When North Texas received the primary tip final Saturday at Cam Henderson Middle, the Imply Inexperienced, with 1,228 spectators, had a giant shock.
The Thundering Herd opened in a 2-3 zone protection.
Marshall’s zone protection is akin to the herd deciding to not shoot the three factors in assault. It simply does not occur. Besides the truth that it truly occurred in MU’s final recreation.
That is what made it such an incredible flip of occasions.
North Texas had been so stunned guard Marshall Andrew Taylor stole the ball from James Reese of Imply Inexperienced within the recreation’s first possession. After Taylor missed a shot on the opposite finish and MU’s Mike Beyers transformed the rebound with a layup, North Texas missed the shot on 3 straight runs by Javion Hamlet and Mardrez McBride.
Marshall’s shocking zone protection was clearly having an impact. This allowed North Texas to hit simply 12 of 30 subject purpose makes an attempt within the first half (40.0%), with simply 5 of 14 of three factors (35.7%). Finally, this led MU to win 73-72.
And identical to that, Charlotte has much more to fret about when she performs Marshall at 7pm Friday and 2pm Saturday on “The Cam”.
What motivated this sudden 2-3 zone technique?
“It is a part of our males’s protection,” head coach Danny D’Antoni mentioned with a chuckle. “It has all the time been there. It is the identical because it all the time has been, however the way in which we play – when you actually watch what we’re doing – when the ball motion is on one facet, we principally deal with the assistance facet. . They’ve particular locations the place they’re imagined to go after which play such as you’re in an space. “
It is smart. However why was the looks of space 2-3 all of a sudden a lot extra noticeable?
“Properly, we most likely did it higher,” D’Antoni mentioned. “If we’re energetic – and that is an important factor – and if we’re mentally centered and actually making an effort to get to these locations, it will be an issue for anybody.
It is clearly a fantastic weapon to have in MU’s defensive arsenal.
“The protection that we make use of is one thing that I’ve discovered,” D’Antoni mentioned. “I imply, everybody has a serving to hand on the weak facet, however we’re extra structured than many of the weak facet serving to out.
“It is a protection I made up when all of those widespread offenses began occurring. We needed to discover a strategy to hold the ball, however on the similar time be organized to cowl the three level line, so I discovered a bit sample. Half got here from [younger brother Mike D’Antoni], after which I feel Dean Smith [iconic former North Carolina coach] was one of many first to push the ball to the baseline. After which I added that we will double each fundamental transfer, and we have got locations we’re going.
“If the children are conscious, alert and dealing onerous then it is onerous for us to attain. Once we get to the ball, we problem the ball wherever it’s. “
It is clearly a really hybrid protection.
“If we do it proper, it is onerous to attain towards us,” D’Antoni mentioned. “I feel we’re the one Convention USA crew that is pushing actually onerous on one facet, attempting to maintain the ball on one facet of the ground. We’re one of many few to do that.
“We’re one of many few who attempt to hold you off the display. Lots of them will take you to the display. Now it is onerous to do in the midst of the bottom, however when you’re on one facet we’re attempting to maintain you out of the pick-and-rolls by forcing you down.
A lot of the 2-3 areas are fairly simple. However this one? By no means.
And all of us thought Danny was simply one other fairly face.