Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

Archive for the ‘Zone defense’ Category

We’re moving to

Posted by Tim on August 24, 2007

DC is Cuse Country

This is a photo of a sign blog contributor Josh made before a game against Georgetown in Washington. It became something of a running joke in our crew: Wherever we were, that was Cuse Country. When it came time to name this little project of ours, it seemed a natural fit. Holy crap, the Internet is Cuse Country!

Now, the time has come to move to nicer real estate. And with football season looming like an orange cloud of noxious gas, we’re moving to a new address that doesn’t have “hoops” in the URL.

So come visit us at Same great stuff, new great home.


Posted in ACC, Andy Rautins, Arinze Onuaku, Assists, Baylor, Bernie Fine, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Big East Tournament, Blogroll, Bracketology, Canisius, Carmelo Anthony, Carrier Dome, Cincinnati, Clemson, Colgate, Conference Games, Craig Forth, Damone Brown, Daryl Gross, Defense, Demetris Nichols, DePaul, DeShaun Williams, Devin Brennan-McBride, Drexel, Elvir Ovcina, Eric Devendorf, Etan Thomas, Former Orangemen, Game Charts, Gas Face, Georgetown, Gerry McNamara, greg paulus, Hakim Warrick, Haters, Hofstra, Holy Cross, In the Media, Jason Hart, Jim Boeheim, Josh Pace, Josh Wright, kodiak bears, Kueth Duany, Lazarus Sims, Losses, Louisville, Marquette, Matt Gorman, Mike Hopkins, Mike Jones, Mookie Watkins, National Championship, NBA, NCAA Tournament, News of the Orange, NIT, Nonconference Games, Northeastern University, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Open Letter, Orange Blogosphere, Otis Hill, Pac 10, Paul Harris, Penn, Pitt, Preston Shumpert, Providence, Rankings, Rebounding, Recruits, Regular Season Games, Rob Murphy, RPI, Rutgers, Ryan Blackwell, San Diego State, SEC, South Alabama, South Florida, St. Bonaventure, St. Francis, St. John's, syracuse, Terrence Roberts, UConn, UNC-Charlotte, UTEP, Villanova, Virginia Tech, Walk-ons, West Virginia University, Wichita State, Wins, Zone defense | 2 Comments »

From Way Downtown… Bang!

Posted by Josh on May 3, 2007

They’re moving the college 3-point line back an entire foot. Coach B is quoted in this article on as being in favor of the change but he also wants a somewhat wider paint area. As far as next year’s SU team, this is slightly troubling because we lost our only pure long-range shooter, and this will mean that Devendorf probably just hoists the same shots from further away. In a couple years this may actually end up reducing the impact of freshmen who will not be used to shooting from the longer line (this season it will be the same deal for everyone). But the big question I have is, how will this affect the 2-3 zone? Will it be more effective, because opposing offenses will be setting up further from the basket? Or will it be less powerful because the “gaps” in the zone will get wider? What do you guys think?

Posted in Eric Devendorf, Jim Boeheim, Zone defense | 1 Comment »

Younger Every Year

Posted by Josh on April 20, 2007

The Post-Standard has reported in the past few days that SU has verbal commitments from two players in the class of 2008 (a.k.a. the post-Josh Wright Era): Kris Joseph and James Southerland. OrangeFan (who has his finger firmly on the pulse of SU recruiting) has some prime info and links in his post about Joseph. Southerland’s announcement just came down the pike last night; I imagine that OrangeFan will have a boatload of more information shortly. In the meantime, the P-S story makes him sound like Preston Shumpert — a tall but slim wing player with a sweet shooting stroke. But this quote from his high school coach in that story simply baffles me:

“He’s got that one skill that you can’t teach. He can shoot.”

First of all, there are plenty of skills you can’t teach. Secondly, shooting isn’t one of them. Let’s review a bit. Here are some things you can teach:

  • passing
  • ballhandling
  • moving without the ball
  • setting screens
  • shooting
  • your children well
  • a smothering 2-3 zone defense

Things you can’t teach:

  • height
  • athleticism
  • heart/guts
  • court vision
  • clutchness (“Onions!”)
  • basketball instincts
  • Georgetown Hoyas

I’m sure there are others — what did I miss?

Posted in Josh Wright, Preston Shumpert, Recruits, syracuse, Zone defense | 7 Comments »

Did You Know?

Posted by Josh on February 27, 2007

Going into tonight’s game:

  • Georgetown was 5th in the nation in scoring defense, giving up under under 57ppg.
  • Georgetown was 10th in the nation in FG% defense, with their opponents shooting 38.7% overall.
  • Georgetown was #2 in the country in FG% on offense, connecting on over 52% of their shots.
  • Georgetown had won their last 11 games by an average margin of 13. ppg.
  • Georgetown was entering the conversation as having a shot at a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Not in our house, bitches.

SU scored 72 on 44% shooting, while holding the Hoyim to 29.8%. Those are Esherick-esque shooting numbers there, guys. Did you bring back Kevin Braswell or something? Georgetown also turned it over 19 times, 5 above their average. Hell of a performance by the Zone Defense.

Check this sweet photo from the Daily Orange. I’m not a huge court-rushing advocate, but still, it had to be cool to be in this mix:

Posted in Big East, Conference Games, Georgetown, NCAA Tournament, Wins, Zone defense | 1 Comment »

Jim Boeheim and the offense of the go-to-guy

Posted by Tom on February 16, 2007

Everyone always gives a lot of well deserved lip service to Boeheim as the master of the 2-3 zone, but have you ever heard anyone specifically put Jimmy’s offensive coaching style under the microscope?

What got me thinking about this was seeing the UConn women’s team play following our loss to the Johnnies in the garden. After the game, they let everyone stick around to see the Ladystorm (or whatever they’re called) take on the lady Huskies immediately afterwards. Let me tell you, seeing those ladies play, especially after our ugly loss, was humbling. Almost every trip down the court involved at least 4 quick passes in the half court set, and culminated with someone who was open (or facing a defender that wasn’t set yet) taking a traditionally “good” shot. No one except the point guard ever seemed to hold the ball for more than a second or two. And since they can’t consider dunking, their layups are totally automatic. I left with a big crush on these ladies’ fundamentals. Quickly, I started noticing a similar style of play on certain men’s teams. Watching Notre Dame’s 63 point first half dismantling on January 30, the buckets they were hitting weren’t lucky shots. They were open shots. And they were making lots of quick passes to get them. So I started to wonder… what offense are we playing?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Andy Rautins, Assists, Carmelo Anthony, Defense, Demetris Nichols, Eric Devendorf, Etan Thomas, Former Orangemen, Gerry McNamara, Hakim Warrick, Jason Hart, Jim Boeheim, Josh Wright, Lazarus Sims, Matt Gorman, Mookie Watkins, Notre Dame, Preston Shumpert, syracuse, Terrence Roberts, UConn, Uncategorized, Zone defense | 6 Comments »

No rest for the mediocre

Posted by Josh on February 5, 2007

Judging by the explosion of content on this forum in the past 40 hours, everyone is clearly really excited about the win over DePaul. Yeah. Woot. It was an important win, of course, to keep their NCAA hopes on life-support, but it was an “oughta-win”, a home game against a likely NIT team. The computers liked it, because DePaul beat Kansas a while back. So I’m not complaining. But the last 10 minutes were Louisville Redux. Good thing SU had got up by 20 instead of only 14.

I’m more concerned with tonight’s game at UConn and their underachieving young team. To wit:

  • Calhoun the Zone-Killer knows exactly how to attack Boeheim’s vaunted defense. He will drill his standard countermeasures into his players, and if they crack a few early, easy scores, watch their confidence bloom.

  • The propensity, which I am hereby dubbing the Levance Fields Effect, for hitherto unknown and unproven players to have career games against SU. UConn’s entire roster falls into the category of “unknown and unproven” so there are a ton of likely candidates. (Doug Wiggins, anybody?)

  • The game is on campus in Storrs, not the big arena in Hartford where the SU game usually is held. This may be the most hostile environment they play in all year.

  • UConn’s biggest strength this year is rebounding. They are #1 in the conference in rebounds per game, and also in rebounding margin. They get a high percentage (35%) of their boards on the offensive end. (Of course, a big part of this is a natural consequence of their poor shooting.) SU is actually 2nd in the league in rebounds per game, but that is just because us Orange fans have witnessed a lot of missed shots on both ends of the court this year: SU is also dead last in “rebounds allowed” to the opponents. There have been an average of 77.7 rebounds in SU games this year – the only BE team close to that number is (you guessed it) UConn at 77.1. (Louisville is next at 73.5; most teams are in the 60s.) So it won’t matter if UConn misses a ton of shots if SU can’t clear the defensive boards. And, if you can find an over/under bet on missed shots in this game, take the over! (Stats source:

  • SU still struggles against teams they think are worse than them (a dead horse that bears flogging just a bit more) and all the recent stories about how UConn is “down” this year might contribute to that type of dangerous mindset.

UConn has not shot 3s well this year (32% as a team) and in fact have taken the fewest 3-pointers per game of any team in the Big East. So the key to keeping the zone effective (while simultaneously helping the rebounding) could very well be to pack the zone into the paint and encourage some heaving from afar. When UConn tries the standard “pass to the small forward at the foul line” play, the two top guards need to be collapsed enough to challenge that pass, and to bother the guy if he gets it so that Watkins does not have to come out from under the basket and leave someone free underneath for a “dump-down”. And if Watkins does step out, the forwards on the wings need to crash down behind him hard to deny the pass to the blocks and not worry as much about leaving someone open in the corner. Plus this forces UConn to make several clean passes in order to get a shot — and they average 15 turnovers per game, suggesting they aren’t so good at that. (For comparison, SU also averages 15 turnovers a game.)

And, in the name of all that is holy, box the fuck out!

Posted in Big East, DePaul, UConn, Wins, Zone defense | 3 Comments »

New Jersey is Cuse Country

Posted by Josh on January 11, 2007

Just returned from an epic (not really) trek up I-95 & Ye Olde NJ Turnpike to see the game at the RAC. My second time there. It’s a fun place to see a game — one of those smallish on-campus facilities where all the seats are looming right above the court, and the fans were into it from before the opening tip, with particularly lusty boos for the two SU starters from NJ. A healthy contingent of Orange faithful at the game, too; we were able to get a few sturdy “Lets Go Orange” chants going at various times, and when threw down the alley-oop to put us up 17, the cheers resounded loud enough (thanks to the RAC’s hollow metal shell) that for a moment you thought you might be back home.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Andy Rautins, Big East, Conference Games, Eric Devendorf, Mookie Watkins, Rutgers, Terrence Roberts, Wins, Zone defense | 2 Comments »

A win is a win, but…

Posted by Tim on November 15, 2006

I would say I was sorry I couldn’t watch tonight’s game against Northeastern. But then I read the game story. It should go without saying that SU should never, ever trail a Colonial Athletic Conference team by 15 at any point in a game. Sure, we crushed them in the end, holding them to 37 percent shooting and dominating the boards. I’m just glad I didn’t have to watch it.

At the risk of repeating the obvious, it’s becoming apparent that version of the Orange will live and die by the play of its guards. When Harris and Devendorf take control, we’re going to roll. When we need a huge performance from one of the big guys, we’re going to get hurt. (I’m thinking in terms of the offense here, since Boeheim gave Terrence Roberts credit for winning the game with his inside defense.)

Two other notes: First, Demetris Nichols is not a perfect player. Granted. But he is a great third scoring option who can also do some other things. When opponents are busy looking for Harris and Devendorf, he can take advantage. That’s key. Second, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t glad the zone defense is working out much better than the man-t0-man, as the aforementioned game story points out. We have to keep it sharp for the Tournament, after all. It’s always a blast to watch Big 12 teams panic when they can’t get off a shot or find a passing lane.

P.S. To the Syracusan’s point that it might be too early to dump on Lunardi, apparently Kim Baxter disagrees.

Posted in Eric Devendorf, Nonconference Games, Northeastern University, Paul Harris, Regular Season Games, Terrence Roberts, Wins, Zone defense | 2 Comments »