Matt Slocum/AP Photo
The zone has always been the hallmark of Jim Boeheim, and he’s had many great defenses through the years, but none can stack up to this year’s version. The Orange has all the ingredients for the perfect 2-3, and the team is undefeated and #1 largely due to its D. Here are the four biggest reasons why:
Start with Fab Melo, a 7-foot shot blocker inside who grows more confident and dominant each game. He also just so happens to have a 7-foot backup who can intimidate too. SU adds long athletic wings to the mix, who all see the passing lanes and disrupt long shots. The Orange also has bigger guards who generate a lot of steals, including dynamic Dion Waiters, who comes off the bench and is in the nation’s Top 3 for thefts per 40 minutes.
Every single position has a competent backup, without a major drop off. SU’s best perimeter defender (Waiters) and rebounder (CJ Fair) both come off the bench. The depth benefits Syracuse late in games. Last year, R...