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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

March 6, 2007 at 9:09 PM

In the zone

The key for the Huskies tomorrow will be solving Arizona State’s matchup zone defense.
The Huskies did it well enough to beat the Sun Devils twice this season, but both games were a struggle.
The Huskies won 64-53 at home and 66-61 in Tempe, shooting a combined 44.7 percent overall and 11-28 from the three-point line
UW coaches and players say solving the zone is difficult because it’s not something they see a lot — most Pac-10 teams play man-to-man most of the time.
“They probably played (zone) 99 percent of the time, so you do something long enough, you get really good at it and confident at it and that’s where they are now,” said UW coach Lorenzo Romar.
ASU also changes it up. In the second game in Tempe, after UW busted out to a 44-21 halftime lead, the Sun Devils changed up its zone, extending the defense on the perimeter.
“They came out on us and pressured us,” Romar said.
The Huskies wilted a bit, and then Romar said the team grew tight. “I think we got tentative thinking ‘oh no, another game on the road.’ Those thoughts started creeping in and I just think we became totally passive.”
ASU cut the lead to three before UW rallied to hold on.
Interestingly, ASU coach Herb Sendek played almost all man-to-man while coach at NC State, where he faced Romar and the Huskies twice. But he went with the zone this year, saying Tuesday that he felt it gave his team the best chance to win with the personnel it has.
ASU point guard Derek Glasser said this week the Sun Devils got more accustomed to playing the zone as the year went on.
Glasser said one thing that could actually be good news for the Huskies — that the zone tended to work best on the second game of weekend trips or homestands, since that team usually only had a day to prepare. Indeed, the Huskies tore apart ASU’s zone in the first half in Tempe, a Thursday game when it had all week to prepare for the zone.
ASU’s stats back up Glasser’s statement. On six of the eight conference weekends when ASU played two games, the second opponent scored fewer points than the first. That includes last weekend when Stanford beat ASU 63-53 on Thursday before ASU rebounded to win at Cal 42-41 on Saturday.
Another example were the visits by UW and WSU. The Huskies beat ASU 66-61 before WSU came to Tempe two days later and won 48-47.

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