In practice, the swing produces continuous, well-spaced motion. It wears down defenses. So does the Badgers' methodical precision: Wisconsin turns over the ball on fewer of its possessions than just about any team in the country, and usually while averaging 60 possessions per game. And it combines all this with a cautious, don't-foul-and-rebound-everything pack-line defense that, at various points in recent seasons, has been the Badgers' best attribute.
Not this season. This season, Wisconsin is all about its offense. What's more, the Badgers' average adjusted tempo is 64.0 possessions per game -- medium-paced by most standards, lightning-fast by their own. But even with a more up-tempo, attacking edge, all of the swing offense's best characteristics are present. And in Frank Kaminsky, a 7-foot center who handles the ball, rebounds both ends and shoots 58.3 percent from 2 and 37.8 percent from 3, Ryan has a frontcourt star born to thrive in the swing, and one who has lifted Ryan's elegant offensive creation to its widest audience ever.
Background: John Calipari needs little in the way of introduction. If you've checked in on college basketball in the past, oh, decade, you've likely seen -- and formed an opinion of -- Calipari. His success is undisputed fact: This is Calipari's third Final Four in five seasons at UK. In 2011-12, with a team built around highly touted freshmen and sophomores, he won Kentucky's eighth national championship.
System: Pepper shakers and sugar packets: That's how John Calipari first heard of the dribble-drive motion offense. It was October 2003, at a Memphis steakhouse, when Calipari turned to the unknown junior college coach seated fortuitously next to him. Junior college coach Vance Walberg, of Fresno City College, had come to Memphis to learn from Calipari's practices -- a sort of brotherhood-of-coaches pilgrimage -- when, finally, Calipari asked Walberg about his team's offense. Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl got the story back in 2008:
Walberg laughed. "You don't want to know," he replied. "It's a little bit off-the-wall."
"No, really," Calipari said. "Show me."
And so, using a pepper shaker as the basket, white sugar packets as offensive players and pink Sweet'N Low packets as defenders, Walberg explained his quirky creation, a high-scoring scheme featuring four perimeter players and a host of innovations. ... To Calipari, at least, it embodied two wholly unconventional notions. One, there were no screens, the better to create spacing for drives. Two, the post man ran to the weak side of the lane (instead of the ball side), leaving the ball handler an open driving path to the basket. ... As Walberg pushed the packets through the phases of his offense, Calipari experienced a new kind of sugar rush. Walberg's scheme was madness. It was genius.
The "dribble-drive motion" was born. Fittingly, the name itself was a tweak. Walberg called it A.A.S.A.A., or "Attack, Attack, Skip, Attack, Attack." (Naturally, Calipari's rebranding was an improvement.) The then-Memphis coach tweaked Walberg's system from the start, and he hasn't stopped since.