Indiana's Inability to Break The Zone Yesterday
Looking at the game yesterday and I was totally shocked at Indiana's game plan or should I say lack of it, I mean Syracuse have played the same zone all year and that is what they are known for, I believe this is down to the Coaches to do their research and they failed very badly, Indiana have good shooters but they lacked another big presence to compliment Zeller on the High Low, for a top College program, I really expected more, cracking the zone aint easy, but they had a whole year to prepare for scenarios like these...
A few things that need to be said about your post.
A) Please do not attack the coaching staff. Indiana did a great job conceptually trying to attack the zone. They had a baseline runner with Zeller at the high post. The sometimes started in a 1-4 high set to distort the zone. They sometimes attempted to screen the top 2 guys on the zone. But here is the problem....Indiana's guards are small and cannot/could not penetrate their zone or shoot over it. Williams goes what? 6'6 as a PG? the other guard is what 6'4ish? Then their wings are long as well... So their primary players who get shots for players were out gunned. Their strategy was not bad...they did not have the required talented based upon the matchup they were in.
B) Zeller came up small. Numerous times he caught the ball up top with the top 2 in the zone spread (staying with shooters) and he could not convert. As a projected top 10 pick (He is not a franchise guy BTW) he showed no ability to impact the game on either end of the court. The face up jump shot was there to be had. So because he was ineffective it allowed Syracuse to stretch the zone at times which did not allow for openings for shooters. If Zeller plays better the shooters have more room to get off shots.
In conclusion: There are no new ways to attack the zone. The Hoosiers went with a 3 out 2 in (high post and short corner) look. Blaming the coaches for their inability to break the zone is incorrect and misplaced blame. Ultimately when players catch the ball in positions to score they have to be able to convert. The coaches job is done once a player has the ball in a scoring area. Syracuse did a great job using their length and size and quickness to disturb what Indiana was trying to do. It was a bad matchup similarly to that of when Michigan ran VCU out of the building. Shake Smart didn't forget how to coach...he just ran up against a team in Michigan whose strength negated their strengths. In this case those small little guards could not do anything against all that length that Syracuse has.
when your front court gets outscored 38-0 and your former player of the year candidate player goes 3/11 (and somehow gets his shot blocked 87 times) it's on the coach. you figure the front court could have accidentally scored at least a point.
Excellent point and I agree, I think what I was trying to say is that Indiana had a whole year to prepare for these types of match-ups, they must have seen tapes and realized that they might not be able to match-up with Syracuse size wise so they could have adjusted, I didnt see any sign of adjustment, just very predictable offence,....to me they looked very confused, Ferrell looked lost out there, the other guards were taking shots at the wrong time and giving away a lot of passes, and Zeller couldn't not establish himself very well inside, not what you would expect from a top level program in a crucial game in my opinion.
you need to be able to have your guards drive into the lane to break the zone, then pass out to your shooters. Just passing to the high post isn't good enough if that person can't hit that shot, or drive to the lane and make a basket.
The problem IU had is they didn't use the dribble drive to break the zone so it would collapse and then have their shooters capitalize on the collapsed zone.
Everybody got excited because Hoosier basketball is top 25 for the first time in like a decade. The media turned Zeller and Oladipo into players they are not. Against both Temple and Cuse, Zeller looked soft, like a baby's bottom soft. He needs to man the &$#%#&@! up and finish his shots. Oladipo just ain't much of an offensive threat and though his D is good, he got beat a lot during the tourney. Other than those two the support cast is about as average as you get for respectable D3 schools.
I kept waiting for the Hoosiers to turn it on. Know why they didn't? Because Will Sheehey was their best offensive option during the tournament. LOL
This season, Zeller went from could-be-number-one-pick to probably-will-come-back-to-school