If you liked watching defense, then the Saint Louis game against George Washington was one for you. The final score was 49-20 for GW, yes I said final. The score was 25-7 at halftime. This is what Billikens head coach Rick Majerus had to say about his team's dismal offensive effort,
"I thought GW played tough on defense. We had some issues. You have to credit GW for playing very well. We have some issues in terms of our offensive proficiency," Majerus said. "I tried to keep coaching the game. Sometimes you miss. We are a team that has some issues. That is why we are practicing (Friday). We did miss some good shots, yes. Anyone can look at us and see we don't have height, we don't have depth."
So what did GW do exactly to completely take the Billikens out of their offensive rhythm? The Colonials used a combination of zone defenses to completely confuse the Billikens and forced them to take a multitude of bad shots. Here is just a sample from the first half,
When you talk about zone defenses, part of the reason why they work is against bad zone offense. If you are primarily a zone defense team like a Syracuse or a Louisville or GW here, you need to use a variety and combination of zone defenses to force the offense to adjust to you. The Colonials use either a 2-3 zone or 3-2 zone on dead ball inbounds. On missed shots, they will use M2M. After timeouts, they will usually use a 1-2-2 3-quarter soft press back into a 2-3 zone, like this,
Certainly, Saint Louis didn't do themselves any favors tonight. They were confused all night and didn't seem to have any purpose in their zone attack. There are many ways to beat a zone, but your players must commit to how you will break it, whatever way it is you choose.
On the flip side, a constantly changing zone defense keeps the offense adjusting. We usually use 2-3 different defenses in one game, switching between 3-quarter press to M2M to half-court zone. We even have a matchup zone that we will use as well. By contrast, our offense is pretty vanilla, we go with 1 main continuity and a few zone offenses for the many fronts.
Tough loss for Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus, I actually did take a few clips of their 4-out 1-in motion vs M2M. Though they didn't score, there was good player and ball movement. I will post it maybe at a later time. The Billikens also played a good packline matchup defense that was pretty effective as well.
If you like the idea of changing zone defenses, you'll probably want to take a look at Wayne Morgan's DVD on the 2-3 zone and changing defenses. Plenty of zone discussions going on at the X's and O's Basketball Forum.