The zone defense and UConn have not always been fast friends. They haven’t always been on speaking terms, even.
But the game is changing, subtly, and UConn is surviving in the zone.
“At the end of the day, we shot 50 percent,” Kevin Ollie said, referring to the Huskies performance at Providence, which played a lot of zone on Thursday night. “We must’ve done some good things. We’re looking at the film and seeing a lot of positive things we can exploit.”
If Syracuse is the team best identified with the zone, other teams are following suit.
“Not everybody plays it like Syracuse,” Ollie said, “because of the way they can extend it, and with the kind of players they are able to recruit.
“ … “A lot of teams are playing zone, a lot of them are going toward that. There a not a lot of big guys, not a lot of guys blocking shots and the zone can cover some of that, you’ve got to be able to rebound off that. . A lot of teams are playing smaller, the zone allows you to do that.”
Even UConn plays more zone defense than in the past, Ollie was saying this past week, because of its personnel.
Ollie spoke to reporters via teleconference on Saturday. The Huskies had Friday off, following their grueling, emotional win at Providence. They got back to work Saturday, and play South Florida at Gampel on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tyler Olander (flu), Ryan Boatright (ankle, knee) and Shabazz Napier (shoulder) all practiced normally, or close to it, so the Huskies appear to have no injury/health issues going into the game.