Michigan 2 Guard Offense Basketball
Coach Tom Jicha has been perfecting Michigan’s 2-guard offense for years. This 2-Guard Offense was made famous by the University of Michigan’s head men’s basketball coach, John Beilein.
Jicha, head coach at Miami Sunset Senior High School, uses this offense because it’s the ultimate perimeter style offense in the country. It’s a true read-and-react type offense. If that’s the type of offense you’re looking for on the court this may be the offense for your squad.
This article is going to break down the strengths and weaknesses of this offense along with the three main sets and drills used for implementing this system. When you’re done reading, you should have a better understanding of the 2-Guard Offense and if it’s a right fit for your team.
Strengths of the Michigan 2 Guard Offense
- Strong fundamentals - If your team can execute the basic fundamentals of basketball accurately with the right timing and spacing then you will easily have scoring opportunities in this offense system.
- Teams can’t prepare for this type of offense - Michigan 2-Guard Offense can be difficult to figure out for defenses because it’s a read-and-react offense which makes it hard to scout and defend.
Weaknesses of the Michigan 2 Guard Offense
- Score First Mentality - For this offense to be successful, you must have players that are aggressive and looking to score at all times. If you don’t have those skills then this isn’t the offense for your team.
- Post players - In order for this offense to be effective you need a solid post player who can be a scoring threat. If the defense doesn’t have to guard your post player, it makes it harder for the team to score as a whole.
Who Might Use The Michigan 2 Guard Offense?
The Michigan 2-Guard Offense is built for aggressive teams that have score-first mentalities. You want players that look to score while being confident, aggressive, and smart with the ball. If your team is constantly looking to attack the rim and get the ball into the paint then this offense is going to be a great fit.
On top of being an aggressive team, you definitely need a smart post player. They need to be able to knock down an open shot, set solid screens, and make good passes to their teammates. Essentially, you want to make the other team always have to guard your post player because it’s vital to the spacing of this offense.
Michigan 2 Guard Offense Notes
The Michigan 2 Guard Offense is run out of a 2-3 alignment. There are three main sets that make-up the offense which are called “chin”, “shuffle”, and “motion”. Each set has its own specific action that gives this offense the ability to score on any type of defense.
Chin Set. This is the most common set Jicha’s team uses to fall back into after they’ve ran their initial set (Motion set). There are four different entries you can use start running chin, but it’s initially started by a pass to the 5 at the high post.
1 passes to the 5 at the high post. After the pass, the 1 and 4 sprint to the block. 5 passes to the 2 who reverses the ball to the 3. The 3 will pass to the 4 on the wing. On the pass, the 2 will cut hard over the top of the 5 to the block. As this happens, the 3 will come off a flare screen from the 5 for a pass at the top of the key.
Option 1: 2 cutting over the top for a lay-up
Option 2: 3 coming off flare screen for a shot or drive at the top of the key
To see the other entries for chin set and more scoring options, you can watch Jicha’s The Michigan Style 2 Guard Front Offense DVD. Regardless of the entry, the concepts of the chin set remain the same.
Motion Set. This is the basic set for the Michigan Offense and what Jicha’s team uses to get their offense started. There is only one way to start the motion set and that’s with a pass to the wing.
To get motion started, the 1 will pass pass to the 2 and cut to ball side corner. As this is happening the 4 v-cuts to the top for a pass from the 2. Your 4 will reverse the ball using their dribble. As the ball is reversed, the 3 will v-cut to the block and then come off a down screen set by the 5 for a pass from 4 who will then cut to the opposite corner.
Now your 3 has two options:
Option 1: 3 comes off the screen open for a shot.
Option 2: 3 doesn’t have a shot so they feed the post.
If there’s no shot or pass into the post, the 2 will run a L-cut to the top of the key for a pass from the 3. The 2 will take two dribbles then pass to the 1 on the wing. Once the ball is passed, the 5 will come up and set a back screen for the 2 who goes over the top for a pass from the 1 to score a lay-up.
In all, the motion set will give you about six different scoring opportunities. If they aren’t able to score with these options, they go into the chin set for the rest of their possession. Jicha will demonstrate each option in his The Michigan Style 2 Guard Front Offense DVD along with how motion set flows into chin set.
Shuffle set. This set is the easiest out of the three and is either determined by the coach or by the trailer, or 4 position. The initial start of shuffle matches motion with the entry pass, but that’s where the 4 position determines if they’re running shuffle because they’ll cut to the basket.
4 is being overplayed by their defender they’ll cut over top and look for a pass. If they aren’t open the 5 steps out for a pass then reverses the ball to the 3. As the ball is reverses the 4 sets a back screen for the 2 then comes off a downscreen from the 5.
The options are: 1) 4 on their initial back cut for a lay-up, 2) 2 off the back screen for a lay-up, or 3) 4 off the down screen for a shot at top of the key.
This is where shuffle ends - if there’s not a open shot or ability to drive for the 4 - you’ll fall back into Chin set.
Michigan 2 Guard Offense Drills
Here are a few drills Jicha uses in practice to help implement the 2-guard offense. Both drills are specifically designed to improve certain segments of their offensive sets. The first drill focuses on coming off of a fade screen which is ran in the chin series while the second drill is working on shooting off a screen which is important in the motion set.
- Line 1 - starts in the 1 spot of the alignment with a basketball
- Line 2 - starts in the 4 spot of the alignment
- Line 3 - starts in the 3 spot of the alignment
- Line 2 v-cuts to get open and receive a pass from Line 1
- Line 3 v-cuts to get open a receives a pass from Line 2.
- Line 2 then bumps for a fade screen and gets the ball back to score
- Rebound your shot and rotate lines so every players goes through every line
Screen & Shooting
- Line 1 - starts in the 3 spot of the alignment (guards)
- Line 2 - starts in the 4 spot of the alignment with a basketball (guards)
- Line 3 - starts in the 5 spot of the alignment with a basketball (post players)
Key to this drill - post players will pass to each other and guards will pass to each other
- Line 1 v-cuts down to the block while Line 3 comes to set the down screen
- Line 1 comes off the down screen for a pass and shoot from line 2
- After setting the downscreen Line 3 opens up for a post-up and receives a pass from Line 3
- Round your own shot and take the ball back to the correct lines
- Post players will stay in Line 3 while the guards can rotate between Line 1 and 2
If you want to learn more about developing the Michigan 2-Guard Offense be sure to check out Tom Jicha’s The Michigan Style 2 Guard Front Offense DVD. It goes into incredible detail of the three sets 2-guard offense along with excellent demonstrations of every scoring option out of the each set.
Once your team has learned the basics of the spread offense take it a step further with Jicha’s 20 Effective Quick Hitters for the 2-Guard DVD. This DVD is a great resource that provide quick hitters for any of the three sets and drills to use when implementing this offense