Zone Defense May Be the Answer But Calipari Doesn’t Have to Like It

John Calipari is looking for anything to get his team to respond, even when it is something he hates.

Zone defense was one of the main topics of conversation with Coach Calipari at his routine pregame press conference today and it sounded like the Wildcats will be playing more of the defense they played in the loss to Texas A&M.

Calipari said, “We’re trying some different things, some things I’ve not done in my career that we’re doing. I played more zone in that game than I have since I’ve been the coach here. And, maybe that’s something we go to. We’ve been working on it. We’ve spent more time on zone defense in the last two weeks than we have in my entire coaching career. So, the whole thing is, how do I figure out how I put these guys in the best position to win?”

Just because Cal thinks his team needs to play zone, doesn’t mean he likes it.

“No, I hate zone. I hate it. I think what you do is you guard man-to-man and you sprinkle it in. I know there are teams that play solely zone, that’s what they play. We’ve won a lot of games, a lot of league championships, a lot of league tournament championships, a lot of NCAA games, playing man. I know that’s the best way to do it. But, I also know, more than anything else, I want this team to have a chance to win so I’ve got to look at everything and say how and be honest about it and not worry about me because it’s not about me, this is about this team.”

All of this talk about zone defense had me thinking of the movie Hoosiers when Coach Norman Dale walks by the barbershop and they ask the new coach, “Tell me, do you believe in man to man or zone defense?”

The answer was the opposite of what Cal wants to do, but all he wants to do is win.

Will zone defense be the coaching move that turns the season around?

The answer to that season long question will begin tomorrow night with hated rival Tennessee.

To Top