Syracuse has long given opponents fits with head coach Jim Boeheim's signature 2-3 zone defense. The basic idea behind the Orange's defensive strategy is to force opponents into contested outside shots. There are normally multiple defenders inside the paint within the zone, making driving to the rim very difficult.
The easiest way to beat the zone is to send the ball into the high post on a consistent basis. This will usually cause multiple defenders to collapse toward the middle of the floor to prevent easy scores from inside the paint. Once the zone collapses around the high post, there will be open shooters on the outside, or easy cuts to be made along the baseline, behind the defenders.
UConn failed to get the ball into the middle of the zone at all. In fact, over the 3-possession stretch, the Huskies settled for two long-range misses and committed a turnover.
However, it turned out that the Huskies didn't need to perfectly implement a specific strategy, because they had a little bit of luck on their side. Despite shooting only 33.6% from 3-point range as a team, UConn finished the night 8-for-15 from downtown. Ultimately, and unexpectedly, that was what gave them the edge they needed in their 66-58 victory over the Orange.
Without a doubt, the Huskies' shooting performance was an outlier, but that's what makes college basketball and SnapCall Sports so much fun. Check out our continuing coverage of NCAA basketball -- particularly once tournament time rolls around -- to see if you can predict the unexpected.