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Syracuse Basketball: Zoned Out

The stark contrast in style between Pittsburgh and Villanova is fairly evident. One dominates the paint while the other dominates from outside.

The one thing they both have in common, however, is that they both shredded the 2-3 Zone.

"What a lot of teams do," Hopkins said in Pittsburgh, "is they watch the tape, and they do it the same way. We are going to have to do a better job keeping those guards out of the lane because Villanova is a pretty good team."

And when watching the film, opponents can couple it with the grim reality of statistics. Pittsburgh and Villanova were polar opposites for this SU 2-3 zone. Against the Panthers, Nasir Robinson and company bullied SU for 32 points in the paint. Against Villanova, the Wildcats registered only two points in the paint at halftime, as 18 of their first 24 points came from behind the arc.

Granted, the Wildcats were helped by the fact that a player not usually known for making tons of shots got a hot-hand. The kiss of death for the Orange on more than one occasion.

"You want to take Corey Stokes away because you know he’s their best shooter,’’ Triche, who scored 14 points, said. "Then Wayns without even hesitating goes ‘Boom!’ OK, that’s one. I guess that was kinda lucky. Then two, three. Now, he’s got 17 points in the first half and I’m like ‘OK, what just happened? I thought Stokes was the shooter’.’’

How do the Orange combat this two-pronged attack? The good news on the shooting side is, they shouldn't expect a shooting performance like that every game. It happens (sometimes more often than we expect) but it's not the norm.

The bigger concern is how do the Orange control the frontcourt? It's basically the Rick Jackson Show at this point and everyone else is simply a guest star. Even on the rebounding side of things, Rick is an island unto himself.

"I mean, help would be nice," Jackson said. "A little help would be nice. But what can you do? Guys rely on me to be that great rebounder and go out and get every rebound."

"[One rebound in 26 minutes from Southerland & Fair] just not going to get it done for us," Boeheim said. "James has played (54) minutes (in the last two games combined) with one rebound. That's just not getting it done."

Fab "Five Minutes Of Glory" Melo isn't going to get it done either.