As Expected, Wolfpack To Run More Zone
N.C. State Coach Sidney Lowe stood outside his team's locker room at the Georgia Dome yesterday following the Wolfpack's afternoon workout and smiled wide. He tried first to avoid the question entirely. Then he tried to be politically correct. Finally, he couldn't hold it in any longer.
From what you've seen on tape, why have teams had so much success running zone defenses against Maryland in recent games?
"You notice I can’t – I’m really not going to talk," Lowe said before breaking out into laughter. "You have me on that?"
Inside N.C. State's locker room, the answers proved to be slightly more forthcoming.
Guard Courtney Fells said zone defenses force Maryland to shoot more three-pointers instead of running plays out of their flex offense. The Terps are shooting 32.4 percent from beyond the arc.
"Maybe that’s why teams go zone, to kind of get them out of what they like to do and frustrate them a little bit," Fells offered.
Forward Ben McCauley said it had more to do with an opposing defense's physical characteristics. If a defense has length, he said, passing lanes are more easily disrupted in a zone defense, which makes Maryland's flex cuts less effective.
"It’s a matter of being active with your hands and always having a man in your area," McCauley said. "If you don’t have a man in your area, find a man."
As for N.C. State's game plan heading into tonight's game, forward Tracy Smith said the Wolfpack certainly would operate more out of zone defenses than they did the last time these two teams met. When asked what type of zone N.C. State planned to rely most heavily upon, Smith said a 3-2. He also offered that the Wolfpack plan to full-court press often and then fall back into the 3-2 zone.
"That's our plan for this game," he said.
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