My growing hatred for the zone cannot prevent me from doing my job of discussing it. While I much rather talk about Pizza Hut giving away free pizza, I am employed to break down such trivial things as a defensive scheme that your dog can figure out. While I have made it abundantly clear that hitting jumpers or getting the ball to the middle of the zone is the easiest way to defuse the zone — there is another, more game altering way.
In theory, it is actually much simpler than hoping players will hit long-range jumpers or getting the ball between two huge Syracuse Orange guards. All the Michigan Wolverines have to do is completely change the tempo of the basketball game. Instead of relying on half-court or only transition off turnover basketball, Michigan can try to push the ball constantly which should result in the Orange being unable to setup in their 2-3 zone properly.
There are a few catches to this cockamamie strategy. The most important of which is the fact Michigan isn’t really the Phoenix Suns circa before their organization got rid of every good player, ever. Contrary to popular belief, running an up-tempo style of hoops in college requires a certain type of team. One which features great decision makers, players who do not turn the ball over and finishers. Michigan, who might actually have the personnel to run such an offense, has some quality big-men who would be wasted if this offense was to be run, however.
It is just another suggestion on how Michigan can ruin the Orange’s zone. Michigan though, might be one of the few teams in the country who should actually rely on jumpers rather than altering tempo. While many other teams have fallen to the zone because of their inability to hit shots, Michigan is a pretty solid mid-to-long range shooting team.
Unlike the majority in teams at the collegiate level, Michigan has enough talent to attempt to beat the zone. Here is to hoping they can shoot above the Syracuse zone tournament average (.27 percent) and help make this game watchable.
Sadly, this is likely the 243,908th zone related story you have read this week. Only 2,948 more until Saturday — go us!
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone