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Many coaches such as Bob Knight and Steve Alford have found it advantageous to run an offense that is physical in nature and allows for a limited number of ball-handlers.  This offense has been the 2-Out/3-In Offense.  This offense features three big men who are all adept at handling the basketball and are capable of making plays within the structure of the offense.  This offense also works well with two guards who are capable of hitting big perimeter shots and facilitating the big men within the framework of the offense.

Advantages of the 2-Out/3-In Offense

First, the offense is that of a physical nature.  The three big men will set screens that will wear down the defense over the course of the game.  This will become advantageous to us late in games and might even result in some foul troubles for defenders who are looking to match the physicality of the offense.

Second, the offense also allows for match-up advantages for the offense.  If you are playing a team that has post players who are not very good perimeter defenders, the post players can take advantage.  The offense puts bigs on the perimeter playing defense when they are not accustomed to such a requirement.

Finally, the 2-Out/3-In Offense can be run from either a three-around-two look or a four-around-one look.  This gives the offense a degree of flexibility as to whether to run with two posts in the offense or to isolate the low post.

Disadvantages of the 2-Out/3-In Offense

The first big disadvantage of the 2-Out/3-In Offense is that it requires three big men who are skilled enough to set screens, play facing the basket, and posting up.  The offense also requires a lot of breakdown time for it to work effectively so that the offense can become mastered.

The other disadvantage is that if you have a play-making guard, this offense will stifle his ability to create scoring opportunities for himself.  The offense works best when the guards work as feeders and the bigs work as the playmakers.

Finally, the offense does not lend itself well to the fast break.  As with any other offense that is dominated by as many big men as this offense requires, the fast break is not likely to occur with any degree of frequency.  Teams that employ this offense will want to avoid getting into high-scoring games and instead focus on wearing down the opponent with the aggressive screening action of this offense.

Three-Around-Two Look

There are two formations from which a team can run a 2-Out/3-In Offense.  The first of these is the three around two look shown in Diagram 1.  This has the three inside players occupy both low posts and the high post.  The two guards, working as feeders, position themselves at the wings.

Diagram 1

There are a number of options that can be run when the ball is passed to the wing.  The first of these is to have the ball-side low post position himself and work to get open as shown in Diagram 2.  While this is happening, the help-side low post sets a back screen for the player in the high post.  The feeder can pass to either of the three with his looks being the post-up, the cutter, and the screener in that order.

Diagram 2

Should this option not be available, another option is our screen-the-screener option.  In Diagram 3, the ball-side low post sets a cross screen for the help-side low post.  Once the cutter has come though on the cross screen, the high post sets a down screen for the first screener.

Diagram 3

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