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February 16th, 2017

Coach’s Clipboard: Virginia’s Tony Bennett And The Pack Line Defense

Mark Cannon @Mark_J_Cannon
Tony Bennett

Photo Credit: (Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports)

Tony Bennett: The Pack Line Defense

One of the best coaches in college basketball is Tony Bennett. Virginia has the top-ranked scoring defense in the country. The Cavaliers only give up 54 points per game. Coach Bennett teaches the pack line defense. “It’s more of a team system,” Tony told Brett Koremenos of Grantland. “You have to rely on people being in the help position, in the gaps.”

Tony’s father Dick Bennett coached basketball teams at the high school and collegiate level from 1965-2006. His record at the NCAA D1 Level is 316-227. His record at the NAIA level is 173-80. Coaching runs in the blood of the Bennett family. The Bennett family has mastered the pack line due to the fact they teach teamwork on defense. Each player must know his role. As a result, the Cavaliers are consistently mentioned among top defensive teams.

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One fundamental aspect of the pack line defense is that players do not take unnecessary risks. When an offensive player picks up the ball, the defenders can pressure him and form a double team. In this clip, each defender stayed with his man. As a result, the post player was double-teamed.

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Coach Bennett has his team hedge screens with aggression. As a result, the offense can either lose the ball or get an open three. Hard hedging a screen forces the ball handler closer to the half-court line. Offenses that are forced closer to the half court line are susceptible to turnovers. Teams can get open threes against the pack line defense due to aggressive ball handlers. An aggressive driver will draw the defenders to himself, and as a result, the player in the corner is open for a three.

The pack line is good for players who are willing to work hard and play together on defense.

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