First off, this isn't your high school teams 2-3 zone, or Iowa's daunting 2-3 (ask Tubby) from last year. This is THEE zone! Syracuse recruits players who fit the mold of length and athleticism. Many thought this would be a difficult task for the gophers due to depth inside and inconsistent shooting at times but let me tell you what, Pitino did his homework and had the gophers ready to play.
One of the biggest things I noticed off the bat, was the gophers didn't start with a player in the short corner. They started with double high posts at the elbow and had their 3 guards covering the 3 guard spots on top of the arc. Syracuse is known to extend their zone and bring the wings up much higher and the reason they can get away with this, is again due to athleticism and length. The gophers early and often tried to enter a pass into one of the big men (oto and Elliot) at the elbows. Once it got there, Dujuan Coleman who is Syracuse's center came up to guard the ball and the opposite post dover HARD to the block creating a wide open opportunity. I can recollect Oto, Joey King, and even Elliot all scoring just on this play alone. HOWEVER, once Pitino gets his type of mold (ala Josh Martin) these plays might have finished at a higher rate than last night. This was much of the offense in the first half but lets not forget we were playing against a coach with 924 wins and 924 of those wins came playing zone. Boheim was going to adjust, and that he did. Pitino then came out with the same look and while the opposite post still dove, his wings were told to stay much lower, this then opened up our wings for 3's. That's where Malik Smith comes into play. He will be loved and hated all year long. LIttle Dre didn't play as much in the second half due to this adjustment by Boheim but Pitino had a chess piece to move as well giving his three best 3 point threats much more run. These are the things that as a fan I like to see. Adjustments on the fly for our new coaching staff.