The 2-3 zone is a staple of Syracuse basketball, and for good reason. One could argue that the only reason SU stays in some of the games they have no business winning is due to their play on the defensive end. Though the Orange have shied away from their defensive reputation in recent history, the zone remains an important part of the team’s success.
Ahead of the matchup with Syracuse, San Diego State Head Coach, Brian Dutcher held a press conference where he talked about his team’s lack of playing time against a zone:
Dutcher jokingly mentioned that he’s happy he doesn’t have to play Syracuse on an aircraft carrier this time around, as he’s obviously referring to the contest the two had on the USS Midway, which was a game played to honor Veteran’s Day in 2012:
SU won that game back in 2012 and of course hopes to win this one. If they do it’ll be in large part due to the effect of the 2-3 zone. Coach Dutcher mentioned his team’s experience when facing a defense like Boeheim’s, “We’ve seen very limited zones all year, I think Air Force tried to zone us…we haven’t played against a 2-3 zone the entire season. We’re going to see one for 40 minutes, so I’m glad we have the time to prepare for it” A statement that should excite Syracuse fans. If the Aztecs aren’t able to adjust to seeing a zone defense for the first time Syracuse should be in a good spot. Dutcher went on to praise Coach Boeheim, “Jim Boeheim is a master coach, he knows how to get a team ready to play. He’ll be ready for us.” There’s no doubt Coach Boeheim and the rest of the SU coaching staff will be doing everything they can to get the Orange ready to take on the Aztecs. After Dutcher’s comments you can guarantee they’re brushing up and perfecting the zone defense heading into the round of 64.
Syracuse and San Diego State tip-off at 9:40 EST, you can of course catch all the action on CBS. Make sure to follow along on Twitter @OrangeFizz for updates and comments throughout the game, we’ll have you covered. Get excited and welcome to March!