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Team USA's Key For Winning Gold? Going Orange

When you post a tweet that reads "Why Jim Boeheim may be the key to the U.S. team's success," you have my attention. SI's Chris Mannix took a look at what's going on at Team USA practice these days and what's going on is the zone defense. Jim Boeheim's zone defense.

A few minutes into the game, a whistle blew and Krzyzewski walked onto the court, barking instructions.

"OK, guys, we're going to go orange," he said. "Orange for the rest of the game."

"Orange," in this case, was basketball code for zone. When Team USA broke camp in Las Vegas last month, before reuniting this week in New York for more workouts, implementing a zone defense wasn't even on its radar. Pressure was the word of the week, with U.S. coaches convinced that the team's length and athleticism would make it a dangerous pressing unit in the upcoming FIBA World Championships.

The move to a "code orange" defense was precipitated by the loss of quite a few big men, including Amar'e Stoudamire and Brook Lopez.  The team, full of NBA talent, is picking things up quickly.  So quickly, even the guru is impressed:

"They are unbelievable," he said. "If you go from A to C with a college kid, you're in trouble. You can go from A to M with this group. They are really good at picking things up. In a few days we can be a really good zone team."

Are we sure Chauncey Billups and Tyson Chandler aren't eligible anymore?  Just sayin'...seems a shame to waste these talents once they've learned them. 

Check out the whole article here.