FanPost

Is the zone too good?


A weird, borderline asinine, though has been running around my brain ever since the BET semi-final loss against Cincy. Both Cincy and UNCA played some zone against Syracuse, which the Orange stuggled to attack. Of course the knock on Syracuse is they they don't score well in the half-court, a well founded criticism. But the conventional wisdom says that, since they practice against arguably the best zone in the country every single day, Boeheim's squad should slice and dice any inferior 2-3 that's thrown their way.

But what if that works in reverse? A hypothetical. Any coach worth his necktie knows the ways to beat a 2-3; get to the high post, run a guy on the baseline, drive and kick, etc. The Syracuse zone is pretty good at taking those things away. So, in practice, they have to find other ways to attack. As a result, when game time comes, the normal weak spots in the zone are there, but the Orange aren't used to exploiting them because they're used to doing something else in practice, making the game harder than it has to be.

It's like what my HS coach used to say when we were practicing defense. He always used to tell us to play it honest, to not cheat because we know the play. When team X plays zone against Syracuse, the Orange say, "Ok, this spot should be open, but it never is in practice because that's what we take away". So, instead of running a guy to the high post or the baseline, they get stuck. I can't think of one time I've seen them run, say, KJ or CJ to the high post against a zone. I can't think of one time where they run that liittle pick play where they screen the middle guy in the opposing zone to clear space for a baseline lob. Those are plays that kill Syracuse's zone, but they never run them when faced with it.

I guess my point is that maybe, since they play against it all the time, our guys in orange think too much when faced with a zone. When playing against man defense, even if they struggle in the half court, they flow and work together much better. They just go out there and play. They need to do that against zones too.

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