Are the Gators the favorite to winning it all, and Why is Boeheims zone still so effective?

  • Just a short topic here but I’m curious to hear who our NC picks are right now and why on earth is Syracuse the dominant zone team in the country year after year? I am resolved to the hawks not making the FF, and along that thought, I’m also deciding on Billy D as my favorite coach and Florida winning it all this year. Looking forward to your opinions.

  • As far as why Syracuse is the dominant zone team year after year, I could only ask, why is KU a dominant man to man team year after year? I guess because Self is one of the best coaches ever and thats the defense he teaches. I don’t love Boeheim, but there is no denying he is an excellent coach. They are near the top year after year and zone is what he teaches. And he teaches it well. I realize thats a really simplistic answer, but for a more technical analysis the experts on this board will have to speak. But for the second part of your question, whose going to win it all this year, (assuming we leave KU out of the picture), I’m going with Wichita State. I live and breathe KU basketball, but the truth is, I graduated from WSU. But besides that emotional attachment, which is really pretty small, I just think they deserve their ranking and I think they are capable of winning it all. I know there are plenty of WSU detractors out there on this board, and I know their SOS is not as good as any of the other highly ranked teams, but they play tough. After reading the USA Today story on Greg Marshall, I think you can understand why. They made it to the FF last year and I think if they continue to play the way they are playing right now, they can do it again. I’ve looked at several of the stat sites and WSU is right in the ballpark with all the other top 10 teams, again excepting SOS. But the interesting thing is Syracuse doesn’t have a great SOS either, and no one ever talks about that. Depending on the source, Syracuse’s SOS is 71, but no one is saying that will cause them problems in the tournament. I could quote a lot of figures, but to me, the figures lie. KU can have the best SOS and RPI, etc, etc, but still lose on the floor. WSU may not have the best numbers, but again, they play with the personality of their head coach, and that is “never quit”. They may not get back to the FF this year, but I’ll be pulling for them.

  • @Blown Blown! Don’t give up on the 'hawks just yet! Not that they would be considered “favorites” to win it all, but we’re as talented as anybody, and with Embiid healthy we are a different team. I would definitely reserve any judgments of a predictive nature on KU until we see if the big fella can return to his once dominant self. It’s about getting hot at the right time. Following the SDSU loss, we were as hot as anybody in the country. Then Joel’s injury happened, and we’ve taken a couple losses on the chin. As others have speculated, if we’re forced to play without Joel for a couple of games, it may actually be beneficial long term. It will mean more minutes for the rest of the post players to polish their skills, and it will force the perimeter D to play without the rim protector, which should force improvement as well. The season is not lost yet! Definitely not because KSU needed us to play piss poor, without a healthy Embiid, without Jamari, and still needed an overtime to put us away in their house (which is one of the more hostile enviroments we’ll play in all year). Have faith brother!

    As far as other favorites to win it all, Florida has to be one of them. The SEC is pretty weak this year, so they won’t come in as tested as other teams (at least not recently). I was ready to drink the SDSU kool-aid, but not sure what a stumble against Wyoming means. Maybe nothing but an off game. Syracuse is there as well, as their quality of zone few teams will have faced heading into the tourney. However, they seem to constantly underachieve. One of the Grantland writers recently ranked the Syracuse teams of the past (apparently he’s someone who follows them regularly), and he said last year’s team and maybe 2 or 3 other squads were all better than the Carmelo Anthony-Gerry McNamara-Hakeem Warrick team in '03 that won it all, which was their only National Championship.

    And speaking of Syracuse, I don’t watch them a ton, but if I had to guess at why their zone is so good I would say first and foremost it is because it is their primary defense, and Boeheim has been running it for 30 years. It is active, and has many trapping elements to it.

  • Just to keep thing in perspective, keep in mind that Florida plays in very weak SEC so the regular season competition has not been strong.

    Also, going back to the KU game, Florida won the first half 36-21, but remember that KU started 4 Freshmen and 1 sophomore and Greene played 14 minutes. All together they used 122 of the 200 minutes available or 61%, a pretty green team. BTW KU won the second half of that game 40-31.

  • @oldhawk I can definitely appreciate where you are coming from, and I agree Jim is the reason the D is so effective and consistent, but I was kind of looking from the x & o standpoint.

    @ict its not that i have given up on them 🙂 They definitely have the make up to win 6 in a row, I"m just not counting on it as I do some years.

    I definitely agree on the SOS for WSU and Florida. We’ll see how they play Kentucky here soon.

  • @icthawkfan316 The 2-3 zone is Syracuse’s only defense. Boeheim said so on Game Day. A long time ago, he evaluated the results of games where they played man AND zone verses just zone. He said they were better when they just played zone. So, he decided that’s what he would do. Zone. Coach it all the time. Play it all the time. The result being what he wanted. 'Cuse plays it the best of anyone combined with the fact that other teams don’t practice against it that much.

  • @Blown I asked the same question earlier this season and got some good X and O insight from Dragnslayr and Jaybate based on the players KU has and their defensive abilities. I think Syracuse has the advantage of being the only major program totally committed to playing zone

    As far as the Final four, I expect the four healthiest of the top 15 teams. Just look at how much injuries have hurt so many teams, including Ku. I just hope the Jayhawks are one of the healthy teams

  • I might like Billy Donovan, but you could argue he is only as good as the players he gets. Bill Self, however, is known to coach-up almost any set of players into a competetive team, best exemplified by the 1999 Tulsa no-Mickey-D squad that ended up Elite8 and 32-5…and then 2012 TyshawnHawks, where a cobbled-together lineup (talented, but with no bench) makes it to the Champ game. Other evidentiary mountains not to miss are the 9Straight Conf championships, regardless of who is on KU’s roster…

    If Billy Donovan came to KU, his recruiting might be enhanced a bit, and KU would remain an excellent basketball product in natl-contention. If Billy Self went to FL, their recruiting would go up noticeably, and FL would be in natl contention every single season.

  • Syracuse excellence in zoneD: Dedication & practice.

    KU’s excellence in m2m 😨 Dedication & practice. (Current team still under construction…)

  • @ralster

    “Syracuse excellence in zoneD: Dedication & practice.”

    And very specific recruiting. Boeheim goes after very specific players to fill each position. He may not be the very best recruiter in the game, but he knows what he wants and every player he goes after is specific to a role in that defense. As far as meeting those goals… I’d put him in the top 5 of top recruiters.

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