The discussion over the Syracuse Orange‘s 2-3 zone is going to get beaten to death until tip-off. It is as if everyone has forgotten how simple of a defense it actually is to combat.
Since you were in biddy-basketball at the age of four, we all have been taught the fundamentals of picking apart any zone defense. Yet, we are all acting like Jim Boeheim has completely reinvented the wheel. When, in all honesty, it is the length of Michael Carter-Williams which has made the zone so successful. Not some new, super-diabolical twist Boheim has put on it.
The Michigan Wolverines know exactly how they are supposed to battle this version of the zone. Match-up oddly to the two guys on the top of the court by having a) either one player of their own at the top of the circle or b) two players on the wings with a big on the free-throw line.
Then, try to get the ball in the middle of the zone without turning it over. If that was to happen, the zone goes from a beastly threat to just another defense.
Seems simple enough, because it is not rocket science. A 2-3 zone is designed to allow opposing teams to rely on shooting jumpers. We all know that, so acting like this is something new is almost humorous. If the opponent were able to knock down a few long-range bombs, the zone would extend to an unhealthy level, thus leaving the middle of it wide open for the taking.
Considering Syracuse has a weapon for the zone which it never had before (a huge guard), Michigan is going to have to rely on the harder way to beat the zone than just getting the ball to the middle of it — hit jumpers.
You need not go any further for zone discussion for the rest of the week. Here is the absolute preview and the only thing you need to know for the game. Are you ready? Good.
Zone vs. jump shots. If jump shots do not going down, the ball game all but over — end easy analysis over something that has been around and has never been complicated since you were a gleam in your father’s eyes.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone