Reading about the X’s & O’s of an offense can get boring unless you have a true understanding and passion for the game. I’m not going to bore you with the X’s & O’s. I’m going to breakdown what I think are the advantages and disadvantages of the flex offense. Then I’ll show you an interesting statistic that I believe shows Tubby Smith is efficient at running the flex offense.
From what I’ve researched Tubby Smith has run the flex offense for years. It is his thing and he has stuck with it for so long that this is what us Texas Tech basketball fans can expect to see on the court next season. There is even a video that sells for $40 on Amazon.com that is titled “Tubby Smith: 10 Variations of the Kentucky Flex Offense”. I haven’t bought the video yet because it’s on my wish list for Christmas along with a 70’’ TV, but I digress. Coach Smith knows this offense like the back of his hand… it’s his bread and butter.
The flex offense is a pattern motion offense that is set up to play advantage to a shooter. The basics for the offense to run productively are a lot of setting screens, cuts, and crisp passing. You will see our guys moving and cutting while they have the ball on our end of the court. This offense takes patience and there is usually a few ball reversals involved to get it going. You do not want to rush the shot and be disciplined enough to wait for your opportunity to strike at the perfect time. There is not a lot of dribbling with the flex offense. Ball handling skills are very important for college basketball, but the flex isn’t set up for guys with a need to go one-on-one for the dribble drive. Obviously this offense is set up for a good shooter. Our guys will need to really work on their ability to catch, square-up, and shoot. This offense allows for a fundamental shooter to gain the advantage over a taller more athletic opponent. If you know Texas Tech basketball then I bet one name comes to mind for who this type of offense plays a significant advantage for… Dusty Hannahs. I’ve also been hearing that Aaron Ross has an incredible shot in the off-season workouts. Ross might not be the physical forward I had been wishing for, but more of a finesse big guy that will flourish in Coach Smith’s offense this upcoming season. The thing I like about the flex is that it is consistent and does well against man-to-man defenses. It also gives us an advantage over more athletically gifted opponents which will come into play during the Big 12 season, I’m thinking Kansas and Oklahoma State to name only a couple.
The disadvantages to the flex offense are staring us right in the face. When a team knows you are running the flex they don’t use man-on-man defense, but will zone D you to death. Our opponents will play the match-up zone and do a lot of switches on the screens. A defense will start cheating to cut off screens and cuts. This is why Coach Smith and staff must teach our team very well how to read the defense. The guards are going to have to be smart and creative to not run the same thing over and over, but read what the defense is trying to do. If the defenders start to cheat on cuts and screens we need to take advantage and dump the ball to the open man. Another negative about the flex offense is it plays to the advantage of a good shooter, so if we go on a cold streak and can’t hit the broadside of a barn we are S.O.L. The flex offense is not an easy one to learn, it’s not a simple “this is what you do; so go create open shots on the court and do it”. It will take our coaches to coach and our team to learn it to get it right.
Coach Smith seems to have gotten his offense taught right over the years to his teams. To me floor percentage is a great indicator of how efficient an offense is run. To those that aren’t basketball junkies, floor percentage is the ratio of a team’s scoring possessions to total possessions. Tubby Smith over the last four years at Minnesota has finished the season in the top 90 in Division 1 college basketball’s over 340 teams in floor percentage. The last four years Minnesota has finished #5 at 57.1%, #81 at 53.2%, #31 at 55.5%, and #56 at 54.2%. That is pretty damn good if you ask me. He knows how to teach his teams to get the ball in the hoop on over half of their possessions. The flex offense works if it is properly executed. I’m excited to see what our Texas Tech basketball squad learns on offense this season under the tutelage of Tubby Smith. I have high expectations for Coach Smith and our Texas Tech basketball program this next season that I know will be met or exceeded. The flex offense will be a lovely thing to watch for years to come.