Tactics of the nation's elite teams

Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo are among the country's best X's and O's coaches. Andrew Synowiez/USA TODAY Sports

There are two keys to coaching: finding a system that fits your personnel, and putting that group in position to be successful offensively and defensively. Coaches need to define clearly who their team is and how they win. Players need to be committed to the plan and use it as a road map, with the destination being victories.

What's the identity of five of the nation’s top teams? Let's take a look.

Michigan State Spartans


Michigan State is an explosive transition team that is looking to run on makes and misses. The Spartan "speed" game puts pressure on the defense every possession. By running to score as opposed to running a secondary, it frees up the wings for layups and provides room for rhythm jumpers. Keith Appling, Gary Harris and Branden Dawson all run the floor consistently and can finish. Adreian Payne will set "drag" ball screens from the trail position in transition, giving Appling and Harris a seam as the defense is in transition.