Strategy or Coincidence??? | Syracusefan.com

Strategy or Coincidence???

anomander

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Over the past couple years I have felt Boeheim allows his opponents to attempt open 3 point shots to start the game. Not exactly open, but we play a bit loose along the 3 point line. Sure this probably has to do with our defense picking up the intensity on close outs after we give up a couple early 3's, but i actually feel these makes benefit us. I never mind seeing a team come out and hit 2 or 3 consecutive 3 pointers to start the game. Opponents see the ball go in and fall in love with the 3. It has seemed to happen almost every single game(or what feels like) this season. I know it has happened a lot over the past 5 years or so as well. I doubt JB would admit it, but I bet he doesn't mind it as well. Watch as the season goes on. It never fails, but we quickly adjust.
 

iommi

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Excellent post; I've been noticing that this is particularly true in the past 4 or 5 seasons or so.
 

iommi

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JB lulls them into a false sense of security...

So does Tyler Ennis...opponents look at him..."he doesn't look like much"..."he looks kind of slow..." ...then he's blowing by them all game and "leaving their lingeree on the deck," as Bill Raftery would say.
 

omniorange

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Agree. He knows college players aren't good enough to hit those shots all game unless you're Wisconsin in which case we'll win anyway.

Not so sure of that this season. I'm hoping Wisconsin is a mirage this year, but if not, I don't want to see them anywhere near our bracket. ;)

Cheers,
Neil
 

cusetown1

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Over the past couple years I have felt Boeheim allows his opponents to attempt open 3 point shots to start the game. Not exactly open, but we play a bit loose along the 3 point line. Sure this probably has to do with our defense picking up the intensity on close outs after we give up a couple early 3's, but i actually feel these makes benefit us. I never mind seeing a team come out and hit 2 or 3 consecutive 3 pointers to start the game. Opponents see the ball go in and fall in love with the 3. It has seemed to happen almost every single game(or what feels like) this season. I know it has happened a lot over the past 5 years or so as well. I doubt JB would admit it, but I bet he doesn't mind it as well. Watch as the season goes on. It never fails, but we quickly adjust.
I heard he calls it fools gold
 

orangefan13

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college basketball is about adjusting would much rather us start with a non extended zone then try to adjust from a extended one that is giving quick buckets 12 feet and in building oppenents team confidence.
 
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pearl31

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He doesn't allow them those shots, per se, but JB is a huge believer in the numbers. When teams hit a bunch of early ones they will (almost always) miss a bunch of others as the game progresses. Regression to the mean, if you will.
This is also why, I believe, he has arrived at and stayed with the 2-3 as his exclusive defense. The numbers game—which includes the overall relative 3-pt shooting %s of college players. Perhaps he has consulted with Nate Silver through the years… ;)
 

cliftonparksufan

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Agree. He knows college players aren't good enough to hit those shots all game unless you're Wisconsin in which case we'll win anyway.
JAB has said it many times. Nova came into the game shooting 32% from 3 pt range. Eventually they are going to start missing. He has seen it happen over and over again. We have seen it happen over and over again. It was no different than the Cornell game to open the season. Cornell was 7 for 17 from 3 in the first half and only 3 for 15 in the 2nd half. Occasionally you might lose one (to a hot Notre Dame team for example) but the record is pretty consistent.
 

moqui

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Not so sure of that this season. I'm hoping Wisconsin is a mirage this year, but if not, I don't want to see them anywhere near our bracket. ;)

Cheers,
Neil
Wisconsin kind of reminds me of SU in this way: a coach completely wedded to his unique system (a style which gets criticized by fans from all over the CBB universe), been knocking at the door for several years now . . . I get the feeling that they are going to break through one of these years, and soon. I just hope SU beats them to it (and avoids playing them again along the way).
 

OttoinGrotto

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I've long felt that part of the reason why we start two bigs is so that it makes it just a little easier for teams to start the game looking for shots along the perimeter (given the potentially slower guy on one side of the wing), and for most of our opponents that's a bad idea and gets them in to bad habits offensively.
 

STEVEHOLT

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He doesn't allow them those shots, per se, but JB is a huge believer in the numbers. When teams hit a bunch of early ones they will (almost always) miss a bunch of others as the game progresses. Regression to the mean, if you will.
This is also why, I believe, he has arrived at and stayed with the 2-3 as his exclusive defense. The numbers game—which includes the overall relative 3-pt shooting %s of college players. Perhaps he has consulted with Nate Silver through the years… ;)

mathematically this is incorrect.

regression means that their success rate will tend to approach their year long percentage.

if the team shoots 35 percent on the year...and they are 10 for 10...their success rate will tend to drop back to 35 percent...not go below 35 percent because they were 10 for 10 already . whats done is done. making your last three throw doesn't increase the chance you miss your next.
 

STEVEHOLT

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i also think people here tend to link the zone defense to three pointers too much. we play zone because its a defense that works based on the system we employ and the players we recruit. we dont play zone to make teams take threes or not take threes. the idea that teams with good outside shooters will be worse for our zone that a team with a 6'9" player who can drill the free throw line jumper is not necessarily true.
 

TerryM

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I think it's just that he's awesome at making adjustments. JB would never give away free point or open shots. If that was the case dc2 would be playing 40 minutes a game.
Whoa whoa whoa stop the clock. I thought he just rolls the ball out there. what are these adjustments you speak of. :-P
 

anomander

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No way does JB ever purposely allow an opponent to score points in any manner--not in his chemistry.

obviously he doesn't purposely allow it, but the zone doesn't extend until the opponent shows you they can knock down a couple shots. if they make a few no big deal he will just extend, if they can't make any shots the entire game all the better. teams just don't come out knocking down 3's every game on accident.
 

zeekay

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obviously he doesn't purposely allow it, but the zone doesn't extend until the opponent shows you they can knock down a couple shots. if they make a few no big deal he will just extend, if they can't make any shots the entire game all the better. teams just don't come out knocking down 3's every game on accident.

True. It would be stupid for JB to start the zone extended when the whole point of the zone is to stop dribble penetration and easy shots at the basket. He makes the opponent beat our "default" zone setup and if the opponent does, he extends the zone which then stops the 3 point assault. From there the opponent has to adjust and start going inside which Nova did not.

If the opponent does not beat our "default" setup, we continue to stay in it since that means they are not hitting many outside shots and were in optimal interior defense setup to contest their inside game.
 

rhcuse

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3-point % is affected by several variables -- how deep, hand in the face, squared up, general form, mechanics and ability, hurried coming screen, late in shot clock, etc. JB likes the zone activity to force opponents into more "bad" shots and thus a lower %age over time.
 

shermstheman

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I've always thought that JB starts with the "standard" zone and adjusts it accordingly. Teams may hit a few in the beginning but that doesn't warrant changing the zone-- once they consistently hit 3's the zone will come out more. With a Duke I'd imagine this would occur earlier than with a Villanova as the stats back up Duke's ability to hit threes moreso than Villanova.
 

stuckinbig11

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obviously he doesn't purposely allow it, but the zone doesn't extend until the opponent shows you they can knock down a couple shots. if they make a few no big deal he will just extend, if they can't make any shots the entire game all the better. teams just don't come out knocking down 3's every game on accident.
Valid point--JB figures out the strengths of an opponent's offense on that particular day and then adjusts the zone to take them away, but I still don't think he purposely allows them to take uncontested 3s.
 

Ghost

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Agree. He knows college players aren't good enough to hit those shots all game unless you're Wisconsin in which case we'll win anyway.

That was one my favorite games to watch in recent history - didn't seem like the officials ever made any questionable calls that you could put a win/loss on them - just two teams trading blows in a slow paced, but very well played game.
 

IthacaMatt

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Over the past couple years I have felt Boeheim allows his opponents to attempt open 3 point shots to start the game. Not exactly open, but we play a bit loose along the 3 point line. Sure this probably has to do with our defense picking up the intensity on close outs after we give up a couple early 3's, but i actually feel these makes benefit us. I never mind seeing a team come out and hit 2 or 3 consecutive 3 pointers to start the game. Opponents see the ball go in and fall in love with the 3. It has seemed to happen almost every single game(or what feels like) this season. I know it has happened a lot over the past 5 years or so as well. I doubt JB would admit it, but I bet he doesn't mind it as well. Watch as the season goes on. It never fails, but we quickly adjust.


While JB doesn't want people to go all nuts on us, yes, that's part of the hoped-for outcome. They called it "fool's gold" in an interview or article for ESPN a couple years ago. Happened to Nova, as you pointed out.

The big thing about the zone that we do, that other teams don't really do, is we ADJUST it so well, mid-stream in the game, to take away specific things that the opponent does. It's like, "oh, you're going to to THIS? Well, now we'll take that away, and what will you do now?" Bilas called it a "scouting report zone", and that is certainly the foundation of the approach to each opponent. Just look at how we limited JayVaughn Pinkston to only 3 points. And in the St. John's game, a similar result. Make somebody ELSE other than the star player beat you. How will the other team's offense adjust?

Boeheim forces more adjustments on other teams during the game, because of how he has mastered the rotations in the zone, where the passes are going to go, and has refined our defensive position to almost always be in position to contest a pass and maybe get a steal. The way he plays this zone now has so little similarity to the way they played it in the late 90s, when it became the staple defense. I think the last couple years, that's a big part of what has made us elite.

People used to accept that he was a very good offensive coach - he kept things natural and instinctive for players, and used his best players to take the most shots, in the best positions on the floor for those players. They gave him some props for his offensive and in particular the fast break abilities as a coach. We were "Show Time" before the Lakers ever were! Those Pearl and Sherman teams gave us a unique identity on par with Phi Slamma Jamma. SU was the Funkiest Team in the Land. Our jackets could be found on a lot of inner city playgrounds.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble, but I agree with your premise, that an opponent hitting some early 3's against the zone can lull them into taking those shots all game long instead of getting inside the zone and getting to the foul line against us. We push them out a couple more feet and suddenly those shots don't fall. The opponent's offense starts standing around, and hopefully at this point we make our move and get on a run. Boy, it's late and I am really excited by how this team is playing !!!
 

SaltLakeOrange

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Valid point--JB figures out the strengths of an opponent's offense on that particular day and then adjusts the zone to take them away, but I still don't think he purposely allows them to take uncontested 3s.

I think he starts each game with the intent of taking away our opponents best player. If that works, but someone else goes off then he'll make in game adjustments. From what I can tell, these mostly occur at halftime. But sometimes he'll adjust in realtime (that happened this weekend when he extended the zone after the Nova hit 4 early threes).

The zone isn't primarily about forcing threes. It's definitely about playing to our strengths. Long/tall forwards who make it difficult to get to the rim or shoot over. It also helps protect our players against ticky tack fouls.
 

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