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Jim Boeheim rips critics of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense

Mar 23, 2012, 4:52 PM EDT

spt-120323-cuse-zone AP

Jim Boeheim might spend as much time defending Syracuse’s use of a 2-3 zone defense as he does coaching it.

So he went on the offensive on Friday.

Per Adam Zagoria, the Orange coach shrugged off any notion that he must convince players that the zone is worth playing  — “They buy into it because they want to play.” – then criticized any analyst questions the use of a zone defense.

“I never hear anybody yelling at [Duke coach] Mike Krzyzewski to go back and play zone,” Boeheim said. “Why is that? He’s such a good coach, you don’t question him? Is that what that is? Really? Somebody shook their head down here. OK, that means I’m not a good coach, so you can question me.

“It’s all bull—-.”

Stylistic questions aside, Boeheim did note an important aspect of the zone: keeping players out of foul trouble. An example? When Wisconsin’s Jared Berggen had to sit because of that issue Thursday night. That doesn’t happen as often with the Orange.

“There’s other reasons, too, that zone is good,” Boeheim said. “A guy gets two fouls in the first half, I don’t take him out. We can protect him.

“So I keep my best offensive player in the game the whole half.”

The numbers bear that out, too. None of Syracuse’s five best players, Dion Waiters, Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche and C.J. Fair, commit more than 2.9 fouls per 40 minutes.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

  1. pbanach01 - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Who is criticizing the zone? How can you with that many wins honestly.

    • zidanevalor - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:35 PM

      Charles Barkley has been talking about the 2-3 zone during this tournament like it kidnapped his children.

      • protectthishouse54 - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:38 PM

        And in the words of Jim Boeheim, “Charles Barkley is an idiot.” haha something we can all agree on.

      • pbanach01 - Mar 27, 2012 at 5:25 PM

        haha wild man he is….I think the Raptors would take Kentucky when healthy tho

  2. 1historian - Mar 24, 2012 at 7:09 AM

    The zone works like a charm against a team like Wisconsin and when it works that well and you have the horses to run it – run it. Wisconsin was shooting treys all night because they were afraid to challenge it even though there were times when they clearly could have. But they didn’t have the PLAYERS to challenge it. IMO if they hadn’t been so hot from 3 point land it would not have been close at all.

    Both teams were well coached and both played to their max – Syracuse simply had the better players. Ohio State, on the other hand, has players who can match up with Syracuse, and that could make the upcoming game fun to watch. I have to go with Syracuse because Boeheim has more big game experience. Hope I’m wrong.

    Charles Barkley IS an idiot, but he is a well-paid idiot, because that’s what he does.

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