INDIANAPOLIS - Duke has played only a handful of teams this season that tried to zone the Blue Devils. It's logical given that this is again one of the best 3-point-shooting teams in the country.
Why bother with a zone defense if Duke is simply going to shoot over it?
Still, West Virginia is likely to try tonight when the teams play in the national semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium. It has worked against outside-shooting teams in the past, so why not now?
The Blue Devils are going to find out that attacking West Virginia's 1-3-1 is quite different than what they've faced so far. Baylor played a 2-3 zone in last weekend's South Regional championship game and Duke got the ball into the soft spot in the middle and made hay.
There's not quite the same soft spot in the middle of the 1-3-1. Against that, the weak spot is generally on the baseline - provided, of course, that teams can get the ball to the baseline.
"I think we're going to have to try to attack it a lot more,'' said Duke's 7-foot-1 senior center, Brian Zoubek. "I'm not going to give away our game plan or anything like that, but we obviously have to be a lot more aggressive than we were at Baylor.
"We got stood up. We kind of just stood around passing it on the perimeter. We're going to have to try to get it inside as much as possible and really crash the boards. Because when they come over on the weak side, on the help side, it leaves the weak side open for offensive boards.''
Passing the ball around West Virginia's 1-3-1 is not for the faint of heart. This is not a passive zone that tries to keep the ball on the perimeter, but instead one that thrives on disrupting those around-the-horn passes.
That's because at the top of that zone is 6-9 Devin Ebanks and on the wings are 6-7 Da'Sean Butler and 6-8 Kevin Jones. Wellington Smith, at 6-7, is in the middle.