If SU played Zona... | Syracusefan.com

If SU played Zona...

BludOrange

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from the Sporting News/Mike DeCourcy.

1. Arizona vs. Syracuse, neutral court. Who wins and why?


DeCourcy: The toughest part of that question is never knowing how a player will react to facing a capable zone defense, and Syracuse’s is much more than capable.

If it were just two teams playing man defense, Arizona has better players by a razor-thin margin. If we were doing a draft of the two teams based on how they’ve played this year, say, two of my first three picks—and three of the first five—would be Wildcats. (Nick Johnson, C.J. Fair, Aaron Gordon, Tyler Ennis, T.J McConnell).

But that’s now how it works. They’ve gotta play. The fact that Arizona’s guards are not big and that their 3-point shooting is not lethal could be an issue. Certainly lack of size out front hindered Ohio State in facing zones set by Iowa and Minnesota, and we all remember what happened to Indiana in two encounters with the SU zone.

However, Pitt has won 10 of 14 games against Syracuse under Jamie Dixon, and a lot of those were earned without great perimeter shooters or tall guards. Maybe even most. The Panthers have taken a patient approach to breaking the SU zone from the inside out, and they don’t get rattled. That would seem to be the sort of team Arizona is, based on its comeback effort at Michigan, for instance, which preserved the unbeaten record.

Ennis, Syracuse’s freshman point guard, has been spectacular directing the team’s winning streak. He is an excellent scorer but doesn’t force that aspect of his game, which is a problem for a lot of “scoring points” in the current atmosphere.

Where SU might lack is its ability to generate enough offense against a defense as oppressive as Arizona’s, which could use Gordon as a lockdown defender against Fair and Johnson to keep shooter Trevor Cooney from finding open looks.

That’s why I’d lean toward Arizona. But, man, would I love to see this game.
 

edowd26

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from the Sporting News/Mike DeCourcy.

1. Arizona vs. Syracuse, neutral court. Who wins and why?


DeCourcy: The toughest part of that question is never knowing how a player will react to facing a capable zone defense, and Syracuse’s is much more than capable.

If it were just two teams playing man defense, Arizona has better players by a razor-thin margin. If we were doing a draft of the two teams based on how they’ve played this year, say, two of my first three picks—and three of the first five—would be Wildcats. (Nick Johnson, C.J. Fair, Aaron Gordon, Tyler Ennis, T.J McConnell).

But that’s now how it works. They’ve gotta play. The fact that Arizona’s guards are not big and that their 3-point shooting is not lethal could be an issue. Certainly lack of size out front hindered Ohio State in facing zones set by Iowa and Minnesota, and we all remember what happened to Indiana in two encounters with the SU zone.

However, Pitt has won 10 of 14 games against Syracuse under Jamie Dixon, and a lot of those were earned without great perimeter shooters or tall guards. Maybe even most. The Panthers have taken a patient approach to breaking the SU zone from the inside out, and they don’t get rattled. That would seem to be the sort of team Arizona is, based on its comeback effort at Michigan, for instance, which preserved the unbeaten record.

Ennis, Syracuse’s freshman point guard, has been spectacular directing the team’s winning streak. He is an excellent scorer but doesn’t force that aspect of his game, which is a problem for a lot of “scoring points” in the current atmosphere.

Where SU might lack is its ability to generate enough offense against a defense as oppressive as Arizona’s, which could use Gordon as a lockdown defender against Fair and Johnson to keep shooter Trevor Cooney from finding open looks.

That’s why I’d lean toward Arizona. But, man, would I love to see this game.
I am 100% confident we have faced tougher defenses this year. I watch UCLA cut them up. UCLA.
 

cusetown1

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I have watched zona play a bunch this year. Their front court is really good, not totally sold on them being the '85 Bears though.
 

wallacecuse

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I have watched zona play a bunch this year. Their front court is really good, not totally sold on them being the '85 Bears though.
Tarczewski is not a menacing shot blocker, and their size in the front court takes a hit when Hollis-Jefferson is in.
 

Lawrinson14

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Front court is a push.

Grant, CJ, Rak = Gordon, Tarczewski, Ashley

The game would come down to guard play. If cooney, ennis, and G play better than McConnell and Johnson we win. If not, we lose.
 

Knicks411

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Arizona does have the #3 defensive efficiency in the country. UCLA did put up 75 points on 70 possessions against them though. But Duke has one of the best offenses in the country and they couldn't crack a point per trip.
 

RF2044

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DeCourcy mis-applied that logic about Pitt. It isn't the size of the players or their approach, it is how well their approach melds with their familiarity with attacking our zone.

That's what can't be simulated. When you haven't seen it before, you can't prepare for it as easily.
 

edowd26

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I've found CJ really only struggles offensively when a quick and smaller player is assigned to him. I imagine he could take Fording left all day. Maybe get that jackwagon into some foul trouble. I think they'd be wiser to have rondae Jefferson on fair. I'm not an x' s and o's guy so what do I know.
 

SoBeCuse

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Front court is a push.

Grant, CJ, Rak = Gordon, Tarczewski, Ashley

The game would come down to guard play. If cooney, ennis, and G play better than McConnell and Johnson we win. If not, we lose.

This is probably true. Tarczewski is good, though. He is way more involved on offense than Rak and moves really well. Can step out and make shots. There's a reason SU wanted him. Coleman could've helped in this scenario. This would be a great game and probably would come down to guard play like you said.
 

wallacecuse

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DeCourcy mis-applied that logic about Pitt. It isn't the size of the players or their approach, it is how well their approach melds with their familiarity with attacking our zone.

That's what can't be simulated. When you haven't seen it before, you can't prepare for it as easily.

Exactly - it is often stated that all you need to do is get somebody to the FT line to shoot or pass. Problem is guards can't get that shot off, forcing the pass, and front court players aren't adept at entry passes from there, and quite honestly it is not an easy jumpshot for them even when open. McGary was able to do both, which is what got us down double digits in the first half. Most "new teams" we face can't pull it off.
 

Col. Bleep

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Think about this: Pitt...for all it's interior banging...got back into the game thanks to the 3.
You really need to be able to shoot the 3 against us.

I think the wildcard in any match-up is a team experiencing the 2-3 for the first time.
It's like running into a giant squid.
You've got to work between the tentacles.
And that's not easy without a well-practiced system for doing it.
 

Rocco

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... Syracuse would be ranked #1 the following week. Thanks.
 

Dave85

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DeCourcy mis-applied that logic about Pitt. It isn't the size of the players or their approach, it is how well their approach melds with their familiarity with attacking our zone.

That's what can't be simulated. When you haven't seen it before, you can't prepare for it as easily.

I think Pitt was doing more than just saying, "hey lets be tough." JD is running some kind of read-react offense specifically designed for the 2-3 zone. When someone flashes to the paint, the opposite forward moves into position to receive a bounce pass. It was clearly designed offense. JD has been facing Syracuse his whole career. His teams have been practicing his read-react offense for years. I doubt very much Arizona is going to execute as effectively against our zone as Pitt.
 

Trueblue25

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Assuming this would go down in April, we'd win.


I don't think there will be a team, come March that will be able to stop Jerami Grant.
 

CuseFaninVT

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I've found CJ really only struggles offensively when a quick and smaller player is assigned to him. I imagine he could take Fording left all day. Maybe get that jackwagon into some foul trouble. I think they'd be wiser to have rondae Jefferson on fair. I'm not an x' s and o's guy so what do I know.

Easiest way to frustrate CJ is to take away the left. I've only seen a few teams try it though. Seems silly since he really, really likes going that way.
 

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