Biggest benefit of zone is rebounding................

…we are a much better rebounding team in the zone than in man. We don’t block out any better in man than we do in zone but at least we have three guys near the basket when a shot goes up against our zone. When we are in man defense, we just don’t go to the basket to rebound well at all.

Our defense in the paint is better for the same reason. Moses is there instead of swiching and trapping on the perimeter which allows easy shots in the paint.

We are a diffferent team on defense and it has made a impact on the players effort. I wouldn’t mind if we don’t see any man at all.

…as they basically quit trying to steal and overplay and contain instead. Mike just doesn’t have the length and defensive tenacity on this team to break good offenses with pressure in the Nolan Richardson tradition. He is having great success with Nolan’s match-up zone, forcing the offense to make shots, and allowing the Hogs to be in position to rebound instead of out of position trying to steal. He is able to play both his two (and only) big men at the same time and protect them against foul trouble in the zone. As long as both Trey and Moses can stay out of foul trouble doing this, it is a huge weapon for this team. Trey is such a great passer, he makes everyone else better. Moses can go for the block, miss, and there is a rebounder available to clean the boards. Thomas and Cook have just not been able to rebound like Trey.

Yes and no. Our defensive rebounding percentage in SEC play has actually dropped over the last three games. Zones aren’t the answer to rebounding problems. Syracuse is almost dead last in the country in that area.

Our rebounding seems better for several reasons. First, a lot of the boards are on long caroms in which the offense then has to go against our set defense again. Secondly, we’ve got rim protection close by for the boards in the lane. Some of the boards are coming after the offense has to play volleyball on the glass to get one bucket, if they convert at all. Hence, the absolute number of Orebs exaggerates the actual damage in second-chance points. It’s not the case that we are spread out and the O gets an easy putback after a lone defender challenges the shot.

Likewise, the big difference in our D has been in FG percentage defense. We were giving up over 50% on deuces in SEC play. That has dropped to 46% over the last 3 games. Under 45% against power competition is elite. So, that’s quite good. Our D also surrendered under 30% in treys in each of the last 3 games. We’ve all been horrified by our arc defense in individual games, but we have actually climbed into the top half of the SEC in conference play in that category. We are also fouling less. When teams get Orebs, they aren’t having an easy time converting those into points.

Overall the D is still a work in progress, but the improvement in FG percentage defense has allowed us to get enough stops so that our lately juggernaut offense can go on big runs. Great offense can deodorize the defense, not that it isn’t improving. We’ve still had spurts of not defending well like the first five minutes at USC. However, we are locking down opponents for long stretches that allow us to seize control of games.

You have always had a good grasp and analysis.

Defending and rebounding our defensive board is the number one priority for winning a game. In Ole Miss game, we played multiple defenses, in all cases we did not surrender the board without protection. WE let Saiz know we are not going to let him dominate down low. Also we let the Burnette and Davis know if they drive in, we’ll bat it away. We practically took the inside scoring away from them, as their coach alluded to it. If we protect our back board like this, we have a chance to compete with anyone.

Niels they need to hire you as special advisor to the coach or whatever they have for football now. We might have been able to fix some things before mid February and losing to Mizzou and at home to Vandy.