Zone Defense: Net Positive or Net Negative?

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Buzz Williams Virginia Tech
Is playing a zone defense a net positive or net negative for the Hokies? (Ivan Morozov)

Opponents have been on a three-point shooting tear against the Hokies recently.  Clemson made 13 three-pointers, UNC set their season-high with 14, and Boston College made 12 in Cassell Coliseum last night.  Virginia Tech won two of those three games, yet the conversation on the boards is revolving around their three-point defense, or lack thereof.

The three-point defense deficiency coincides with the decision by Buzz Williams to turn the Hokies into primarily a zone defense team at this stage of the season.  Obviously that has had an effect on Tech’s three-point defense.  But playing zone affects the game in so many other ways.  It can affect foul trouble (i.e., keep you out of it), it can effect free throw margin, and it saves energy for the offensive end.

Today’s article is going to look at the numbers and try to determine whether moving to a zone defense has been a net positive or a net negative for Virginia Tech.

Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense

When it comes down to it, college basketball is about who scores more points.  Let’s check out Tech’s scoring offense and scoring defense in the first six ACC games and compare the numbers to the last three games.

Offense, First Six: 76.8 points per game
Offense, Last Three: 79.7 points per game

Virginia Tech’s scoring average has gone up nearly three points per game over the last three contests.  What about the defense?

Defense,

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