Matching Zone Challenges

Three years ago I presented an extensive piece on coach Gene Sullivan’s innovative matching zone defense. Since then several coaches have asked when I intend to publish Part II – an exploration of special situations requiring adjustments to the defense as well as ways to employ contemporary trapping tactics within the defense’s structure and rules.

Since Part II is not yet available I thought I could be somewhat responsive to these requests by presenting a brief supplemental to the original piece.

Here goes.

Click here to read Matching Zone Challenges

The Best Matching Zone You’ve Never Seen

We’re three months into the 2013-14 season and the more vocal critics of the new hand-check and block/charge rules are beginning to quiet down. (See C.J. Moore and Matt Norlander’s recent columns.) Compared to last year at the same point in time, fouls are up by only four while scoring has increased by six, and most games have been completed in less than two hours.

I happen to think that the rule changes are the best thing to happen to college basketball in a long time. Eventually the players will more fully adapt, learning that defense is played with one’s feet and heart, not with arms, hands, and hips.

In any event, some coaches are turning to various forms of the zone defense in an attempt to cut down on fouls and keep their starters in the game. In early December, using statistics compiled by Synergy Sports Technology, The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen reported that the use of zones was up by a 6% since last year with Top-25 teams facing zones on nearly 24% for their half-court sets.

If that news sparks your interest in the zone defense, here’s an in-depth look at the most comprehensive match-up ever devised.

Click here to read Rediscovering Gene Sullivan’s Matching Zone Defense, Part I