Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

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


Mike Miller

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.