Don’t get me wrong; there is plenty to fear from a team like Utah State. Behind the arc, they’re shooting the ball at 43%. That can give a defense fits. Any defense. Jim Boeheim’s club, however, is no more susceptible to the danger than the next team. Yes, the 2-3 zone is traditionally weak against the 3 point shot. But, in case you haven’t been watching, this isn’t a traditional 2-3 zone. Syracuse’s guards have done a tremendous job of closing on the ball all year long. They’ve held opposing offenses to 31% percent 3 point shooting on the season, 3% lower than the national average. The low percentage of made 3s on the Orange isn’t a result of no one testing them. In fact, in their last win over Georgetown, the Hoyas took 20 3-point shots, but only made 5 of them.
Focusing on the 14 made 3s is also a bit of a smoke a mirrors act. It distorts the fact that Syracuse won handily. In most cases, if you can get a team to fall in love with the 3, you’ve already won. No matter how good a team is from 3-point range, it is a low percentage shot compared to possessions that end in the paint. If the majority of the opposing team's shots are coming from 20 ft or farther, you typically have an advantage. Conversely, if your opponent believes they have an advantage from behind the arc, all the better. If they’re hot, they’re hot. But then any defense is at a disadvantage, not just the zone.