VCU ran a beautiful set to get Jamie Skeen a wide open 3. Shaka Smart is going to be a coveted coach this off-season and this is part of the reason why.
The play begins with a pick and roll set with Bradford Burgess as the ball handler and DJ Haley as the screener. USC is hedging the screen, as Alex Stephenson steps out to prevent Burgess from turning the corner and getting into the lane.
With Stephenson hedging on Burgess, Haley rolls to the basket aft er the screen. USC is not switching because Burgess’ man is recovering to Burgess (see below), so Nikola Vucevic has to step off of Jamie Skeen so that Haley is not wide open under the basket.
Skeen flashes to the top of the key and is left open, with Vucevic defending the roll man and Jio Fontan is not able to close out on Skeen from the corner in time. Even if he does, Skeen can make one extra pass to Joey Rodriguez, who will be the open man.
USC does not do a good job of rotating to defend this set. What should have happened was that Stephenson would quickly recover after hedging, Fontan rotating to Skeen and Vucevic rotating out to Rodriguez in the corner. Would this have completely stopped the play? We can’t say for sure but it would have given them a much better chance to stop the play than the defense they actually played.
Credit VCU for running a set that forced USC to have to rotate perfectly to defend it, with one mistake giving VCU an open opportunity. Whether it would have been on the roll after the ball screen, Skeen flashing to the top or Rodriguez in the corner, VCU was spaced to make it difficult for USC to cover all the options of VCU. As it turned out, they couldn’t defend Skeen and he was left with an open 3.