To Zone or Not to Zone?
With the exception of last Saturday's game against Duke, the Terrapins' 3-2 zone defense has treated them quite well this season. So well, in fact, that Coach Gary Williams has said he's used it more this season than in any other during his head coaching career.
But while preparing to face California -- the top three-point shooting team in the country, statistically speaking -- Maryland has faced an intriguing question: Is running a zone defensive scheme worth the risk?
California swingman Theo Robertson said yesterday that teams have tried to shut them down with a zone before, and those teams haven't had a whole lot of success.
"We’ve been fairly successful with the zone," Robertson said, "just being able to spread the floor with a lot of different shooters around the perimeter."
One team that was effective in slowing California's three-point shooting barrage was Oregon State. The Beavers beat California twice this season utilizing a 1-3-1 zone. On Jan. 21, Oregon State beat California, 65-54, and held the Golden Bears to 15 percent shooting (3 of 20) from three-point range.
The 1-3-1 differs from the 3-2, but several players said that would deter the Terrapins from implementing their zone look against the Golden Bears.
"We still probably will mix up a little bit of zone," Eric Hayes said. "Coach watched some film and they lost a couple games where the team played all zone. When other teams zone, they weren’t making the threes as much and that’s a big part of their offense. That was just one of those games where they weren’t hitting and the zone was working. It just depends on how well they’re shooting the ball and the flow of the game."
Cliff Tucker summation was more concise.
"We’ve got to shut those guys down, know who their shooters are and get a hand up," Tucker said. "That’s really all we can do."
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