I watched the a great game yesterday between Syracuse and Villanova on ESPN. It was really a battle of great guard play and Villanova was able to knock down some big 3-pointers to beat Syracuse's 2-3 zone defense. Though, early on, when Villanova was not hitting their shots, the 2-3 zone was giving them all kinds of problems. Here is what some of that 2-3 zone by Syracuse looked like in the first half,

I wrote about Syracuse's 2-3 zone earlier, and what you'll notice about their zone is that really do a good job of stopping penetration and trapping in the corners. They get a lot of turnovers this way.

Stopping Penetration and Trapping:

When you are in the 2-3 zone, it actually should come naturally to stop penetration, because your players should already be in position for the most part. The key though is making sure you don't get caught underneath. As you double down on the gaps, the other defenders must rotate to take away the easy pass, and only allow the skip.

The key here is having a dynamic X5 that has long arms, is athletic and can really move well. Your X5 has to step up and plug the gap, then recover well.

On the skip, your players now must rotate as the ball is in the air. When the offense penetrates again, Syracuse forces baseline and traps the short corner with X4 and X2. Everyone rotates to take away the first pass, again only allowing the skip.

In hindsight, Syracuse probably should've switched out of the 2-3 zone at the start of the second half when Villanova was getting hot from the outside. A trapping 2-3 zone like Syracuse runs is vulnerable to outside shots.

If you like Syracuse's 2-3 zone, take a look at Jim Boeheim's DVD on the 2-3 matchup zone. Plenty of zone discussions going on at the X's and O's Basketball Forum.